Illustration by Kim McGill
Illustration by Kim McGill

Building Bonds: How the fading memory of my mother made me grow closer to my nephew

My father was driving me, my mother Silvia and my older brother Daniel back home in his Toyota pick-up after attending my maternal grandmother’s funeral in Texas.

During our trip back, our truck hit something on the road.

The truck veered off the road and rolled over multiple times.

Both my brother and mother were ejected from the truck.

This is the last time I saw my mother.

The last memory I have of my mom is her lifeless body laid out on the gravel beside the road.

The death of my mother occurred more than 16 years ago, just days before I turned seven years old.

Because my mom died such a long time ago, the memories that I have of her are beginning to fade.

Last year, my father asked me if I still remembered my mother. I had to be honest and tell him I couldn’t remember many things about her.

It happened so long ago that I no longer feel the sorrow I once felt.

It has been a long time since I have cried about her.

They say that time heals all wounds, but time is now eroding my memories.

I don’t remember what it was like to have a mother. I have lived more years without my mother than with her.

I can’t bring her from the dead. The only thing I can do is preserve my little memories of her.

With my mother gone, it was just me, my older brother and my dad. There was a void in our family.

That changed on Oct. 19, 2022, when my nephew Logan was born. Logan and I share the same birthday, only 22 years apart.

I felt awkward around him for the first six months of his existence.

I didn’t hold him, carry him, or interact with him. I only greeted him with a “hi” or “hey.”

My brother and father asked me multiple times why I acted so coldly toward Logan. I could not explain to them why I lacked interaction.

I was too nervous to hold him. He was small and brittle and I thought I would hurt him if I did something wrong.

My fear of hurting him prevented me from playing, holding and interacting with him.

I didn’t know precisely why I acted that way. I would see him daily as we lived close by but were still worlds apart.

Something eventually shifted, though.

We took a family trip to Idaho in April 2023 with my father, older brother and his girlfriend. Logan was now six months old and starting to show some personality.

He was becoming a little person.

He was tiny when he was born, but by six months, he was chubby with big cheeks.

There wasn’t a singular moment when things clicked. It just took me a while to warm up to him.

Suddenly, I started playing with Logan, carrying him, and sometimes watching over him while his parents were out.

Now, whenever I carry him he feels like a bundle of joy, always putting a smile on my face. As I began to play with him more, I saw him discover and learn his surroundings.

He enjoys playing with the refrigerator magnets and loves to play hide and seek.

He began walking back in late December, and at 16 months old, he already knows a couple of words.

He says “hi” whenever he sees me and says “bye” whenever I leave. He also walks up to me so I can carry and play with him.

While my nephew can be a lot to deal with at times, I also see the joy he brings to my family.

As his uncle, I want to be a positive role model for him and be the one he visits on the weekends.

I want to see my nephew grow and mature. I wish to implant memories that will last a lifetime, something that I do not have with my mother.

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