Excerpt from February 13, 2016:
As my family gathered in the ICU, something warm and soft echoed inside my empty, numb heart. It was the holiest communion I have ever experienced, and one of the deepest pains I have ever endured. My Abuela Carmita was a poet; she played drums in the high school band, came from a family of creatives, and always encouraged my independence (in a thickly glazed Cuban Spanish).
Life is as brief as it is deep. We are a rare constellation of relationships, communities, memories, burnt cookies and lost baseballs—all in the face of a sometimes harsh, cold universe. We are miracles. Each of us. So I'm grateful for you. If you are breathing; crying; walking; eating; learning; and if you are loving (albeit messy and in the wrong order, or torn apart and still taking steps, or starting over and learning what that means), I am grateful for you; and you are privileged.
[In the midst of a year of deep grief,] I have found that “greatness” is the courage to be unabashedly present; to open one’s bloody, storytelling-heart to the outside world, and to love that world by saying these words: "Let me tell you my story, and let me hear yours; and if you must go, let me please—forever and always or just for this moment—sit with you until then."
Abuela, thank you for letting me sit with you. Until the next time I can eat your congre and yuca, your camarones and platanos; until I can hear you laugh, or am able to lift you up in my granddaughter-arms, Te quiero; forever and forever on repeat; te quiero.
I have known no greater task—or inner fulfillment and purpose—than the privilege and duty of holding your hand for as long as I could. I feel those warm, paper mache hands holding my heart, even now. I miss you; forever and forever on repeat, especially now.
Por siempre, tu chiquitita y nieta,
i carry your heart with me, e.e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)