Dianelys Martínez Rivero

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It was the morning of December 31st, 1995 in Camaguey, Cuba and like every morning since I can remember, my mother prepared our Cuban expresso. We usually sit at the table to enjoy our morning coffee but on this day, the coffeemaker exploded and scared us badly. I remember seeing my mother shaking as she cleaned the dark stains off the wall. I couldn’t help her because I was too petrified. As I watched my mother clean, I had a strange feeling of dread.

It was also the day of my father’s fifty-fifth birthday. He was living in Miami, Florida, and it was his custom to call me every year on his birthday. So, I road my bicycle to the nearest neighborhood where the phone booth was located. Once I had congratulated my father on his special day, I road back to my house to get ready to go to my sister, Dorita’s, house. By then, I had forgotten the nagging feeling I had from the morning.

Dorita prepared a delicious Cuban dinner with yucca, congri, and lechon asado.  It was a real family reunion. We all enjoyed the dinner and later I saw my mother dancing with her brother Eduardo. They were laughing because my nephew Rey was making jokes. For the first time in my twenty-two years I saw my mother so happy.

That night, Dorita invited us to stay at her house to sleep because it was very late. My mother told me to stay but decided she had to get home because she had something to do early in the morning.

Not even an hour after she left Dorita’s house, Ana Maria, Dorita’s neighbor came knocking on the door to give us bad news. My mother had been hit by a drunk driver just a block from our home. She died twelve hours later.

I still drink Cuban expresso in the morning, strong and a little bitter, and think of my mother and my Cuban roots.

Martinez Rivero, Diana-ProfileDianelys Martínez Rivero is a thirty-nine-year-old, fourth year Bachelor of Science Nursing student from Camaguey, Cuba, who is studying in Mayaguez at the University of Puerto Rico. Her greatest desire in life is to provide holistic health care to her community. 


  1. wow ! its awesome how you keep a great strong relationship with your roots, the way that you narrated the story is very original

  2. It is a really wonderful but sad story. The way your mother died is really terrible but at least you can rest easy in knowing that you remember her the way she was, a wonderful woman and mother

  3. Wow, very impressive the story. I must say that I didn’t expected that you mother will die in such a trayic death. But it is good to know that even though it hasn’t been easy, you managed to make a bachelor degree.

  4. todos esta perfecto lo que describiste tal como era y será es ismar

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