Assalamu Alaykom (Peace be upon you),
One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with is knowing that I never really knew my abuelos(grandparents). When I was younger, I could remember my friends and other students talking about their grandparents and the great food that their grandmother would prepare for family dinners. However, I never had a close relationship with my grandparents growing up. I was very young when they had died, excluding my grandfather on my mother’s side of the family. So, whenever I listen to this poem by Mayda del Valle, I sit quietly, listening to the many questions that she has for her abuela (grandmother). And by listening to this piece, I always think about the questions I have for my grandparents, but unfortunately, I would never be able to get those answers.
When I was much younger, I could remember being dropped off at my grandmother’s home on the paternal-side of my family. Years later, she had died from breast-cancer. Sadly, I could remember my great-great grandmother dying as my father, brother, and I was on the way to see her coming from McDonald’s to pick her up some french-fries. She loved McDonald’s french-fries. So, as we were excited to go and visit her, we found ourselves mourning her death. At the facility she was at, we were greeted with the announcement of her death. It was extremely sad and even upsetting to my father. I was never close to her, but something about her death moved me to tears. I felt hurt. And I didn’t know why or even how come, but I was hurt. Tears flowed from my eyes without hesitation.
It was at that very moment that I realized how fragile life is. We are only given one life. This life only happens once. So, I listen to this poem to think about the life that my grandparents had lived before my time. I wonder so much about the traditions they were raised with, and the things they were taught growing up. I never had that conversation with any of my grandparents. I can’t even recall eating a good home-made prepared dish by any of my grandparents. In many ways, I mourn their death and their non-existence in my life. It hurts a lot to know that they never knew me and I never knew them. We are and were just strangers.
As I travel through life, I have come to realize that things happen. And the only thing you can do is to just accept that things happen. I accepted a long time ago that I would never have a story to tell about my grandparents. I wouldn’t. I would never be able to sit down with my own children and tell them about their grandparents. And as much as it hurts, I just pray that I am able to be in the lives of my grand-children. The truth hurts and it shouldn’t, but it does. I love deeply my grandparents. I love them as if I knew them. I love them as if I had sat across from them being scolded for something trivial. I feel attached to them, even though they are gone. There is something about them, their untold stories, their untold experiences that excites me. There is something about their untold legacy that makes me long to know them. There is something quite beautiful about them because they hold knowledge that I don’t know and may never know. However, I know that they are worthy of my love and my admiration because they are a part of me.