Today, a little over 4 months since her passing, I deleted Abuela’s home phone number from my contacts. She was the first one I always saw, “Abuela Mine” (read in Spanish for all you non-Spanish speakers). I guess that means I’m in the acceptance stage? I go back and forth.
What makes me feel the most guilty is that just before she died, my siblings and I had scrambled to visit my OTHER grandmother, who had just suffered a stroke. Abuela was at my mom’s, and I rushed there to pick up my brother, gave my mom and Abuela a hug, and then left to the Rio Grande Valley. It was the first time all of us had stayed with my dad in over a decade, and the first time I think my other grandmother had seen the 3 of us in the same room in a very long time. I cherished that trip.
Then, just 17 days later, Abuela passed away unexpectedly. She had seemed well when I saw her. We always joked that she would outlive us all. She was resilient. I’m glad that I’ll always remember her for her abundance of energy, her ability to say the funniest things without even trying to be funny (in fact, I don’t know if she ever tried, but we always laughed), and her fierce heart. Even though she sometimes came across as cold, I knew that she loved us so, so much and gave us whatever she could. And her tortillas and frijoles molidos… damn, I have so many fond memories of her cooking for me; I was a very picky eater when I was young and lived with her. She was annoyed with that but made me frijoles molidos and atole nonetheless. She was proud of me for learning how to sew. She didn’t say much, but she did tell me that she was proud of me over and over again. And I knew it was sincere.
So, deleting her number doesn’t mean that I will forget her, only that I’ve accepted that she’s gone. And that’s ok. It’s a normal part of life. I’m lucky to have had such a strong woman in my life for as long as I did. I’m sure she’s happy to be resting peacefully next to Abuelo. I’m sure being a widow was hard for her.
Plus, this selfie cracks me up every time. I’m sure she had no idea what my little cousin was doing when she agreed to participate.
If I had a drink, I’d cheers to her. Instead, I’ll light my Virgen de Guadalupe candle again in her honor.