Esperanza “Perita” Ojeda was a hard-working single mother who always made time for her children.
“She was the best mom we could ever want,” daughter Teresita Avila-Ojeda said. “After my father left us 19 years ago, she was always both mother and father for us. She worked a couple of jobs to support us but always made time to spend with us. She wasn’t just any mom. She was our best friend. I am proud to say she was my mother.”
Daughter Maria Jose Ojeda said her mom was compassionate and always willing to help others. Ojeda, despite her own problems, gave hope and motivated others to keep going.
“She was a very bright person,” Maria Jose Ojeda said. “She always stayed positive and she loved life.”
When a friend passed away, Ojeda helped raise money for the funeral. She let an abused friend stay safely with her and her daughter’s friend, who was kicked out of her parents’ house stay as long as she continued to attend school.
“I feel like my mom had a lot of impact on a lot of people,” Maria Jose Ojeda said.
Ojeda, 51, of Hammond, fought a courageous battle and kept positive after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2012. She had emigrated with her four children from Mexico 17 years ago to live the American dream and give them a better life. Working as a cook and also as a caretaker for an elderly woman, Ojeda was an excellent chef, specializing in Mexican cuisine. Her daughters are compiling a book of her recipes.
Ojeda was deeply religious, attending Mass and saying the rosary. She loved dancing at family parties and had a beautiful smile, her daughters said. Strict with her children, Ojeda taught them to be independent.
“I miss her smile, her holding my hand and saying she loved me,” Teresita Avila-Ojeda said. “She was very lovey all the time.”