Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Family History

As many of you may (or may not) know, my grandmother passed away last week at the age of 90. I'm still getting used to the reality of it all, and trying to support my mom through this difficult time for her. She devoted a great deal of her life to caring for my grandmother, finding her a good place to live with people who loved her and cared for her as if she were one of their own. It will be the most difficult transition for her, so your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.

Although I knew that this was inevitable, it still feels very weird to me. I think back on the times I was with her, especially her last birthday. I made her a pretty fondant cake, which she loved. While she had become somewhat emotionless, her eyes lit up, and I knew she loved how it came out. She wasn't exactly the typical grandmother growing up; she never baked us cakes or gave us random hugs and kisses. She just wasn't that type of lady. She was feisty-- and in some cases she was just plain mean. Mean, but very, very funny. But over the past 2 or 3 years, as her health has deteriorated more and more, she became like a child again, and I think this will be the part of her that I will miss the most. Looking back, I know it will be difficult to let go of her memory, but she lived a long and healthy life, and I couldn't ask for anything more.

Anyway, my family held a mass in her memory on Saturday, and I volunteered to create a collage using pictures of her throughout her long life. I dug through old family albums and keepsakes, laughing to myself at how my grandfather never threw anything (and I do mean anything) away. As I searched through boxes, I found a letter that had been written to my grandfather in the 1960s from his uncle, Felix.
Felix was a playwright/poet/songwriter, and wrote the famous film El Derecho de Nacer, as well as a couple of popular Cuban songs. My great-great uncle Felix is still regarded as one of the great creative minds of Cuba, and "El Derecho de Nacer" set the standard for the telenovelas your abuelas (and admit it, you do too) enjoy today. ;)

Anywho, seeing all that history in my family, seeing the long life that my grandmother led, I felt proud of where I come from. Not only from my mother's family, but also from my father's as well. As I looked through old photos of my mom and dad in Cuba, and as I looked at all the great standards my great-great uncle set, I felt like just hopping on a plane and seeing this beautiful country that I have heard such amazing stories about since I was born. I feel like I'm missing a big part of my identity from not being able to visit, but hopefully (soon) I will be able to go and see the places my parents have told me about so many times before, and gain back a huge chunk of who I am as a Cuban.


Anonymous said...

beautiful blog entry.

I'm sorry your grandma passed away. I know it's hard! I'm happy that she did live a long and happy life and that you were able to take part in it and enjoy it.

Before my grandmother passed away I went to visit her in Nicaragua and she too never threw ANYTHING away. It was fun to go through her boxes and find little notes and trinkets. It's a piece of family history that is just so special.

I hope you get to visit Cuba someday too. :-)

Lauren said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother passing away. My heart and prayers go out your family in this difficult time.

hissip said...

Condolences on your grandmother's death. Enjoy the time you have with those who still remain with you.