Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In memoriam: My grandmother

This past Friday, my grandmother had passed away. She was 84 years old. On Monday, the family gathered at the Condon Memorial Home in Harrison, where practically everybody in the Agudo family goes to after they pass on. Of course, there were a lot of tears and sadness, but also a lot of discussions, and even some smiles and laughter. Even when death is in the room, life goes on.

During the second wake session, the pastor of the Pentecostal church that Grandma went to in her later years(She was previously Catholic, then Mormon, then a Jehovah's Witness, until she settled on a Pentecostal faith) came by to deliver a sermon for. Even I appreciated this because Rev. Cruz has known our family for at least a decade now, and his sermons are very family-oriented. While my Spanish is very rusty, he gave a very comforting sermon, stressing that she had a long life, had many children and even more grandchildren. Her legacy lives on in our memories, and literally within us.

Abuelita and me on her 84th birthday
Of course, he is a priest, so at the end of the sermon it came time to pray. I should note that while some of my relatives know I'm an atheist, my grandmother was not one of them(Though I suspect now that this is published, word might get out pretty quick and I might catch some hell for a while). However, when everybody bowed their heads, closed their eyes and prayed along, I did something slightly different. I bowed my head, but instead of praying, I let my mind drift into my fondest memory of Abuelita(as we affectionately call her): When I was a kid, Abuelita lived in an apartment above a small grocery store with a big comic book section. Every time I came over, I asked "Abuelita, dame un peso, por favor?"(Grandma, can you give me a dollar, please?). She happily always said yes, and I always used it either towards a comic book, or a soda, or a pack of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards(C'mon, they were hilarious). I thanked her for spoiling me so much then, and thank her again now.

Yesterday morning, we said our last goodbyes and buried her in the cemetery where my grandfather, her husband, is buried as well. Before we embarked to the cemetery, Rev. Cruz gave another sermon. While still stressing the family bonds, it was a bit more heavy with religious language. Even more so when a chaplain came up afterwards and delivered a sermon in English, saying that "Jesus is with us" and whatnot. So I did what I did the night before and drowned out the religious talk with memories of Grandma, because that's who it's really all about, not a 2,000 year old carpenter or a religion.

After we buried her, we all went to a Spanish Pavilion(literally named "Spanish Pavilion") at the edge of town, ate a ton of food, talked more, and then went back to our normal life routines. Normal, except when the holidays hit us soon. While we'll be okay in years to come, this year things will be quite different without Grandma at the Thanksgiving table or handing out the presents on Christmas Eve. But, we'll still manage to have a good time and enjoy life, because that's what Abuelita wanted us to do.