Death of a Mother, Everymother
Teresa Martinic, 80, longtime Madison resident
by M.S. Martinic

I cleaned my house the night before my mother died. I washed the dishes. I swept the floors. I straightened my things. I did it without thinking, but I know why I did it. It was my mother who taught me as a young child to prepare for an important event, "Always receive the new year with a clean house and a clean spirit," "Clean up and change your clothes before you go on a trip," "Clean up before you receive visitors," I remember her telling me when I was 10 years old, the year my father died. Forty-three years of time have passed since. Last week, on the morning of her death I showered early and combed back my hair; without thinking, I tapped it forward to mold it into a relaxed pompadour. Ahh yes, that was the way she taught it to me some 48 years ago. I made the sign of the cross before I sat down to talk to her for the last time, I know why. I looked at the clothes I was wearing for the day of her death ~ starched shirt, pressed pants, shoes shined, I know why. Without thinking, I talked to God first, before I talked to her, I know why. I made amends. "Be respectful. Be a good person." "Do what is right." "Take the first step." "I am proud of you."

There have been many times in life I did not know what that woman that gave birth to me meant to a modern man, she who was from another time, from another place. There was a quiet quality of determination and sacrifice in her that made her easily overlooked. In the noise and haste of my own life, I got things wrong many times, but none as wrong as those times I ignored her. But oh how all the things I like about myself, the things that I would salvage, the things that make me a worthwhile person, this very ability to sit down and write this obituary, how beautifully, wonderfully those things are the things I learned from mother when I didn't even realize she was teaching me anything at all.

My mother was Teresa Martinic, she died Friday, October 11, just minutes past noontime, in Madison, Wisconsin.

There was a time when mother wanted to be a nun. She was Teresa Barrientos then, some 70 years ago, in Oruro, Bolivia, a colonial city scratched high on the windswept plains of the Andes. She admired Mother Superior at the Carmelite Convent, and revered her own mother. But it would be she who would live to prove what motherly love really means, understanding the challenges others face, facing her own challenges quietly and simply, without pretense. She was my mother and was the mother of my brother Emilio, and yet, she was more. She was a mother to our sister Cecilia, a mother by choice of love. And as far as I could tell she was a mother to her younger sister, the one whom she always saw as her little princess-sister, and even to her older brother, more serious, a high-caliber man. She was the embodiment of motherhood. She was every mother.

She moved to Madison in 1978, and worked for the US Government, J.C. Penney's, and Barrientos & Associates. She was a charter member of the Madison Hispanic Community and a longstanding member of the Elks Club. But most of all, she was a mother, a mother to her children ~ myself, Emilio, and Cecilia being the fortunate ones; she was a mother to her siblings and grandchildren; and she was the archetypal mother to all friends and relatives whose hearts ever yearned a maternal embrace.

At the time of her passing she was 80 years old. I will miss her all my years.

She is survived by children Emilio Zivko, daughter/niece Cecilia (Miranda), Milan and daughter-in-law Kim Martinic, brother Julian Barrientos, sister Doris Lattos, brother-in-law William Gleisner III, grandchildren Owen, Nathan, and Collin Martinic (Salveson) of Seattle Washington, Kelli Meador or Sacramento California, Krista Stone of Milwaukee, Kean Martinic and Keaton Martinic of San Antonio, Texas, and LindseyAcosta-Miranda; great-grandson Kaiden Meador of Sacramento California, in-laws Robert and Ella Masters of Cincinnatti, Ohio, niece Lourdes Taylor and husband Jeff Taylor, nephews and nieces Rolando (Eydie) Barrientos, Lola (Benjamin Marquez) Barrientos-Marquez, Norman (Lisa) Barrientos, Rosemary (Enzo Irigoyen) Barrientos-Irigoyen, Denise (Brian Brundle) Lattos., David Scott (Amy) Lattos, Erick Torres, and Marco Torres.

She was preceeded in death by her husband Mateo Martinic (1971), her father Emilio Barrientos (1971), her mother Encarnacion Barrientos (1998), brother-in-law Hrvoje Martinic (1973), brother-in-law David Lattos (1988), sister-in-law Slavka Martinic (1993), and sister-in-law Betty Barrientos (2003).

Visitation is scheduled for Thursday October 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road in Madison. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday October 18, at 11 a.m. with a visitation starting at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 602 Everglade Dr. Madison, WI 53717, followed by a procession to interment at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, 2705 Regent Street in Madison.