Teresa Vidal, who died from COVID-19 complications in August, in pictured with her five sons. From left to right: Robert Vidal, Tommy Vidal, Kenny Vidal, Sammy Vidal, Danny Vidal. | Tommy Vidal
Lessons from Mom
The Deseret News is compiling a list of Utahns lost to the coronavirus pandemic and chronicling some of the stories of those who’ve died to better understand how our lives have changed because of COVID-19. If you have lost a friend or family member to COVID-19, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SALT LAKE CITY — While Tom Vidal and his four brothers worried about where their cleats were and what time soccer practice started, their mother worried about how she was going to go from being a stay-at-home mom to the sole support of her family in a country she’d adopted just seven years earlier.
Seven years after immigrating to the U.S. from Peru, Teresa De Jesus Vidal Rodriguez found herself the single mother of five young boys without job skills or even command of the language.
“For the first little while, my grandmother and aunt helped us while she took on hostess and waitress jobs,” said Tom Vidal of how his mother supported the family after his parents divorced and his father left the family without support. “They split up before my youngest brother was born. (He) doesn’t even know my dad.”
Teresa Vidal immediately went to work finding ways to pay the bills, but she quickly realized she’d have to go to school if she wanted her boys to have a shot at a normal childhood.
“She went to Salt Lake Community College to learn English, and they had a program where you could become an administrative assistant,” Vidal said. “It was the early 80s, and it gave you everything you needed to become an administrative assistant, a secretary, so she did that course.”
She eventually got a job at Newspaper Agency Corporation, where she “held so many different positions” it would be difficult to accurately list them all without her help. “At the same time she started that job, me and my brothers started playing sports. She kept working as a hostess to help pay for all our sports.”
As adults, the Vidal boys understand the kind of gut-wrenching financial pressure she must have endured. As kids, however, all they knew was that if they wanted to play, their mom made it possible.
“She was such a hard worker,” Vidal said. “Whatever we needed, she worked her tail off to provide for us. When you’re a kid, you don’t realize how difficult that must have been. You never ask, ‘How did mom do that?’”
It wasn’t just a matter of finding the money for fees and equipment.
“My mom would always volunteer to be the team mom or to help in some way,” Vidal said. “And then she’d say, ‘Hey, my kids need a ride to practice today, and if you can take them, I’ll pick your kids up.’ She made sure we got where we needed to be. … Our …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News