I have never felt so far away from home

My grandma was moved into a private room yesterday afternoon and I was so lucky that I got to talk to her for a moment. She was not able to speak but I could hear her breathing. I know she could hear me. After I spoke with her I just sat at my computer and listened to all of my grandma's favorite songs that she liked me to sing. Every time I saw her she always talked about how much she loved me voice and would start naming songs for me to sing. We had a different relationship because I was the only girl in my generation. My grandma was the only girl in her generation- she had 2 sons - and I was the only girl born. I always loved that special bond.

My grandma loved musicals. Not nearly as much as my grandpa- he was obsessed with them. But she always loved hearing me sing -especially show tunes. Some of my favorite memories of my grandma were from when she would ride up to San Francisco with the ladies from her Fig Garden group to see a show in the city. My apartment was only 2 blocks from the theater and she would always get me a ticket. I was a theater Arts major in college and my favorite shows in the world are musicals.

Together we saw Hairspray, The Producers, Grease, Rag Time and there was another one but I cannot remember. I wish I could have taken her to Wicked. She would have really loved that show. I remember she always kept asking me to move to Fresno to live with her. She kept telling me what a great theater they had. A women from Fresno had a large role in the Tony winning production of Ragtime!

Although moving from San Francisco to Fresno was not in the cards, I loved going to her theater in Fresno with her. We must have seen 3 or 4 shows there together. The last show we saw there together was actually the week that I found out I was pregnant. I had found out in June and went to visit my grandma. At this moment- no one except Ruben knew that we were pregnant. We went to see a show and she, like usually was smoking in the car. I held my head out the window trying not to be to obvious. It was not until she finally quit these past 2 years that she understood smoking around kids and non smokers.

I went to the Target in on Shaw and bought "What to expect when you are expecting" I remember her asking me if I was pregnant. Of course I said no- but she knew better. I got to have a wonderful visit with her and my kids right before I moved to Mexico. My kids were very good at her house and while we were there I told them how much grandma great LOVES little ladies and little gentlemen. Even months later, Akilean will say to me "momma, I am a little gentlemen, grandma great likes that."

This last visit in April will remain for me one of the best memories I ever had with my grandma. It was for 5 days that we got to just hang out the 2 of us. We woke up each morning and I made coffee for us. 2 scoops of decaf with hazelnut and 2 scoops regular. My grandma had one of those old percolator coffee pots. These are the ones that you make in the pot and then you can bring the whole carafe to the table and it keeps it warm. She had one when she was first married and after many years it finally broke. She got a new coffee pot- the typical one and she hated it. She got rid of it and found herself another percolator one. I loved waking up, sitting at her little table and chatting about the neighborhood. She had fully turned into that little old lady that looks at and wonders who that truck belongs to and what it is doing there. I loved it. We spent so many mornings bleeding into the afternoon just sitting and sipping coffee. Not just on this trip but on morning I spent there.

On the first full day there we had a wonderful dinner. I went over to Whole Food and got a bunch of cheese and bread. Her favorite one was a Petite Basque sheep's cheese. It was really good. Grandma did not eat too much these days but she loved that cheese plate. We ate on it for a good few days.

Another day we went out to one of her favorite Mexican restaurants. This is also next to one of her favorite antique stores where we have found so many treasures. On one of my tips here we went to the back warehouse area and found a box of frosted glass oriental bird paintings and frames that were coming detached. They were only a $1 each and you could tell that when cleaned up they were going to be really beautiful. She remember how much it matched the design of the desk we bought together and she thought we should get some. I have them in the USA ready to come down. I cannot wait to have them on my wall. This is also where I bought my Aztec calendar.

I have been looking at the pictures of my grandma's house and her yard. She had such a beautiful yard. her gardener, Alfredo, has been working with grandma for 10 years and has done such a great job. And he really cares about my grandma. While I was there he came to say hello to her and he brought her some chocolate. She LOVED them. The dark chocolate were her favorite ones. He also gave me a beautiful cookbook. I was going to mail a thank you card to my grandma to give to him. Hopefully she was able to tell him how much I have been enjoying it.

My grandma has these beautiful pictures all over her house. My favorite is the one of my grandfather in his army uniform when he was very young. And the one that she has on her bed side table. It is a picture of her from when she was young. She has always been so beautiful. This is the last moment that I had with my grandma. As I left that morning I told her that I could not wait for her to come and visit me. That we were going to salsa in paradise. She is laughing about that in this photo.

We did talk in a dream scenario of her coming to Tulum to visit. We both knew that it was not going to happen but it was fun to talk about. Ruben wanted her to live with us so bad. He got such a kick out of her. He loved to debate and listen to her on political views. He thought that she was really wise. I even walked into them discussing illegal immigration and I left that conversation pretty quick. They had a good time.

I got to spend Easter with my grandma and my Uncle Brad. We went to this great little place my grandma had seen and we ate eggs Benedict. It was great. The next day she took me over to her favorite consignment shop where they only sell high quality brands and we got some great cloths for Mexico. She was so excited. We made some major scores. There was this one skirt that she simple would not let me not take and then there were some she was like, "no you do not look good in that." You gotta love her bluntness. I did love it anyway.
When my grandfather died my cousin and I sang Grandpa, tell me about the good old days. That is so much what my grandma reminded me of. I really started to appreciate it more as I was getting older. My grandpa's favorite musical was Les Miserables. My grandma asked me to sing a song from it for my grandpa's service. It was On My Own. It was very hard to get all the world out.

I have been sitting here listening to a few songs that make me think of grandma.


paula said...

just when i thought i was done crying

Leslie Limon said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Again, my prayers are with you. Now, I'm off to look for some kleenex!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

your memories are just lovely - emphasis on love

A Toronto girl out West said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what's going on with your family.

My prayers are with you! Stay strong!

Steve Cotton said...

I sat here and read this blog three times -- it is so well-written and filled with joy. You are a remarkable writer to be able to invest yourself so thoroughly in your work while remaining an objective viewer filled with love for your grandmother. The two of you are truly one in spirit.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

OMG - I just listened to your playlist. Bawling my eyes out.

Hope you are okay ...

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