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Going Home

My beloved grandmother passed away this weekend. I flew home as soon as I heard she was ill. I made it to the hospital 10 minutes after she passed. I didn’t get to say goodbye, to hold her hand one final time, to tell her that I loved her or thank her for all the wonderful memories of my childhood.

I grew up in New York City and every Saturday we would hop on the 7 train, from Manhattan to Queens, to spend the day with my Abuela. She was the only person I knew who owned a house. An actual house, not an apartment. And she had a swimming pool in her backyard! We would flop around in the pool, dry ourselves on the grass (yes, actual grass, not the small patches we were used to in the City), explore her basement for lost treasures, and sit down to the same meal every Saturday. It was wonderful, It was 17 years of Saturdays before I moved away for College and never came back.

Now I find myself in my childhood home, er.. apartment. I’ve been here before obviously, but it’s different this time. It’s bittersweet this time. At 36 years old, this is the first death I’ve ever experienced. She was the only grandparent I have ever known. The others passed away before I was born. I don’t know how to act, I don’t know how to think. All I want to do at the moment is run away, go back home and fall into my wife’s arms, into my familiar environment.

I’ve been coping by distracting my mind. I’ve been crocheting like a mad woman. I stayed up until 3:00 am. I made my mother some lovely gifts that I will have to ship back to her because I ran out of color. I also took a good look around the apartment and realized where I get my craftiness from. My mother has always been quite crafty. I just never really noticed. Anytime I would go on summer vacation to the Dominican Republic, I would come back to a whole new room. One time, she hand painted a huge apple tree on my wall with the names of every member of our family. She drew us (my older brother, mom and dad) holding hands under the tree. I wish I had a picture of it. She makes all of the souvenirs and gifts for every party, Holiday, celebration. It’s nice that I have continued her crafts and have passed it on to my daughters.

Here is a very small sampling of what I found during this visit back home. Next time I come back, I’m sure I’ll find something completely different.

photo (1)

This is her Easter decor. Notice the ‘eggs’ in the basket?

photo (2)

I found this piece above her living room wall. She f aux painted the walls and blocked off the center of it. She hand painted some flowers and glued translucent colored stones to compliment the piece.

photo (3)

She did the same thing here

photo (4)

A hand made rug. She made this out of pieces of unused fabric. She also made a couple for my daughters (I’ll add pictures of those when I get home)

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And I was pleasantly surprised to see this on her bed. This is the first Afghan I ever made. Way back when, after my failed attempt at a scarf. It stood the test of time. I was shocked!

I’m going back home today, this evening in fact. I’ll take all the cherished memories back home with me. And honor my grandmother by making new ones with my own little family.

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10 thoughts on “Going Home

  1. Loosing someone we love is always difficult, for me it was really hard to loose my grandfather, but I always think is looking after me from up above and that gives me peace. Kisses

  2. I’m so sorry mom and I just wanted to let you know that we are all here for you and we love you. I will see you tomorrow after my game and once again I love you so much. I know how much your abuela meant to you and you are amazing for that and so many more reasons. We are all here for you and will help you get through this.

    Love,
    Tatyiana

  3. my dear-
    there will always be a time when you’ll think back at what you’ve lost and wish that it was different. we cannot change the circumstances that come along with such a terrible heartache, but we can celebrate what time we have. like i said to you – your grandmother isn’t gone, she’s just not in her physical form. there will never be a time when you cannot talk to her, tell her what you’re feeling, cry, yell, love, any of that… she will always be with you, my love, in your heart, your mind, your soul.

    the only things that we can do are to keep the memories alive, which you do by continuing in your hobbies and in your convictions. and in time, when another loss binds your spirit, you will find the strength to carry on, if only in actions and words.

    if anything, i will continue to be a rock, and will keep you safe from all harm and hurt.

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