I have been away from blogging for a while, though I often found reasons to add my two cents to the virtual debate, my heart wasn’t in it. The reason because one of my greatest inspirations, and a wonderful Cuban patriot died recently, she was (is) my grandmother.
Last month the world lost a beautiful soul who radiated with life and love. Who taught her children, grand children and great grandchildren to be strong, independent, compassionate and to love a country they had never seen. Her stories made the brilliant tropical island come alive in our heads, and her food made it come alive to our senses.
In her youth my grandma flew planes over la Bahia de Nipe. She got to meet Amelia Earheart. She drove cars and won countless dance competitions. She ran a few businesses (in Cuba and the U.S). Cuban President Prio said she was “La estampa de la mujer Cubana.” A quote she was most found of, as you can imagine. She wrote poetry and short stories and often appeared on Spanish radio talking about Cuba. She raised a family while her husband was taken political prisoner in Cuba for 14 years.
For the last few weeks I have been overwhelmed with the possibility of her death, staying with her at the hospital and praying for a miracle. She passed after two weeks of being gravely ill. (the hospital care did not help!!) I know she is a much happier place now, at the side of the Lord, joined with my grandfather and family. Yet, my family here on earth will never be the same, as my grandmother was the light of our lives and the glue that kept us together.
She taught us to be proud Cubans. I can remember countless times reciting Jose Marti, being soaked with colognia de violeta and Mirta de Perales products, learning how to cook Cuban food and memorizing the history of our proud Caribbean island.
I often laugh that I am the typical Carmensita of “Que Pasa USA?”.And my grandmother was just like her abuela. She chaperoned me and made me always speak Spanish but wanted to be hip with her few English phrases. Like telling my “amigitos” things like “gate-oda-he” which really meant “get out of here.” Till her final days she joked around, danced and love to be silly while being the perfect portrait of a lady.
Not only am I torn with the reality that I will never see her again or hear her comforting voice. Not only do I pain over the fact I will I never receive her advice again. What I abhor the most, what hurts me the most, is the reality that she is another Cuban patriot who will never see a free Cuba.
Day after day members of our Cuban-American community die in exile, never seeing the native home they left behind so many years ago.
During her funeral services the Deacon leading us in prayer told us to pray for our Cuban brother and sisters, and to pray for a free Cuba. He also asked us to pray for the countless of families who have been separated by this revolution. The Deacon reminded that as much as we grieve over her death that we were lucky to have her. So many unfortunate families are never reunited.
I guess we are one of the lucky ones. Most of us at one point made it to the U.S. I was lucky to have her in my life. I was lucky to have such an inspiring and trailblazing woman in my life. I was lucky I could say goodbye and be there at her funeral surrounded by my family. But oh how I miss her.
Vaya con Dios querida abuelita. Te quiero con todo mi corazón.
Today try to pray for all of those families separated by the Cuban dictator. Pray for their peaceful reunification.