This is an old article from my Tumblr from my grandmother’s passing. I want to share this with my new audience since she was and will forever be a major part of me.
My grandmother past away last week and nothing could have been more earth shattering than this. She was my everything. She taught me everything I know. She was a legend of all sorts but mainly, a legend in the kitchen. There’s no denying that she gave me her gift of cooking and her ways in the kitchen— tricks, recipes, and techniques.
In my darkest hour of grief, I consoled my grandfather (who’s been married to her for 59 years!) and I cooked….and cooked… and cooked…. I made any comfort food that came to mind the night of her death and the days that followed. Anything that kept her memory alive and slightly eased the pain of losing her. In my mind, if I stirred the sancocho (Dominican stew) long enough maybe she’d come to me. If I made the pastelitos (beef patties) just right maybe I’d hear her voice again, if I brewed the coffee to the right strength and blackness maybe just maybe she’d kiss me on my cheek again. But the reality is that I will never see her warm flesh again. I’ll never get to dance with her or drink an ice cold Heineken with her. I won’t tell her to stop worrying about the bills anymore or assure her that yes, I’ve cooked Pork all the way and no one will get sick. Nothing.
I buried my grandmother this weekend and there’s a hollowness within. A part of me died with her, lost forever gone and I want it back. I feel like I’ve been robbed. I haven’t been able to cook, sleep, and eat since then. My grandfather told me that he’s happy that she left her tangible memories behind in my cooking, but the reality is that as of right now it’s a curse. I know how to chef up pollo guisado and huevos fritos (Stew chicken and fried eggs) just like her but just knowing that she wasn’t the one to do it pains my heart.
The hardest part of it all is that I have to try to be my old self. I have to consciously think of how I used to be and try to be that person for the sake of attempting to move forward. But it’s hard. I saw and spoke to her everyday, now I stare at a dark kitchen collecting dust. Now I have to change her name in my phonebook, change the way I refer to her house, readjust holidays, birthdays, mother’s day, and my life as a whole. Three weeks ago I was on a French escapade and high off love. I returned home head first into the fire only to experience the immense pain that comes with a love so great. RIP Mama. Jan 28, 1933- Oct 18, 2011