Wednesday, February 3, 2010

To the Stars, Please Take Care of My Lola

My Lola took her last breath today.

About a week ago, we were told that she, already in hospice care, was nearing the end.  I could feel that folks were still holding on to her.  So, I wrote this letter to my Lola.

This past weekend, I had the fortunate opportunity to go home for this unfortunate reason.

The whole 2 days, I felt that I needed  to be really strong for the family.  While I feel that I had a more realistic point of view about her passing, it was difficult to see her in bed the whole time, being fed small amounts of food and given oxygen.  What a way to sustain life.

But my grandmother was a strong woman.

Though she didn't open her eyes at all, she seemed responsive.  I told her how we were going to be alright.  My siblings, my cousins, all us kids.  We'd be okay.  I told her I was leaving for Boston again, but that I'd be back.

She would make a noise signaling that she heard us.  She would raise her eyebrows acknowledging our words.  At one point, she scrunched her face up, almost to say that she didn't believe it was me as she was so used to me being away.

I broke just then, after trying to be strong for the family and for myself.  I broke.  I apologized for being so far away.  I apologized for always leaving.  I told her I loved her.  I told her we would be okay, though I almost didn't believe myself at that moment.

But she taught us that we need to be strong too.

She was 90 years old.  She was a mother of 12, grandmother to over 30, great-grandmother to over 10 and then some.  She's left us all with powerful life lessons, a strong sense of family, and a healthy appetite.

Throughout the month, I will be using this space to honor my Lola the best way I can - with the food she cooked for us kids.

With that, I wanted to post this poem for my family, and a video my mom and cousin put together for her 90th birthday celebration.

“You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”
--David Harkins

Leonida Garcia Rodriguez
September 12, 1919 to February 3, 2010

I love you, Lola.


  1. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Many hugs to you and your family.

  2. Oh honey! I'm so sorry. The video and poem was beautiful. Your grandmother sounds like a spectacular woman.


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