My nana was a very special person to many people.
Growing up, I remember seeing a strong woman - a woman who wasn't afraid to be herself.
She would get dressed up, sing out loud, dance, speak her mind, smile, laugh, watch her novellas as loud as she wanted, collect whatever objects she thought were special, from horses to stuffed animals, she displayed them proudly in her home. She walked or rode the bus when she needed to get somewhere. Her age never stopped her.
My nana loved music. Even while in her bed, during this last year, she enjoyed listening to her favorites and would often sing along.
She used to stand in front of large crowds and sing. A voice I can hear in my head, loud and beautiful. A voice I will not forget.
Back in the 70's , when My dad first met her, he remembers my nana being someone who was always giving. She was always dressed up in her skirts, a pretty woman, who had always offered to cook a warm meal if they were hungry or just lend a hand when it was needed.
The days, months and years never changed that in her.
She was always ready to give.
She would offer her jewelry from her own collection, clothes, her cooking, her help in her own way.
We could always expect to have a present every time Christmas came around. Without fail, my mom would tell me, “Ay te dejo tu nana un regalito.” Be it a pair of socks, leg warmers, a necklace…didn’t matter, it was always special because it was from her. That was her way of showing each one of us that she was thinking of us. No matter how often or how little you saw her, she was thinking of you.
That is what I loved about my nana - her unselfish nature.
She would fill our bellies with her good rice or sopitas. I’d stop by her house for a visit and before I knew it I was eating something. And I would never leave her house empty handed. My children can attest to that.
Even during her difficult moments, sitting in a wheelchair in her apartment, she offered my babies gifts. Treasures she had collected, that now, we will treasure and hold dear.
If you gave her a photo, you could be sure she would hang it on her wall. If she was invited to a party, you could be sure she would be there.
She was the one who would travel on a packed bus to Juarez or Fresnio. She'd take one of us or a couple of us with her. Her grandchildren always following her lead, because she knew what to do and knew where to go.
We walked down rugged mexico streets, with nana, in her 60's, leading the way. She showed us the ropes in an unknown place and made it familiar for us. It was always fun traveling with her. She taught us, unintentionally, how important family was by taking us, and that we should always be proud of who we are and where we came from.
I'll never forget her mannerisms, the way she would stand, her smile or some of the things she would say.
She was tough and funny and kind and so unselfish and I hope that one day I can be as strong as she was.
She went through a lot in her 80 years of life. There were tough times, but many, many good times. That is what we should never forget - the good times we got to share with her.
She did a lot for all of us. She left us with so many great memories.
I love her and miss her so much.