My hope is that this letter will be an encouragement to the members of my family, and someday, my son.

Abuelita,

I have to admit, I think about you all the time.  Since your physical presence left us, I have had to go through my own journey to figure out how to live in this world without you.  You presence was the one thing I could always count on, always.  No matter where I was in the world, or what I was doing, I knew where you were.  It was certain that you would be at home, doing chores for the day, intermittently watching novellas, and inevitably you finish the day serving dinner in your kitchen.

I would tell you the same stories from my childhood, to which you would respond, Yo te crei (I raised you).  And on a very foundational level, this is true.  Most of my fondest childhood memories are with you.  Some of these include watching you water your garden and pick a handful of flowers, listening to you sing as you shuffled around the house, playing for hours outside and always being able to run inside to get a drink of red juice or a cookie out of your cookie jar.  Every morning before I went to school you would carefully do my hair by wrapping wet, long strands around your fingers until they fell into perfectly formed ringlets.  I would stand at the bottom of the stairs in front of your door and you would give me your bendicion before I made my way out into the world.

One of my favorite stories has to do with my Abuelo Saulo.  Because of a debilitating stroke that left abuelo disabled, you cared for his every need.  And he needed a lot of care.  I believe that I was about 4 or 5 years old and Abuelo collapsed, for some reason unknown to me.  You were calm, and while you held him, you told me to get on the phone and call 911.  My memory is that I called and told them what was happening.  Your memory is that I cried and sat in a corner and told you that I didn’t want to call.  Whatever the truth was, I did call and I felt brave.  But that isn’t what is etched into my memory.  It was your calmness.  I remember being transfixed on you and you were calm.

I don’t have as many fond memories of Abuelo Saulo.  You would probably say that it was because he was ill most of my life.  I think his presence and all of the stories you have told, have shaped my feelings and beliefs about him.  In my adolescence, I always wondered how you cared for him for so long and why you ever stayed married to him at all.  I asked you once, why you stayed, you paused and looked at me and said, Porque lo amaba. (Because I loved him.)  I believed you.  Not because of those words, but because of what you did all the days of my childhood.  You cared for his every need for at least the last 11 years of his life, and it isn’t until now, well into my thirties, that I understand what that means.

When we came back to Houston this time, both Jeff and I felt defeated.  I was tired, and I just wanted to stay home in Denver.  After hours of waiting in the ER, our friend Angela picked me up at midnight to get some food.  I shared with her my experience, and how it was hard to take care of Jeff’s every need at home.  In her deep wisdom, she said to me, “But what an example of love you are giving to Santos.”  She had no idea that this example was given to me long ago, by you.

I don’t understand why things happen, and I think if you could speak to me you would say, Crea en Dios.  I do understand that nothing is an accident, y que tu me creiste (you raised me) for a reason.  I am not sure that I have your stamina, but in my quiet moments I like to believe that I could do what you did.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that you were human and probably got tired or wished things were different.  I am certain this must be true.  The nice thing is that I was gifted with someone who deserves to be cared for and who I know would do the same for me.

I don’t think I ever said thank you for all the gifts you have given me.  I hope that you know that I was and am grateful.  Abuelita, gracias por tu ejemplo, me ha servido mucho. 

Most days I wish you were really, physically here.  But I have never doubted that you have been with me every step of the way.

Marisol

Advertisements