My grandmother grew up in the age in Mexico following the Mexican revolution. Her mother, my great grandmother, grew up in the days when families in the pueblos would dig holes in the ground to hide their daughters from corrupt and abusive government authorities. The pueblo where my family is from is named Las Tortugas (“the Turtles”) after the many beautiful turtles that used to live there.
My great grandmother was also around when the people of Las Tortugas burned down the local hacienda (a structure similar to a city hall) taking inspiration from the revolution. They did so because the hacienda and local authorities would force them to give up portions of their food among other forms of payment that they cultivated with their blood and their sweat.
My grandmother was fearless. My mother shared many stories about how grandma was vocal against anyone that she deemed abusive of their power and full of empty promises.
As you can imagine, local politicians and people of power were often the targets of her passionate tirades. She had a natural inclination to stand up for her community, the vast majority who lived in small farms and ranches.
Her fearlessness was informed by her unwavering faith in God. My grandmother was a devoted Catholic, and I remember her getting mad at anyone who would make her late to mass. She would often walk many blocks in her early 70s to go to and from the local Catholic Church in Lindsay almost on a daily basis to pray and to serve.
My grandmother was devoted to her family. She loved deeply and passionately. In the last few months before her passing, my grandmother suffered from dementia. In the last year, she had lost memory of her many grandchildren and children.
Although we went through this, I mostly remember her for her passion, devotion and commitment to her faith and to her family. She was strong, she was powerful and she gave us life. I am eternally grateful for her presence. She gave me my mom, she gave me my cousins, aunts and uncle.
After a person passes, we might lose them physically but they always live within our memories and our soul. The law of conservation of energy even teaches us that energy cannot be destroyed nor created. Not a bit of us is gone, we just become less orderly.
“There are no exceptions to physical death: all paths lead to it. Everything we do is preparation for it, a preparation we begin at birth. We never move farther away from death, only closer. But death is merely a move from one home to the other.
“Death is not a disappearance, but a rebirth. Just as an eggshell bursts when the chick inside is fully developed, there comes a time for the soul and body to part. Death is a necessity in the inevitable passage to the other world, where we make our full ascent.”
In her last moments before losing her memories, she was intensely devoted to our maker. She served the God Almighty well. She served us all well. And now she will rest with the ancestors for eternity. I love you abuelita, may you rest in peace. I hope that when you look down from heaven, I will make you proud as your grandson.