Yesterday I lost one of the most important women in my life and one of the most important individuals in my life for that matter. After 87 years of life, my great-grandmother just couldn’t hang on anymore. I don’t blame her and I’m certainly not complaining. In this day and age, where it is so rare for a millennial to have the opportunity to meet their great-grandparents, I am well aware of how fortunate I’ve been to have spent 21 years of my life with my Mami Tita. This was the woman who has inspired so many of my decisions, she gifted me with an irreplaceable bond, and she showed me everything a perfect grandma should be. My memories with her are things that I could never make up and I definitely won’t ever forget them. Just because future generations won’t have the pleasure of meeting her personally, I’ll make sure that she is always remembered how she was in her life. Naturally, I’m not happy to hear about her passing, but, if I know my grandma like I think I do, I know that she would not want me to be lingering in my sadness. Instead, she would remind me that it’s part of life, she’s no longer suffering, and that we had a good run together. Of course, all of these wise words would be communicated through her blunt vernacular, but the message would be the same nonetheless. Personally, I have no regrets about the time I spent with my grandma. I know I did as much as I could for her and I know she knows that I love her. I will always love her and she will always be my heart.
It’s been four years today that the King of Pop has been gone, but like the many other MJ fans, it is clear to me that Michael will continue to live on through his music. Yes, he left too soon, but in some form or another he will always be with us and the impact he left on our lives will always withstand the years to come. I remember exactly what I was doing when I found out about Michael’s death and I also can recall a memory for each of his songs. This particular one brings me back to a dance I performed with my company during some difficult times for me personally. Although by this time Michael Jackson had already passed, his music helped me cope and move forward, proving that his work is still fulfilling its purpose. Rest in peace Michael.
When Death stares you in the face, you realize how real he is. It suddenly hits you that all those years spent doubting his existence were a stupid waste. You spent so much time teasing and tempting him, never expecting to see his apparition, but, now that he’s here, there’s so much you would change. There are so many things you would undo and so many opportunities you wouldn’t let go of. You wish you had listened to Death’s warning and had experienced life in its entirety. When Death stares someone next to you in the face, you realize all this and then some. You realize how fortunate you are to get a second chance because that is exactly what you are getting when Death looks away from you and at another.
When you see Death without fully experiencing his wrath, you are being given an opportunity to right all of your wrongs before he looks into your eyes. You see how definite Death is, noticing the delicate balance of life. You learn to seize every moment, making the most of everything you’re given, no matter how small. A minute, a penny, a hand. They all seem miniscule in comparison to other lively prizes, but you don’t know which of these tools will be the one to lead you further on. You don’t know which one will be your last one, so you are forced to expend every bit of each one.
With this newfound appreciation for life, you learn to truly seek and appreciate happiness, not the comfort of those around you. If you live in misery while the person you’re sacrificing yourself for thrives, are you truly content? Yes, the joy of others brings us peace and joy as well, but only when we have found our enough balance within to appreciate the positive vibes of others. Happiness is found within yourself and, frankly, you cannot fake or replace true happiness with that of another’s, so you learn to find it for yourself.
The coming visit from Death also allows you to realize that things can always be done differently and progress is always possible. The only end of your human life is Death’s arrival, but, until then, your soul can keep learning, growing, and progressing. A life is never done maturing, so don’t stop it from doing so. Perhaps, you can be nicer or maybe more effort can be exuberated. It is just a matter of your own determination, which will decide how far you can go in life.
Death is scary. He is terrifying and, unfortunately, he’s also the only thing that’s definite, but sometimes the fear he strikes is the remedy. Sometimes he’s the turning point a person on the wrong path needed in order to find better. I know people who have seen Death and have continued on like he was joke, changing nothing until regret sets in. But I have also seen those who felt Death’s cold touch, no matter how brief or distant, and have turned around, now moving toward a bigger picture in their lives. Their paths started off as rocky and dark, but ended with smoother edges. These people saw Death and realized life’s worth. Those were the people who helped me realize life’s worth.
Just yesterday I received the news that my grandfather passed away. He had been fighting in a battle with cancer and, after numerous surgeries, countless treatments, and many long years, his body gave in and it was too much for him to bear. Considering this loss in my family, we at least have the consolation that he passed away in his own home with many of his loved ones around him. Personally, although I wasn’t with him when he took his last breath, I got to see him when he came for my father’s college graduation just two weeks ago. It had been three years since I had last seen him, so seeing him one last time counts for a lot. I can only imagine what it meant for my dad and his parents to share that moment of graduation together, but I am thankful to have personally witnessed those memories. Yes, my grandfather had been struggling in his fight for a long time, but it doesn’t make his passing any less difficult or shocking. If anything, it seems like it came out of nowhere, but then again that may be a selfish kind of mindset. Instead, I should be grateful for the moments I did share with my grandfather and for the moments that I will spend with my family in Puerto Rico within the next few days. I am grateful that I got to hug him and tell him I loved him that one last time. I am grateful that he is no longer suffering.
With that being said, I hope my grandfather finds nothing but peace and love all while knowing he will never be forgotten.
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.
Tomorrow marks 18 years of Selena Quintanilla’s death. Growing up, she was one of the many female idols that my sister and I shared. Although I was only three years old when Selena was murdered, I still have vivid memories of listening to her music, watching videos of her, and even dressing up like her. Selena was a symbol of strength, beauty, independence, and talent for all Latinas. My sister and I were no different from the millions of girls who admired Selena for what she represented back then and, today, I still love Selena for the legacy she left behind. I still listen to her music, I still cry at the end of her movie, and I still look up to her as a great woman. It’s only fitting that in honor of women’s history month I share with you all the day before her death anniversary one of my favorite songs that Selena recorded. It’s hard to pick one favorite song, but “Si Una Vez” is definitely a contender for its unique sound and lyrics of the female’s strength. This performance is from her last concert in Houston, Texas, where Selena donned her notorious purple jumpsuit. I hope you all enjoy her music as much as I do and remember her for the strong, loving young woman that she lived to be.
It’s nice to see rappers using their lyrical abilities for a deeper purpose and Slaughterhouse certainly does that. I’m not saying that all of hip-hop is saturated with meaningless lyrics, but there definitely has been imbalance in recent years and it’s music like this that breaks up the monotony. Personally, this song resonates with many of the things that I’ve experienced in my life and it reflects a lot of my beliefs, which has allowed me to maintain much of the positive thinking that I’ve adopted. Although loss is something that is definitely not easy to deal with, the belief in a soul and afterlife helps in the coping process. I hope “Goodbye” adds something positive to your life and represents some kind of deeper meaning for you. Enjoy!