#MOMentos of Life and Love

By Nyaka Mwanza | May 16, 2014

This Mother’s Day would have been my mom's 50th birthday.

EGPAF

My mom, Juliet, loved me fiercely, and I her. She had a natural, maternal spirit. Her personality was a perfect mixture of wit, humility, passion, and tenderness. She was radiant and we were two peas in a pod, our birthdays four days apart.

This Mother’s Day would have been her 50th birthday. It will always be a bittersweet holiday for me – a celebration of the best thing that ever happened to me: becoming a mom, and a reminder of the worst: losing own my mother to AIDS.

What I wouldn’t give to have spent it together -- three generations: my mother, my daughter, and me. It breaks my heart that my mom will never get to meet the little girl who filled the void she left when she passed away 20 years ago. But she lives on through my daughter who carries her name, Nzali Juliet.

Nzali has my mom’s nurturing, compassionate spirit, and love for music. This Mother’s Day we ate cupcakes, read a book in the sun, and danced to the song my mom sang to me when I was a little girl: Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”  She told me it was “my song,” but now it’s ours – mine and hers and Nzali’s:

“Life and Love are the same … She’s so very lovely, made from love.”

I cherish these memories of my mother and look forward to interweaving them with the many memories I’ll make on my own adventures through motherhood. 

I don’t think the ache of losing my mother will ever fully fade. I will always, always miss her. But my mom’s legacy also continues through my devotion to my child (my soul mate) and through my work to ensure an AIDS-free future for all our children.

This Mother’s Day, our #MOMentos campaign encouraged people around the world to share their favorite memories of their mothers. You all responded with overwhelming love and support for the women who have molded us into the people we are today. Check out all the beautiful #MOMentos EGPAF supporters shared!

With your support and generosity EGPAF will continue working to ensure that mothers and their children around the world have a chance to make a long, healthy lifetime of memories together.