18 Apr

My grandmother was a tiny woman with soft wrinkled hands, and eyes that would sparkle when she laughed.  She was a quiet woman that was more interested in observing than being the center of attention.

She grew up in a small town in Mexico and married when she was 16.  Two weeks after her marriage, her mother went to her and told her that the marriage had all been a lie.  Her “husband” was married to another woman and the “priest” that had conducted the ceremony, wasn’t really a priest.  He was just the friend of the “husband”.  My grandmother left him.  She was already pregnant with her first child.

My grandmother remarried, and my mother was born.  They split up, and my grandmother ended up raising the kids.  She ran a boarding house and spent much of the day cleaning (go figure, a Mexican cleaning).  She was a strict mother.  When my mother and uncle were making too much noise, she would go to them and tell them that she was going to throw herself down the stairs if they didn’t stop the racket.  When my mom told me that story I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.  Who says that??  I’ve since adopted it as my own-though I my usage of the phrase is not intended to be harsh like hers was.

She was a devout Catholic and there was a time when she went to church everyday.  Growing up, my sister and I would tease her about it.  My sister could always rile her up by asking her how she knew that God wasn’t a woman.  It was amusing to us.

She lived in Mexico, but spent much of the year with us here in the states.  The last time she visited us, she brought me all her pictures.  She said that she wasn’t going to need them anymore, and I remember I told her not to say those things.  She passed away a few months later.

When my cousins went to clean out her house in Mexico, they said there was nothing left, not a single scrap of paper.  She had packed up everything and brought it with her.  She knew it was her time.  She chose to be with us.  She came here to die.

It was 7 years ago today.

12 Responses to “”

  1. Red April 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    It’s a beautiful gift to have a wonderful grandmother. Mine was a thin, thin, thin Italian spitfire from Brooklyn. I’m lucky enough to have two grandparents left, but she was my favorite person. She was also my biggest fan. I’ve come to appreciate how much less complicated the love between a grandparent and grandchild is than a parent and child. It leaves a big hole when you lose someone like that, but the hole reminds you of how incredibly blessed you were to have a person like that in your life in the first place.

    And the leaving her house totally clean story is awesome. Whoever is around when I die probably won’t be so lucky.

    Ave Maria, que estas in los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre…

    I was very lucky that she was a big part of my life, and that she lived well into my 20’s.

    The house thing was kind of crazy. Before that last time when she would visit it would just be a suitcase or 2, and she’d leave everything behind. It’s so strange to think that she knew her time was coming. -CS

  2. adatingdiary April 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    She sounds like a very strong woman. Hope you have a great day!!

    I just had a lunch date with Disney and we totally played Young & the Restless Theatre. It was great! -CS

  3. pistols at dawn April 18, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    That is the exact opposite story of my grandmother, who died with a whole lot of crap in her house just to annoy everyone one final time.

    Your story is a lot better.

    My relatives will find nothing in my house, either, but mostly because the repo men will have beaten them there.

    Again, your story is much better.

    I’m sure you’ll leave some stuff behind. Like that ointment for your rash. Don’t think the repo man will take that. -CS

  4. Lauren April 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm #

    Anniversaries of days that you loose someone are always hard, no matter how long ago is was – it’s amazing to me how it’s always just like it was yesterday when you saw them last. Anniversaires brings back so many memories in one big flood of the heart. My aunt who was like an older sister to me died from lung cancer in May of 2005. It seems like just yesterday and I still cry. There are days when I’d give anything just to pick up the phone and call her and hear her say, “Hey Sweetie!” It Stinks.

    May all your memories be good ones. I hope the years make your hurt fade just a little…

    It is strange to think that you can just pick up the phone and call. I have those days too. -CS

  5. deb April 18, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    i love this story. i never really knew my grandmother that lived in the islands since it was so difficult for her to visit. she did visit once, but i was so young that i can’t remember. but i have photos! at least their are photos. memories are always way more precious, though.

    it is such a beautiful thing to know when it is your time and to completey accept and embrace it. i know i will probably go down kicking and screaming while telling everyone what they can do with all my “stuff”!

    The pictures are really wonderful. There’s one of my grandmother with my mom when my mom was little. I remember Mr. Big X picking up the picture once and asking me, “Who’s this baby you’re holding?” There was a striking resemblence. -CS

  6. Foxy Luv April 18, 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    Aw – honey!

    It’s so good that you have lots of great memories of her and your time with her.
    Grandmothers are great – I still miss mine a lot.

    Enjoy the pictures – I have all of my grandmother’s old pictures too – I love to look at them. Plus I have her and my grandfather’s love letters from when he was fighting in WW2 – very sweet and special.

    I didn’t know you had those letters. That’s so awesome! -CS

  7. Cinnkitty April 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm #

    I’ve never had family. I envy you this experience, even though it’s a sad one. It’s still full of LOVE!

    xoxoxo

    Friends are family too. They say that blood is thicker than water, but that’s definitely not always the case. 🙂 -CS

  8. Bee April 18, 2008 at 8:02 pm #

    I love my grandparents as if they were my actual parents. They live in Mexico with the rest of my mom’s family and I dread the day we get the call that something has happend to one of them.

    Sounds like you have many great memories of your abuelita. :o)

    I do wish that she had lived to see me married and have children. I think that would have brought her a lot of joy, and it would have made me so happy to know that she knew my husband and children. Too freaking bad that I’m not married. -CS

  9. Skylers Dad April 18, 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    This is a great story, thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us all.

    My pleasure. -CS

  10. teri April 18, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    That was a great story, I hope more of those stories are coming.

    I’m sorry you lost her but remember the good times. It’s amazing she knew when her time was coming. I wish we all knew that so we can give our “paper” memories to the ones we love.

    and that saying “she would go to them and tell them that she was going to throw herself down the stairs if they didn’t stop the racket”, had me laughing hysterically.

    My mom has some other great lines that she would use. They’re hysterical. -CS

  11. Amadeo April 19, 2008 at 4:18 am #

    My grandmother would want to die like that…if the house was messy she might ressurrect and supervise us cleaning.

    The funny phrases come from my grandfather though, he had three main ones.

    Pearl, stop all that yelling.

    Will ya’ll do what she want so she can stop all that yelling.

    Don’t tell you grandmother I’m eating this fish.

    Next time someone is yelling at me I’m going to call them “Pearl” and tell them to “stop all that yelling.” -CS

  12. Ginormous Boobs April 19, 2008 at 9:52 pm #

    I love this story…it made me cry (seriously, it did) to just read the first line decribing a “tiny woman with soft wrinkled hands”…my Grambino was the same way.

    Grandma’s are totally the best. I miss mine so much. -CS

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