“Wait, I gotta put on my eyebrows!”
She’d plop down on a chair… or on the floor… or on a table, whip open her giant purse, a compact mirror, and the almighty liner pencil. Within minutes she achieved brows on fleek status.
This was common for my friend, Monique. Always in a hurry, late to an event where was hosting, helping or or supporting. And she arrived with a ginormous smile, laughter, hugs, and an arsenal of stories to share about the most recent adventure or drama she’d encountered. Her full, black “bear hair” as she called it, fluffy and curly, acting as her antennae to attract attention. But really, it was her fiery and joyful spirit that drew people her way.
It’s so heartbreaking to write this post. Mo passed away last week on February 1st. Even though we knew what was to come, I’m still in disbelief. The day she passed, I could still feel her energy, but not in a way that she was gone, but as if she was still alive, ready to answer my phone call or text. I actually considered maybe it wasn’t true. It took me hours to really process. Later that night I even used a ghost hunting app on everything she’d gifted me just to see if I could connect with her. She passed in her sleep and I worried if she knew she had passed or if she was in the inbetween. In some moments I couldn’t catch my breath at the thought.
I knew I wasn’t alone in my grief. Pictures and memories are all I had left. The sadness hit hard. My husband lit a fire in our bbq pit outside back and we sat and shared stories about Mo.
I guess you can call it the seven stages of grief, but we all went through it. I’m at the point now where I’m looking at the bigger picture and focusing on honoring her life and legacy. The tears still come daily on so many levels.
Mo wasn’t secretive about her battles. This was a woman who LOVED to LOVE. Sometimes at the expense of her own self-love. We all have a journey, a mission and purpose in life and Mo lived hers to the fullest. She was so beloved by our Phoenix arts community. Known for connecting artists with galleries and restaurants, she helped so many creatives find a home for their work.
Mochacha was also a member of The Phoenix Fridas. She and her bestie, Anna, went under the name Con/Safos and when I met them, they made jewelry, shrines, jewelry boxes and more to sell at the lowrider shows. When she wasn’t doing that, she organized concerts and art events.
I had many, many long conversations with Mo over the years. She endured so many obstacles in her life, all situations she silently soaked up without showing her weakness. When it came to taking care of herself or serving others, she always went for the latter. She showed so much love for her family, her mom, dad, sister, cousins, niece and nephew, they meant everything to her. I can’t even imagine the loss they are enduring.
I know Mo doesn’t want us to be sad, she wants us to remember her. She knew for months what was to come and spent those days connecting with people to let them know she loved them. At 6 a.m. on my birthday, my phone rang and it was Mo. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATHYYY!!!”
She made me laugh and we chatted about our Sagittarius energy! Two weeks before she passed she called me and asked to hear some good chisme to take her mind off her pain. I served it the best I could and we laughed hysterically about how hot and steamy chisme could actually be healing for the soul! She ended the call like she did every other time, “Bye, Kathy, I love you!”
What a gift for her (and us) to be able to do that – reach out to say goodbye. Now that she is gone, I’m even more grateful.
Let’s take a virtual stroll through Mo’s highlights! Check out this YouTube video where we made Jolly Rancher roses, I always told her she was YouTube gold! “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!” LOL!
This was a drag show event The Phoenix Fridas hosted at a local club, Mo served as the hostess!
Saturday was the first day I woke up and didn’t think about Mo. I went into the shop to work and scrolled through my camera roll for an art picture to post on my Instagram. Then a customer came in and I set down my phone. An hour later I picked it up to continue searching for a pic – only to see this picture of Mo!
It’s like she was saying to me “HEY. YOU DIDN’T THINK ABOUT ME YET TODAY! HERE I AM!”
HAHAHA! I loved it and got the sign for sure!
Now I’m gonna share some of the life lessons Mo and I used to talk about. These are things we worked on to make our lives brighter. I know she would want to inspire others and I feel I have her permission to share here with all of you. We’re all in this together! I could specifically elaborate on each of them, but I’m not quite emotionally ready for that. Take these in and apply them to your own life, Mo would want that!
Have the strength and confidence to leave any situation that does not help you live your best life or be the best person you are meant to be.
Push yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Go on that trip. Quit that job. Make that art and show it to the world!
Love yourself, flaws and all.
Set boundaries for yourself when it comes to what you give and take in relationships.
Honor your ancestors and elders.
Ask for help. We’re all struggling in our own way, we’re all here to support one another!
Celebrate being alive and laugh everyday! Mo made an effort to do all kind of things – open an art gallery, become a DJ and radio host, teach art workshops and live painting, she even learned how to be a coffee barista.
Be fearless when it comes to believing in yourself and what you are capable of.
Have grace. No one is perfect. I’ll say it again for those in the back – No one is perfect! Release those expectations of perfection for ourselves and others.
Know in every fiber of your being that you are loved by so many and deserve a fruitful life. You are not alone.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Mo, for your friendship and support and most of all unconditional love. Even though you passed from this earth, I can feel the warmth of your light so strong and I will remember you always as one of the most loving, engaging, and charismatic people I ever knew.
Rest in power, amiga.
P.S. I just realized today is my dad’s birthday!