Francisca Cardenas de Alvarado ♡
By Rev. Yareni Alvarado
My beautiful mom passed away on March 2nd, 2023. It's been an overwhelming experience that happened so quickly. I am left with an abundance of love and memories of my mom. She left us with many life lessons that she taught me and my brothers. My mom was everything to me. I felt privileged to be her daughter and to be able to experience her existence for as long as I did.
This wedding season will be different for me. She always helped me in any way she could before performing a wedding ceremony, during, or after. When I would perform a wedding ceremony she would sit in the back and watch me with a big smile on her face. After every wedding that I would perform, she would give me the biggest hug and tell me how proud she was of me.
My mom inspired me to be the woman that I am today. As a little girl, I watched her countless times be a public speaker. She paved the way for me to be a strong, confident, and independent woman with a vision and purpose. I will always hold her memory close and make her proud even though she is not physically here; she is still with me in spirit.
My number one supporter that always wanted the best for me was my mom, Francisca Cardenas de Alvarado.
Kiss Me Forever Weddings, was inspired by my mom's unconditional love and nonjudgmental attitude towards others. I am the way I am because of her and I miss her so deeply. I will continue to perform wedding ceremonies in her honor and cherish her memory for as long as I shall live.
Mom & Dad and their Love Story
My mom and dad met at a dance at the plaza of the town that they were both from. They danced the night away and three months later they got married on December 18, 1982. My dad was a farmer and my mom was the town's beauty queen. My mom was a kindergarten teacher, medical assistant, and did pageantry. She was known as, "la reina del pueblo" - "the town's queen."
They had an age gap of nineteen years between the two. My parents were married for thirty-three years when my dad passed away back in March 20th, 2016.
Since my mom was in pageantry, she knew all the designers in Juarez, Mexico. She had her wedding dress custom made by a designer and everything was handsewn down to the last white pearl. She mentioned that her dress was super heavy with all the beaded work on the dress. My dad was so in love with his beauty queen on the day of their wedding ceremony.
Two years later, after they were married they relocated from El Paso, TX to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
I was raised on the Southside of Oklahoma City, OK in the Capitol Hill District.
My parents were immigrants from Mexico and strived daily for the American Dream. After many years of hard work and dedication to their future, they ended up in their dream home in the suburbs of Moore, OK.
My parents believed that love was a choice and the actions taken determined the outcome. Therefore, they aimed for a harmonious marriage and set the example to my siblings and myself on what a healthy marriage looked like.
When a couple decides to work on communication, trust, intimacy, and emotional security, they are making a choice to choose love regardless of the odds. Despite the chaos of life and the conflicts of what life may bring, love is not a temporary feeling, but a long term choice that one is making. That's something that I hold near and dear to my heart that my parents taught me.
Not only did they bring their customs and traditions from Mexico but they strived for the success of their three children to go above and beyond. Both of my parents were proud of what their sons and daughter had accomplished and how they are impacting their community. Even though they are both gone now, I am happy that they were able to experience our success and be a part of it as well.
My mom and dad both read the first reading and second reading every Sunday since I could remember. They were that couple that everyone knew who they were by their first names. When I did my first communion because of who my parents were at the church, I was automatically picked to do the first reading at mass for the day of my communion. I was eight years old when I first read in front of a large crowd and that was the beginning of my public speaking career. After, that I became an altar girl and served in mass every Sunday. I would be serving and at the same time I would be in awe as a little girl on the impact that my parents had speaking in front of so many people.
My parents, especially my mom, planted the seed in me to be a public speaker. My mom instilled in me that your voice has power. The power to be heard and seen, to make a connection, and to make a difference within our community.
I wanted to be just like my mom when I grew up. I would always tell her that too. "Mom, I want to be just like you when I grow up." She would smile and say, "you are going to be so much more successful than me, mi hija."
Youth Group Leader - World Youth Day 2000
I went from being an altar girl to being a regular Sunday speaker at the Church at fourteen years old. As I evolved in the church, I became the youth group leader of church youth group at sixteen years old.
One day, my mom came into my room after work and said, "you're going to Rome, Italy and you're not going to argue with me why you don't want to go." I was sixteen years old at the time and all I wanted to do was play soccer, ride my bike, read my books, and listen to my music.
I had three jobs at the time. I worked at a fast food restaurant, I cleaned offices on weekends, and I worked at an auto insurance place.
I went to my local library and began researching what was in Rome, Italy. Later, I found out that as the leader of the church youth group, that I was going to have to read the first reading at mass in front of a huge international crowd. I had traveled around already throughout the states going from conference to conference public speaking at youth conferences. However, this time I was representing the church as a bilingual speaker in Rome, Italy. Back then, I didn't realize how big that was speaking on an international level and especially being so young at sixteen years old.
The date for me to travel to Italy comes around. I say my goodbyes to my parents and my brothers and they are excited for this adventure that I'm about to embark. I arrive to Italy and I'm already trying to figure out how to go home. I have my little savings and I've already plotted a way to leave from the hotel to the airport to come back home. Mind you, this is day two and I'm already done with Italy. I've seen what I needed to see and I am good to go.
I call my mom and she just knows what I'm wanting to do. Before I say anything, she says you're not coming home. I saw your maps and your plan before you left. My mom says, "I need you to have your own experiences. You need to see the world. I need you to have fun and experience life, mi hija." With a knot in my throat and holding back tears, I say, "okay, mom."
I hung up the phone and made the best of my two week trip in Italy. I listened to my mom and learned to be present and enjoy experiences. If it wasn't for her, I probably would have left and not experienced Italy as a sixteen year old with the world as her oyster.
Rev. Yareni Alvarado - Bilingual Wedding Officiant
I owe my life to my mom because she gave me life and spoke life into me. At 18 years, old I told my mom that I wanted to become a wedding officiant but that meant I would have to become a Reverend. I somehow thought I was going to disappoint her because I was raised in a devout and religious household. She didn’t think twice in supporting my decision.
She said she would support me on whatever path I chose. I held off from becoming a Reverend up until my early 20s because I knew the potential backlash she would get.
14 years later, I am a Reverend that serves her community as a bilingual wedding officiant. This would not have been possible without my mom’s love and support. Kiss Me Forever Weddings, is where it is today because of my mom. I am forever grateful for her and for her believing in me.
My Mom on Her Deathbed
On Wednesday, March, 1st, 2023, my mom gave me a whole list of things to do after she passed. She wanted me and my siblings to continue our family holiday traditions, not to forget to celebrate our dogs birthdays, to never forget her, and to not be mad at her for passing away. Who says that? My mom on her deathbed.
I was trying to keep my cool and she says, "don't forget you have to go perform that Thursday morning wedding ceremony." I told her I could call the couple, explain the situation, and possibly change the date. My mom says, "absolutely not, you have not missed a wedding in fourteen years and your are not about to start now." Again, this is my mom on her deathbed.
My mom is literally on her deathbed and is demanding that I go perform this wedding ceremony regardless of what is happening.
I left the hospital around 2 am to go perform that Thursday morning ceremony at 10:00 am. I cried all the way home. I was overwhelmed with losing my mom and having to perform this wedding ceremony like I wasn't experiencing the worst thing ever.
Question for my Mom
I did have a question for my mom on her deathbed. I asked her why did she call me Botón (button)? I sort of knew but wasn't for sure. She's been calling me Botón since I can remember. My mom, called me Botón because she was calling me her rosebud. Her favorite flower was the red rose. "El Botón de la rosa." The rosebud of a red rose was Botón (button) for her.
She said, "I've called you Botón this whole time because one day I knew you would have to blossom without me."
I told my mom that I would blossom and continue to make her proud. That she didn't have to worry about me and that she was the greatest mom. I was lucky to be her daughter and that I would miss her forever.
My mom was an incredible woman with so much wisdom and love for her children. It's unreal that I experienced this in her last moments. She was teaching me all these lessons so I could do hard things without her one day. That was my mom, she was one of a kind.
After the wedding, I drove as quickly as possible back to the hospital. I was sick to my stomach. I knew what was coming and I was not ready to let my mom go. As soon as I got to the hospital, I ran as fast as I could to her bedside. When I got to her bedside I told her everything. That this was the first wedding without her and I knew what she was teaching me. She finally let go. My brother David told me she was just waiting for me to get to her bedside so she could say goodbye. That was my mom, I will love her forever and ever until my last days. My mom's time of death was at 3:47 pm on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023.
My siblings and I had the tough conversations with my mom on what she wanted in case she was to pass. She wanted me to perform her memorial ceremony and my brother David to say some words. That's exactly what happened. When I saw my name as "Reverend Yareni Alvarado" for her celebration of life ceremony that was when I realized that she had prepared me for this moment and that I was more than capable of fulfilling her last wishes.
Life After Mom's Passing
My brothers and I plan on living the best way we know how by the teachings of our parents. They were the greatest mom and dad that we could have asked for.
My dad the farmer, taught us to be self-sufficient and humble. To live by the golden rule and be at peace with yourself because you have to be with yourself for a long time.
My mom the beauty queen, taught us to be well-mannered and made sure we had real life-skills for our success. She was a fashionista, she made sure we were fashion forward, and well-groomed.
My mom the kindergarten teacher, spoke life into the three of her children. She made sure we were loved and taken care of. Mom taught us about life and how to maneuver within the ups and downs of our journey. She taught us how to read and write in both English and Spanish. Along, with public speaking being a top skill we needed to master.
My mom the medical assistant, made all her kids go into the medical field to learn about the human body and how to take care of it.
My mom left a long list for us to do without her and we plan on accomplishing all of those things in her honor.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has been checking-in on my brothers and myself. We were very close to our mom and we miss her so much. The grieving process is painful but it's a little easier with the love and support from our family and friends.
3/16/2023 03:17:01 pm
Girl this is beautiful. You did so good and again your mom is very proud of you. Love your story I know it’s sad but girl make it a book! Tell her story!
3/16/2023 07:35:02 pm
Yareni, what a beautiful blog you have made in honor for your mother. I’m sure she is very proud of you. My prayers go out to you and your brothers.
Lorena A. Chacon
3/17/2023 03:05:26 am
Prima & Primos....
3/17/2023 08:24:18 am
Chica, that was amazing. I love learning more about you and your family. I can't picture your mom as a public speaker, but it doesn't surprise me as I recognized that she wasn't a force to be reckoned with. So much love for your beautiful momma and so much love for you.
3/17/2023 08:49:19 am
*was a force to be reckoned with.
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OKC Bilingual Wedding Officiant
Oklahoma City Bilingual Wedding Officiant