They are their mothers' daughters -- Mercedes, with her blue eyes and "dorky" sense of humor; Alyssa, with her maternal ways and desire to see the best in people.
They honor their mothers' legacies of love and courage and wisdom. Mercedes, tangibly, with a tattoo that reads, "No matter what, we'll get through it together," her mother's words bearing her signature; and Alyssa, living her mom's advice to "Never fall short of your dreams."
They carry on because of their mothers, though their softball coach and teammates at West Texas A&M say they do much more than carry on. The Lady Buffs' double-play tandem of Dallas' Alyssa Lemos, who was 16 when she lost her mother, Roni, to ovarian cancer four years ago; and Mercedes Garcia, whose mother, Marchelle Romero, died of skin cancer this past June, inspire even in their grief.
Mostly, though, theirs is a story of a friendship forged through pain but sustained by the strength of two young women who share the unthinkable.