Since I was 11 months old, I have spent all of my summers in Guatemala City with my grandparents. When my younger sister was born, I actually spent a couple of years with them in Guatemala because my grandma insisted that they could take care of me so my mom wouldn’t have to put me in daycare while she worked here in the United States. 3-4 months of every year were spent alongside this amazing woman who taught me most of what I know today. My grandma [AKA Mamatita] was not only my best friend, but she was my life-guide as well and truly the closest person to me. There aren’t enough words to express the amount of love I have for her.
She was born in Guatemala in 1930 when most women barely had a voice. Mamatita was an entrepreneur and managed multiple businesses, a home, and six kids with constant class and grace. She handled it all with a positive attitude and thought there was a solution to everything. Circumstances and people didn’t change who she was; although her heart was so sensitive that emotional pain often made her physically sick. Most of her employees were men and never did I hear her use her gender as an excuse for not obtaining the respect she deserved. Mamatita did not use curse words or extreme volume when expressing herself, yet when she spoke, the entire room listened. Her presence in any room demanded an unspoken respect. She was firm yet soft and empathetic when speaking to others. She taught me that my opinions and feelings were valid and therefore, I had every right to express myself. That’s what she always did: she applauded and praised whenever necessary and scolded if she witnessed an injustice. If we traveled somewhere and there was a chance that kids would be in her presence, she would always make sure she had extra candy and dollar bills in her purse so she had something to give the young ones she’d come across. She taught me to never go anywhere empty-handed and always display generosity. When visiting others in their home, Mamatita would make sure to remind me that if I were offered food, to always say “yes, thank you” and not turn anything away. In her opinion, it was rude to be a picky eater and not be grateful at all times. That explains why today, my palate is broad and expansive.
My biggest fear in life was losing her, and recently on September 8, 2015, that fear became a reality.
On August 19th 2015, the day before the last WOWW event, I received news that would ultimately end up shattering my heart. My grandma’s health had taken a drastic turn for the worse and the woman I spoke to that day was no longer the strong, charismatic person I was familiar with. Her voice was fragile and her words were filled with departure. I remember not being able to say much because I was crying uncontrollably and my fear was that she would notice my sadness. The end was near and the last thing I wanted was for her to worry about my emotional stability.
It’s impossible for me to share all of the things Mamatita taught me because that may take an eternity. The lessons I learned from her will live with me forever and I know the world would be a better place if everyone had a Mamatita in their life, too. If I can one day be at least 10% of the woman she was, I will be one very happy girl. In the meantime, I’ll try to share her stories and insight while living a life she would be proud of. I always thanked her on a consistent basis for being in my life and teaching me the meaning of unconditional love. Without my Mamatita, I know I wouldn’t do or say many of the things I represent today.
The WOWW Campaign has been my passion since I began interviewing women in June of 2014. But since my grandma’s passing on September 8th, I’ve found it very difficult to do even the smallest of tasks. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to find my passion for life in general. I keep hearing this is all part of the mourning process and I’m waiting for the day that tears are no longer part of my daily routine. I ask for compassion and patience while I try to navigate these circumstances and return to my regular schedule of publishing posts and interviews. I know I’ll get there, it just may take more time than I’m willing to admit. Thank you to everyone that has reached out and showed me an abundance of love during this difficult time – it’s greatly appreciated and incredibly helpful!