Mariana Luna Landeros
studio art // @artdeluna_
Death in Exchange for the American Dream
Maria and Jose married when they were just teens. She was 13 and he was 18. For almost a century, they chose each other every single day, through thick and thin. They had nine children. My mother being the oldest, after the death of their first child at just 3 years old, helped raise my aunts and uncles. For decades they endured poverty and deaths of their own children, moving from one place to another in search of a better life. When my mother came to the states, she left my sister and I in their care for a short time. Over the years, almost all their children managed to cross the border and create a better life for themselves in America. When Jose was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012, he and grandma made the decision to move to California to receive proper medical care. They left their humble home and belongings in Mexico, everything they knew and were accustomed to for decades, so he could live out his last few years tied to a bed overlooking the mountains that he wished were in Mexico. His only vice until he took his last breath, was his love for Coca-Cola. It was his most simple pleasure. I was fortunate to have spent Christmas 2022 with him, not knowing it would be our last Christmas together. Jose passed away peacefully on April 25th 2023, after a long battle against cancer. This series is dedicated to him and my grandmother. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.