Carmen Melendrez spent her whole life encouraging my brother and me.

She was a cheerleader without the routines. No matter the crisis, she’d always find a way to get us through it.

When my mom wasn’t praying for a happy ending, she was taking matters into her own gentle hands.

One Mother’s Day I wrote her the following letter. It best explains what she has meant to me.

Dear Mom,

You always knew what to say when I needed comforting. I’d still hurt, but just knowing you were there made life a little easier.

You always encouraged me to dream, cheered when I succeeded, and urged me to try again when I failed.

You helped me save for my first radio, $19.95 plus tax. A lot of money back then, but you knew I just had to have it.

When I needed Dad’s permission to spend the night at a friend’s house, you lobbied on my behalf.

When I made my First Communion you asked me to make I wish. I wished for a little brother. Nine months later, my brother Rick was born. Was there anything you wouldn’t do for me?

I can still see your face the day I got the measles. You would have gladly traded places with me, just to take away the pain. I would have let you.

You told me we couldn’t afford a bicycle for Christmas. It was true. Yet, there it was on Christmas morning, exactly as I had dreamed it.

You’ve always loved making me happy. How could I have survived my first heartbreak without you? At the time, I was sure you didn’t understand. Looking back, I know you did.

I can still taste the filling you’d leave for us in the pan after putting a lemon meringue pie in the oven. No one can make them like you.

Cub Scout Den Mother, Safety Patrol Mom, PTA, Home Room Mom: You were always ready to help. How could we not be proud? We belonged to you.

My sense of humor, outlook on life, love for children…they all come from you.

You’ve always taught me to give back and to put things in God’s hands through prayer and faith.

Mom, you’ve always been there for me and I am so grateful.

Thank you for all you’ve help me to become. Thank you for giving me your heart and your smile. May I wear them as bravely as you have.

God bless you, Mom. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day!


My mother died on April 6, 2018 at age 97 with my brother and me at her bedside. We pray to her daily, for surely she was an angel on earth.

(From the audio book, “The Art of Living with Enthusiasm” by Sonny Melendrez)

Sonny Melendrez is an award-winning motivational speaker, Hall of Fame radio/TV host and author, based in San Antonio. For more of his enthusiastic brand of inspiration and speaking information, visit his official site: or email: