A Granddaughter’s Thoughts

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When most people think of May things like graduation, flowers, Mother’s Day, and the beach all come to mind.  That’s what used to come to mind for my family, but, for a while, May has been a much more difficult time of year for us.  The May events of past years have definitely created a month of tension, uneasiness, and, most of all, sadness.  Today marks the anniversary of one of those life changing dates.  Four years ago today, the head of my family, my great-grandfather, passed away.

When people hear great-grandfather, they don’t understand the grief that’s related to it.  Most people don’t get to meet their great-grandparents and fewer people have the chance to even establish any kind of relationship with them.  I was lucky enough to not only have known my great-grandfather, but to have also had a very close relationship with him.  I will say that I can’t be too selfish because my Papito had a very long and fulfilling life.  He was married to the love of his life, served in two wars, had three children, lived in paradise, enjoyed many years with his grandchildren, and got to share memories with several of his great-grandchildren.  However, despite all of the upsides to my great-grandfather’s life, it is still hard to deal with the void of a grandfather.

Papito was definitely more of a grandfather figure in my life than a distant relative, which is why the grief is so near to me.  He taught me so much about family and life.  He gave me so many priceless memories that I still look back to.  It’s because of him that tradition is still relevant in my family.  No, he wasn’t perfect.  Of course, he had his flaws, but his mistakes don’t take away from the great man that he was.  Ask anyone about “Goyo” and they will tell you about his strong character, generous heart, and loving nature.  Sure, he had a temper, but trust that he had a big heart to match it.  He was known throughout the entire town and he was equally respected.  I just feel blessed to have been so close to him because I got to see what kind of a man he really was and, honestly, I can’t recall one moment when I didn’t love and admire that man.

Naturally, with May being associated with the loss of my grandfather, the month doesn’t feel quite right.  I should be happy because I’m about to graduate and summer is right around the corner, but I can’t help but think of what I’ve lost.  Someday, I’m sure I’ll be able to look at May as a celebration for the family I have and the relationships I’ve experienced.  I’ll be able to not dread the fourth or the tenth and all the days around it.  I’ll be able to feel okay.  I don’t know when May will not weigh so heavily on me, but I know it’ll come soon.  In the meantime, I can only do what everyone else does to manage their grief.  All I can do is remember the good times and trust that this isn’t a goodbye, but a see you later.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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