Sunday, August 14, 2005

Endings Are Beginnings

This is a very hard thing to share because when we tell stories we want noble strong willed women and this is real life, my real life and I'm not noble or strong and the women in my life were far from the strong Earth Woman we all want to be.

But God knows we tried.

This is a true story from my true life.

I've posted this over at the Ancestors Blog, but I've brought this here for a little while because it fits; because it's part of a journey I'm on right now. I'll only leave it here for a few days to share and I hope none of you mind.

Thank you for you indulgence,
Anita Marie


I just got back from seeing my Grandmother today.

She's dieing, no way around that and I don't want her to take all those things from the past to her grave...she was glad to see us and she was very responsive and was able to talk a bit.

But she's not eating and she's only taking a little water.

Me and Doug and Esther acted as normal as possible and talked to her about the kids and what we've been doing and I could tell she liked that too. But I didn't harp on about the food...she doesn't have much time left I think and I didn't want to waste my time on that.

I had things to settle first.

When I got there, I went up to her first (she does look really bad ) and I looked right into her eyes and I told her about the good things from our past and that they meant a lot to me.

I told her not to be scared we were there and we didn't forget about her and never would and that we loved her and she said, " all my babies are here. "

Then she saw my brother and her face lit up like a Christmas tree and she said ' oh it's Duke! " that's my brother's nickname and both our Grandmothers adored Doug.

On his good days he's like one of those Douglas Fairbanks Jr types from the old movies...what do you call it...he's one of those dashing handsome lovable rogue types.

In fact, that's who my brother is named for: Douglas Fairbanks...only my Filipina Grandmother couldn't pronounce came out Frederick I guess or something that sounded like that.

So our mom changed it.

Anyway nothing could warm those two women's hearts like Doug could. It's always been a joy to me to think back on the smiles they had for him and only for stern Grandmother Ignancia who only openly and with her entire heart smiled and laughed just for my Grandfather, Cypriano, and later for my brother Doug.

And for my Grandma Ginger who had a bitter and hard and sad life was able to toss all that over to smile with pure abandon for Doug too.

So it was worth going just to see her that happy...I mean it's the end for her and her life is full of bad choices and wrong words and she knows it.

If this can help her ease her heart and settle her spirit I'm glad and I'm glad I was there to see it and that I was part of it. I'm glad I was able to let go of my pain and hurt for the Grandmother who sometimes treated me with something less then kindness and care.

The nurse told Luis they're surprised she's lasted this long and they suspect she's got unresolved issues and I think we're the issues.

I really don't want her to suffer just waiting to see us.

I didn't want that to be what she felt on her last days on this Earth.

I wanted her to be happy tonight, I wanted her to have good dreams the way my Grandmother Ignancia did before she passed away.

My Grandmother was saying, the week before she died, that every night she was dreaming about my Grandfather Cypriano driving up in his army jeep and he'd call out to her to come out and take a ride with him.

She was scared when she woke up and told my Uncle she yelled at Cypriano to go away.

She died shortly after; I think she got in that jeep with him one night and I think she was laughing...I think they both were.

I want that for my Grandma Ginger too.

The Beginning-posted at the Soul Food Cafe

One of my favorite stories involving my Grandmother Ignancia and her sister involved the trips they use to take together back in their younger years after moving to Hawaii.

My Grandmother's younger sister really was a bush pilot and use to fly all over the Southwest here in the states, Mexico and before they stopped it, Cuba.

After one such trip my Grandmother and her sister weren't on speaking terms for about two weeks, I'm told. Finally one night at the dinner table my Grandmother's sister dissolved into hysterical laughter and nearly fell out of her chair. My Grandmother calmly got up, excused herself and went to Confession.

True story, one of my favorites because sometimes we forget our Grandmother's were once young women. When I think of my Grandmother and her sister ( We called her Tia ) I don't think of them as older maternal figures.

I see my Grandmother as the gutsy young woman she was; she left the Philippines to get away from an abusive husband as well as a Church she felt had far to much control over her life. She took herself and her daughter to Hawaii.

I see my Tia, which isn't hard to do because I look exactly like her. I can see her in my mind's eye flying planes, smoking her beloved Cuban cigars, playing cards and shooting coconuts out of the trees for the hell of it

I'd like to say my Grandmother was a calming sweet old woman, but she wasn't. She was tough, strong and independent. She wasn't the warmest person in the world, but my God you could count on her to be strong no matter what came her way.

Until the last week of her life she was working her garden and keeping up on her hobbies. As for Tia, she passed away a few months after my Grandmother did. I was told the day she lost her driver's license wasn't as big of a deal as the day she realized she could no longer fly ( which had happened many years before ). I think that broke her, because it was then she stopped being the spitfire she was before. I think all she had after being 'grounded' was my Grandmother and when she was gone...that was it.

Even as they aged they still traveled and saw much of the world, two old ladies taking off for trips to Mexico. Sometimes they'd see someplace on TV and decided to fly there for no other reason then...why not? It looked good. And just try to stop them. You'd have better luck trying to change the rotation of the Earth and I'm not kidding. This was when they were in the 70's for Pete's Sake.

HOWEVER! I think you all are very lucky to have had the women I've read some of you write about in your lives. The women in my life...well...ha, they belong in an adventure movie. No kidding and they'd take THAT as a compliment!


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Leonie Bryant said...

This is a very poignant story Anita. Thinking of you during this time.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Anita--I used to be a hospice nurse and you definitely have your priorities straight around these issues. Your Tia must have been a remarkable woman, same with your grandmother. There is always so much tragedy in our family histories, it is amazing that we survive and continue to create lives for ourselves. Your sense of adventure and openness are palpable in your pieces. I feel very honored to have met you and the other travelers on this journey. It seems to me we are all women of courage and daring, and as Eudora Welty said, "All great daring comes from within." Keep exploring the interior world. Karen

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Lois said...

Hi There Dear Friend,.
Now Anita there are those who often remember their Grandmothers /Grandfathers with perhaps rose coloured glasses,but when you speak the truth about them it makes sense,because we often carry these burdens througout our lives especially when they are part of our growing up years as children.
I was not blessed to meet either of my Grandmothers and very little of them was spoken in my growing up years,perhaps it was because there were so many of the extended family around we did not miss them..I cannot even remember my Grandfathers speaking of them very often ...I think they were the generation that were upper-lip strong British/Irish stock who kept it all closed in..I know my own Father Bert was like that....He mellowed when my children were born ,but never let go completly.
I like Karen have worked in pallative care and have seen many instances of those dying ,who waited until a close family member arrived from another state /country town ..Your Grandmother was able to recognise her family so her mind was still active to memory......
I cannot write about my Grandfathers as I find I did not know them as well as perhaps I should have.Spending holidays with my Maternal G/Father in the country was a joy and he allowed me to help him in the garden ,and bring in the wood for the fire..but he was a very independant man and children were perhaps seen and not heard...Never remember either of them reading me a story or being interested in my school stories etc.
I often think that my strong attatchment to my Mother was made up of doing as many things with her as I could.We shopped together,painted the house,gardened,made curtains took the grandchildren on day trips etc etc ....the closeness made for a strong bond and a harder grieving time when she died suddenly ...Quietly in her own bed,in this my home now ,just found her asleep as I opened the front door one Sat morning as my per usual routine, we always had a day out to somewhere nice on a Saturday...I was blessed that she was here in the home she so loved and did not have a death that was as painful as some experience...
I have written much about our life and I always find that it is so good for me to do so...I can understand/emphasise how others are feeling and coping when the loss of a loved one happens prepared or unprepared........
We are all travelling on a "Life" journey and the similarities are remarkable ,only able to be shared because there is trust between us....
Love (Lois)Muse of the Sea

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

This is a very moving piece Anita. If it is okay with you it would be good if this piece stayed here. We will take good care of it and it is in very safe hands. Within a short amount of time it will slip into the archives but retain its power and potency. How wonderful to help 'finish business.' Too many die with unfinished business.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Anita Marie Moscoso said...

Thank you for all of your thoughts Leonie, Karen, Lois and Heather.

I'll go ahead and leave this here Heather, I mean I know it's important we share our journey so that the others coming up won't feel so alone on their trips.

Again, thank you all for your feedback, I'll treasure each and every word

anita marie


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