The Journey of Grief

Coping with the loss of a loved one during a pandemic.

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She would only be with us for a year. That’s what my abuelo told me in a vision. Our family would be given a gift to mourn his death with her by our side. Time to heal, time to adjust to the void that was left when he passed.

But before I speak on her transition I need to speak on my last encounter I had while both my grandparents were alive.

February 11, 2018- This was my last visit I would be able to make back home to NY before my divorce lockdown.

The family came together and it was a lovely time until it was time to come in circle and pray before dinner.

Every family has their issues and every family has their secrets.

I had reached a point in my life where I had to set boundaries, where for the most part Catholicism didn’t speak to me anymore, and there was a lot of thinking that I no longer resonated with.

As a mother I was taking a stand for what I felt was right in my heart and it’s hard to go “against” the grain so to speak especially in a very traditional Colombian family.

So as we gathered in prayer my grandmother as the matriarch of the family made it very clear to me and everyone how she wasn’t happy for X,Y and Z reasons and how I was to blame.

I just stood there and listened. I had to fight back the tears as she had it all wrong but I understood where she was coming from and if I was in her position I probably would have done the same.

My grandmother was a very strong woman and that’s where I get it from. I am part of a long lineage of warrior women and I am forever grateful for that because it has served me well in this lifetime.

My grandfather defended me that day and that was my final memory and last physical interaction before he passed. As hard as it was to have to say goodbye from a screen and mourn a huge loss without my family I could be at peace with our last encounter. He knew I loved him and I knew he loved me but I couldn’t stomach the thought of my grandmother passing and our last encounter being that of what it was.

The gift of the year…

I was told in a dream that I would be given the opportunity to see my grandmother one last time to make amends. Now remember guys I am on a no-fly list and my family is back on the east coast. I had no idea what that opportunity would look like but I waited.

Then I got a call that my grandmother would be spending New Years in Arizona. She would be flying with my godparents and visiting my cousin.

I packed my bags, grabbed the boys (yes pooch in toe) and we spent New Year in Arizona. It was there where she got to really see me for who I truly am and it was there where I finally could appreciate her for who she truly was.

We are so different and yet so alike.

My abuelita is old school! She asked me about my marriage and I told her technically I was still married and then she asked “well does that mean you can’t be with another man until your divorce?”

I chuckled and made a face. “Yea ok abuela! No one can ever have that much control over me!”

She laughed and nodded.

Then she proceeded to ask about my cooking skills because no man wants a woman who can’t cook!

I chuckled and made a face yet again. “Sorry abuela my cooking skills are questionable but I have many other good qualities and a lack of admirers has never been my issue.

She laughed and nodded.

This to me was such a sweet conversation. It’s two generations with one generational gap in-between and it reflects how her life was and in turn it reflects why I am the way that I am.

An immigrant’s life is far from easy and being a woman and mother had many uphill challenges.

I cherished those days and I soaked up every second. When it was time to say goodbye I hugged her for what I knew was going to be the last time I could hug her human and the tears flowed down my face.

I was given a gift and I will be eternally grateful for our time spent together.

I am the granddaughter of Joaquin and Flor Diaz. Two Colombian immigrants who dreamed of a better life for their family. They leave a legacy that in my own way I am preserving and I know that they are proud of who I’ve become, of how I’ve stood my ground, and of the work that I am currently doing for the collective.

So here I am once again, having to mourn alone and away from my family.

My son and I went to the beach yesterday, we swam in the ocean, I allowed the ocean to take me for a moment. My tears and the ocean became one. I looked up at the sky and watched the sunset. It reminded me of the sunset I saw on my way back from my family visit to AZ.

We stared up in the sky and he said “ Mama I know I will now see her in my dreams just like great-grandpa but my heart still hurts and it feels like its breaking”

And the only thing I could say to that is “me too baby mama feels the same way.

“Death” is a part of the lifecycle beautiful world.

Not an easy one to grasp as my human will miss her human but I have already seen her, I have already seen them together. Our pillars of love and strength are still here with us, guiding us and protecting us.

And for those who are grieving during this time hold yourself with so much compassion and allow yourself to feel all the feels. Take one day at a time. Look for the signs from your loved ones. They are there.  The veil is thinnest right after transition. Do not believe that death is the end.

Death is only the beginning.

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