Gratitude Story from Venezuela

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If you wanted to send a thank-you note to someone in your life, who would it be, and what is one of your best memories of that person? "I am Nora Diaz de Pacheco. I am 67 years old and have always felt incredibly grateful towards my mother, Elena Diaz de Apitz. She was a modern woman and a warrior with a divine spirit of life. She was capable of doing whatever she wanted. There was practically nothing she couldn’t do and she did it all with a beautiful and creative energy. She learned to knit and sew, and took up embroidering and painting. She learned plumbing, gardening and how to glue ceramics. She also loved animals, until the point that her house looked like a zoo. My mother had a kennel of 44 dogs, more than 100 birds, parrots, macaws, monkeys, snakes, spiders, squirrels, pigeons, and even raised a donkey with a bottle. Most importantly, she did all these things practically alone. At home we called her “Doña Bárbara” (a Venezuelan novel character), because she had a bit of a rough childhood. This caused her to have a strong character with a fierce determination, but she also had a brilliant heart and was full of love to give to anyone who approached the family. My mother always made room at the dinner table for anyone who arrived at the house and treated them with care and love even though they were strangers. I can spend days and days talking about memories I have of my mother, but a very special memory that stands out among the rest were the trips we took to the hot springs “Las Trincheras in Valencia, Venezuela. We had the opportunity to go many times and she always acted in the same way: she looked like a young girl who didn't want to leave the pools of hot water when she relieved her aches with the hot water jets.” (San antonio de los altos, Venezuela)

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