I often wonder what the dreams of my Grandma were. When you’re young and lose someone close, understanding all that was lost comes later. Often years later. My Grandma died on December 31, 1990 when I was only 8 years old, so while I do have some concrete memories, most of my memories of her are hazy- almost dreamlike – of a quiet and sweet woman who loved all of her grandchildren.
I remember her smile, and the way she would often use my Grandpa’s nickname and say with a smile “Oh Red,” when my Grandpa was doing something only my Grandpa would do.
I may not have had the words in my young vocabulary when I running around causing chaos with my other young cousins, but with age comes wisdom and and looking back, I can see the ways sickness affected her body (she had open heart surgery before I was born and again when I was little), sickness that would eventually take her in the early hours of a cold California day, the last day of the year.
Did she see her dreams fulfilled? In those final months did she know her time was short and wonder what would become of her grandchildren? I have a feeling she did. I wonder too, if she knew that 8th grandchild and second granddaughter (myself) would be one of the feisty introverts and have much of the same passionate spirit as my Mama, my Grandma’s second born?
Did I get my love of Spanish music from her too? Was it both her and my Grandpa who left a legacy of music that included voices like Luis Miguel, Perry Como, Keely Smith, Eydie Gormé y Trio Los Panchos?
If she were around today, I’m sure we would chat often about these things, along with talking about our faith and how that has shaped our lives. I wonder, would we talk about favorite foods and if my albondigas tasted anything like hers? I know there would still be lots of hugs.
It’s amazing how love will always stick to a heart, to a soul, even if experienced for such a short time.
As I’ve been in California for awhile, I was hoping to explore some of her spots around L.A. with my Mom, but with all that’s going on, unfortunately I haven’t been able to. But even while the explorations are on hold, being home has included many chats, memories, and stories from both my Mom and Dad about all of my Grandparents. Many, I quickly learned, I didn’t know (or quite possibly I forgot). And even stories they heard from their parents about their Grandparents (many who sadly died young).
Seeing old photos of my Grandma with her sisters (my great Aunts), I again can’t help but wonder, what did they imagine for their future generations? Sisters doing life together, much like my sister and I.
Hortensia. That was her name, but many stories from my Mom over these past several weeks, tell me she never went by her full name. It was always Grandma from my cousins, siblings, and I, “Mimi” for others, and even other nicknames for her siblings and parents. My cousin who was born not too long after her passing is her namesake.
Even if I never called her that, I love her name. The history it encompasses, the stories it’s always ready to share.
I wish I remembered more and had more time with her, but I am thankful for the faded memories I do have and I see her legacy in my Mom, my Aunts and in my cousins. In the importance of family and the importance of love that comes with it.
I hope that if you are blessed to still have your Grandparents in your life, and, come to think of it, your parents, take time today to send them a hello and “I Love You.” The days are long, but the years are far too short.