On Life and Death

Welcome back. You belong here.

Today has been a happy and sad day. I miss my grandmother. I miss the connection to my culture and family she brought. My uncle, the only relative near by, came and had dinner with us today and it was so good. I miss my family, the connections of the Morales-Gutierrez-Trigueros.

My grandmother was the ‘great connector’. My words to my uncle don’t compare to what my grandmother would have said. In fact, I often laugh at myself because all I do is repeat what she would have said. But then I cry, because I’d rather hear her own words.

I loved having my wife’s family here, they are my family. But the other half of my life was missing. I hope you understand. My grandmother provided life, joy, laughter, wisdom, perspective. A different voice from my own culture, my home, mi patria, mi cultura, from Managua, Nicaragua. Sometimes I feel like an immigrant here. Most times I feel at home, but today I felt like I live on foreign soil, grief will do that to you.

The food was great, I kept to my eating plan (I did have some desert, first time in a month)…the conversation was good. I just wished I could have gone into gramma’s room and said hello, or had her eat together with us. I miss talking in Spanish with an adult with my Nica accent, that looks like me, that knows my customs and background and can TEACH me stuff.

Who will teach me now? A lot of this comes from the fact I haven’t spoken to my mom , nor to my aunts or uncles in over two months. I have been missing that, another sign of how work has been crazy lately. But things will change. It’s all just a few ticks away. Monday, Dec. 19th, we’re having a lunch to remember ‘abuelita’. I’m inviting my side of the family, my grandmother’s sister, her children, many of them back in town for Christmas.

My grandmother went into the hospital with a ruptured brain anyurism on Dec. 24th, Christmas Eve. I had just seen her at one of the services I led that evening. She died 10 days later at UC Irvine Medical Center on Jan. 3rd at around 6pm. She lived in our home, she was my roomate, my friend, mi compañera, my mom and dad in one, she raised me from age 6. We saw her life slip away as we took her off life-support. Hardest thing in my life.

I remember every day she was in the comma, her open mouth, her swollen hands, her beautiful hair and that zipper-like scar on her skull from the surgery (her second that night). She was basically gone the minute the anyurism ruptured. If she had survived the two surgeries, she may not have recovered well. God knew. I get angry at the doctors still, I get angry at the whole thing. But then I slip back into that combination of peace and lack of control. Only God knows. I am not God, He is.

* * *

Yet tonight we heard of my sister in law’s baby. Their first, they’re having a boy. We saw the ultrasound images on their laptop..sigh, the memories of the first child, or the second, third or fourth for that matter. Nothing in the world like it, they were beaming with joy. Good wishes on their little one.

Life and death, it’s all here in one night. I want to go lift and get it all out, but it’s too late and I should go spend time with my wife and talk some more and meditate on the evening. Maybe I’ll do some abs too.

Our children were amazing, having fun, running around, my uncle brought his two adopted children (he has three biological ones as well) and that was fun for our little ones.

I hope your day was full of joy and laughter, of sadness and tears, for it’s all part of life. I would not want my life to be any different. Oh sure, I would love for my gramma to be alive, but what I mean is that no matter what happens, I get a chance to go through life with three truths:

1. God is with me
2. Family is near
3. I have peace in my heart

Community, family, God, it’s a life saver.

Into the future,


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