My mother is the closest thing to God I know. Her God concept, whether she knows it or not, is that she cannot be fully known by just one name or one single entity. Not Dahlia, Zalia, Zat, Dale, Mrs. Testa, Gale, Ma, Grammy, Mimi— but someone other. Someone who serves as many beings to many people, revealing herself to each of us in ways that we can best appreciate and understand.
After decades of indifference, self-indulgence, rebelliousness, embarrassment, and plain old apathy, I can finally say I truly appreciate my mother and her many pseudonyms. But I’ve never been able to understand her as well as a daughter should. She deserves understanding and to have her stories and memories chronicled. I hope I do them justice.