I hate good-byes. I hate how permanent they sound, and I hate how awkward they feel, because deep inside, it hurts to say it. “Good-bye.”
The one thing Kevin told me was the hardest part about being a Senior during this pandemic- it wasn’t the graduation ceremony, not missing the silly prom, or the other activities that would not be experienced- he said the hardest part was not being able to say “good-bye” to his peers. To give that final send off before they all head in their own directions.
I suppose that’s why I hate the sentiment. I don’t want to accept that life brings changes. Sometimes I want everything to be as they were. Especially when everything and everyone around me is doing just fine. Saying, “Good-bye,” feels like I’m okay with whatever was and it is now over. It is time to move on.
Life can be cruel. It doesn’t ask you when you are ready for good-byes. It’ll lift you right out of your-self and BAM! change. What is even worse is not knowing what is ahead. What do these changes mean?
I am not talking about the pandemic- although it sure sounds like it. No. I’m talking about the death of my grandma. As I type this post, she is lying on a hospice bed ready to have her last breath. I had the choice to go and see her; to say “good-bye.” I couldn’t do it. I did not want to do it. I may have a change of heart, it all depends on what happens tomorrow. This pandemic doesn’t help the situation either.
Death always makes me reflect about my own mortality, and how fragile and precious life is.
Let me tell you about my grandma. She raised my sisters and me. She was married at 16. Never learned how to read, instead she had to work in the fields on her parents land during the Great Depression. She sent off her husband to fight in World War II. She had a baby that passed away at 6 months because she lived too far away to get the help she needed. She adopted a little girl afterward. Raised four boys. One of those boys was rather wild and never left the nest- that would be my dad and why my sisters and I lived with her and our grandpa (Pita). Pita died in 1990. She lived the remainder of her life widowed.
She NEVER held grudges. She worried WAY TOO MUCH about her family. She prayed everyday. She cooked and baked for her family. She loved the casino, perhaps too much. Oh, and she only spoke Spanish. That’s important because all of her grandchildren do not. We can understand and speak a few words in Spanish, but we are not fluent. Yet, we were able to communicate with her. That’s what happens when love is the dominate language. Love can break any barriers, including a language barrier. That woman loved her family NO MATTER WHAT!
The world will not know or miss Ofelia Abeyta, but her family will. We have been touched by her strength, courage, and unconditional love. Her legacy is her family.
So I will not say, “good-bye” to this amazing woman. I will say, “see you soon, Grandma!” or better yet, we are going to sit in heaven and drink a beer and tell stories. Yes, there is beer in heaven.
I love you Grandma! I am the woman I am today because of your love for me. You loved me when everyone else seemed to abandoned me. You helped me to understand the meaning of love AND the meaning of family. You taught me those words are one and the same.
I hope you have someone in your life who has touched you as the way my grandma has touched mine. Most importantly, I hope you will be the Grandma in this crazy world. To love your family and friends unconditionally.
Peace to you and yours!