Saturday, April 16, 2016, at 9:15 am, Pacific Standard Time, my grandmother, my mother’s mother, took her last breath in this realm. While we knew this had been coming for some time, the sting of a final goodbye still hurts.
Her pain and suffering has come to an end. No matter what your belief, or hers for that matter, I can take some comfort in that fact. Yes I should be in great pain, yes I should hurt as my family hurts, yes I should break down and cry, and I may yet still do so, but as of right now I am numb.
My grandmother, one of the strongest people I ever met, had a good run. Actually she had a great run and no one can ever dispute that fact. To say she left a legacy in the wake of her great wave in this life is an understatement.
It’s amazing how such a small woman has literally touched hundreds of lives. From her spirit has spawned numerous souls and ways of lives that her spirit will truly live on forever, so long as those of us who loved her pass on what she has taught us.
You only need to look at any of her great grandchildren to know this has come to be. The passions she possessed are evident in their personalities and will be passed on to the next generation to come.
A love for the written word. While most in this generation will not read anything that is not on social media, for those of us connected to her, this is not so. We will always read for fun, for information, for the mere fact that it was written down and needs to be read by someone. Electronic or physical, we will always read something.
Homemade tortillas. Just the mention of the words “homemade tortillas” will bring found memories of this little lady standing at the kitchen counter, rolling masa, slapping it from hand to hand before throwing it on hot metal, cooking it.
It became a cat and mouse game, trying to steal one as soon as it came off the stove. It was a miracle that any tortillas even made it to the dinner table at all. She always made extra masa because she would allow us one, otherwise we would eat them faster than she could make them.
A love of sports. While I’m not one to watch sports on television, if I’m there live, you will see a different side of me. Since we lived in a large city, when I was little my mother use to take my little brother and myself to the major league baseball games. Not until I turned 12 did I understand why this was such an important thing for her, it was a lesson she learned from her mother.
Coming from a small town in Northern California, our baseball team was a minor league team but they were our team and we needed to support them. That was a lesson I learned the first time she took me to a baseball game.
It’s a lesson I passed on to my child when we went to minor league hockey games. While people always told me that they didn’t count, they weren’t major league, I didn’t care as I heard my grandmother’s words in my heart. I would repeat them before talking trash to the other team. It was the only time trash talking was accepted and allowed.
The same applied to football and wrestling. You could not take the trash talk personal and you could only trash talk as long as you could take it in return. It was a way to cut loose, have fun, and release stress in a healthy way.
While she had fun, and taught us to have fun, she also had her serious side. You were never too old to get a slap upside the head if nothing else, or a scolding. She didn’t stand for disrespectfulness and always spoke her mind. As she got older she slowed down in what discipline she dished out but the last time I seen her, there was still discipline to be dished out. Taking personal responsibility was something she believed in and made sure we all knew it.
I am glad her suffering is finally over. I know the past few days have been hard for everyone to see but I like to think her last days of suffering was to spare certain people she loved from further suffering. While April 16th will always be a dark day for all of us who loved her, the 13th, 14th, and 15th are dates that should have joy for three of us.
My birthday is on the 13th, my aunt, her daughter, was born on the 14th, and my older sister was born on the 15th. My personal feelings was that if she was to pass on one of our birthdays we would never really be able to celebrate it the way she use to celebrate it for us. I was told she is waiting for something, because she was supposed to last only a few hours more and it’s been three days now. That was her final act of love, her strength wouldn’t allow her to cause us further pain.
I know this may sound selfish but it’s what I believe. Now she could pass on, in peace, and she did. I will love her with all my heart for she helped to raise me, even from a far. She helped shaped me into the man I am. She gave me many life lessons, some painful, but all were wielded with a gentle hand of love.
To honor her legacy I will pass on what I have learned and I know it will be passed on to my grandchildren. They will learn great lessons that will span over more generations than they can imagine from a strong powerful woman they will never know.