Losing with a Smile
Today, I had an amiga who lost her abuela back home in Guatemala.
In times like these I've found it best to say little and to listen.
"El Guapo, she was 95, she lived a long, fruitful life, and she went in her sleep. Peacefully… I just never got a chance to say goodbye."
It's hard for me to explain to my American friends what it is like to be far away from everything you know and love. To go to bed every night knowing that the closest you’ll be to your flesh and blood is through pictures or a telephone call.
I remember when my abuelo passed away when I was in the 5th grade. Mi padre told me the news and I looked outside to see my mother looking into the nothingness of the world through her closed eyes.
When she came back into the house I kissed her and hugged her. I was a child and asked her if she was sad.
“Si mi hijo. Mami is sad.”
I’m going to miss him.
“Yes baby. I know. I’m going to miss him too.”
You didn’t even get to say goodbye to him mami. That’s sad.
“I said goodbye to him baby.”
“You did? How?”
“I did. He said goodbye to me in a breeze.”
I remember understanding, but not understanding this back then. All I knew then is that it made me smile because that was something my abuelo would do.
My friend sat silently looking into her thoughts. Then she smiled.
“El Guapo, there is something that makes me smile about my abuela dying. She died one day before my abuelo’s birthday. Mi madre said that she must have wanted to spend his birthday with him.”