Abuelita Juanita: A Story of My Grandma and My Faith

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My grandmother on my father’s side passed away this past Sunday, May 3, 2015 around 3:00 AM. Ever since my grandfather passed away, she slowly started not eating and getting sick. She basically past away from being lonely. Her whole life after being a nurse, she dedicated her time to God, the Church, and my grandpa. Like most old-school Hispanic women she catered 100% to my grandpa’s wishes. Once he passed, I guess she didn’t have as much purpose to keep living.

When I got the call early Sunday morning, I wasn’t sad. I felt bad for not being sad. I still feel bad. I honestly was happy for her. She lived a great life and now she is able to be with my grandpa again.

I believe in God and in Heaven…and in hell. I believe that what goes around, comes around. I believe that if you are a good person, eventually good things will come to you if you wait. I have faith. Faith in that everything will turn out the way it should be. Faith in family. Faith in God. If I inherited anything from my grandma, it would be this…faith.

When I was younger (6-9 years old), I loved visiting my grandparents in Mexico. I would play make believe with my grandma and she would play along. I have really good memories of her at that age. Then, something happened. I became a teenager and I changed. But, my grandma changed too. She felt a disconnect with my “American” lifestyle and mentality. She didn’t understand why I would do certain things, ,listen to certain types of music, and dressed the way I did.

My whole life I have been involved with the Church. I am Presbyterian. I was part of an AMAZING youth group growing up. We would have bible studies, lock-ins, and travel to “church camp”. I was content in my faith and that was good enough for me.

But, for some reason, my grandma didn’t think it was enough. Our biggest issue since then was that I “wasn’t going to church” or that I “wasn’t in touch with God” or that I didn’t try hard enough to “live and follow the path of God”. I never understood why she thought I was disconnected from my faith and I wish she could have seen how much faith I do have.

Now, years later, I realize that it was a cultural disconnect. Unlike me, my cousin Bani was born and raised in Mexico. She is also involved in the Church. The difference is that she knows all our favorite hymns and scriptures…in Spanish. I don’t. And that is where the problem started. I am American and my grandma was Mexican. No matter how hard we tried, there was always going to be that constant disconnect because I was raised and grew up in America.

When they were laying my grandma down to rest, I finally cried. I cried and cried under my dirty sunglasses because I loved her. I was constantly seeking her approval and was never able to receive it. But, at that moment, I realized I never needed her approval and that I should have never let it stand in the way of connecting with her.

I inherited something priceless from my grandma and although she never recognized it, I am a better person and who I am today because of it.

Thank you Abuelita. Thank you for giving me the best dad in the world. Thank you for raising him because he raised me in the same way even if you didn’t realize it. Most of all, thank you for setting me on the right path and for showing me that all things are possible in God. I will continue in my faith and will keep trying to be the best person I can be.

RIP Abuelita Juanita. See you again one day.

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Stay in Love,

AM

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