Abuelito, Can You Hear Me?

Abuelito & Baby Me

Abuelito means “grandfather” in Spanish. Since my abuelito was from Mexico and only spoke Spanish all his life, it only makes sense to refer to him in the only way I ever did. I cannot think of my childhood without thinking of him and how he shaped my meaning of love.

As a child, I was not lucky enough to have my abuelito live near us since he lived in Mexico and we lived in L.A., but I was lucky enough to have him visit us almost every year. I remember getting excited to pick him up at LAX! We would anxiously wait in Bradley Terminal for his bright cauliflower head to appear among the crowd. Inevitably, he was always wearing a three-piece suit because who doesn’t travel without one? Immediately, I would shower him with hugs. I especially loved rubbing his Santa Claus-like belly, like in this picture below!

Abuelito & Teenager Me (Plus my sister)

Abuelito & Teenager Me (Plus my sister)

My abuelito loved visiting us because he loved his family, but he also tremendously enjoyed traveling. He would talk endlessly about the places he had visited and the places he hoped to visit one day. His face would light up as he described the great wall of China or the beauty of the Australian country-side. Traveling was his passion and it soon became mine. I credit him with my love of travel. I can still hear my abuelito sharing his stories with so much gusto from his lips! My sweetest memories of love are filled with hugs from him.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my abuelito passed away a month before I was to study abroad in London. He always told me that the only continent he hadn’t visited was Europe.  I like to think of it as a symbolic gesture that he was passing the “traveling torch’ to his granddaughter. I wasn’t able to go to Mexico before his passing, so I never gave him one last hug….one last “Te quiero mucho.” (I love you a lot)

This week, a strange thing happened. I was taking a shower and I noticed there was a new bar soap Mr. ShuGar had never used before. I took a sniff and I was flooded by memories of my abuelito. It’s like the memories blanketed my entire being and, with it, tears flowing down my face. I couldn’t believe that one scent could have so much power.

After I got out of the shower, I contemplated why I got so emotional. I then realized that my abuelito’s birthday was just a few days ago and I forgot about it. Life is busy these days. What are the chances that the first year I forgot my abuelito’s birthday, Mr. ShuGar uses the same bar soap that my abuelito used in Mexico all his life?  Probably slim, but I’m glad Mr. ShuGar bought that soap.

After a death, love doesn’t become past tense. It remains present and multiples. You yearn and miss that person and, sometimes, they may slip your mind but they never escape your heart.

Abuelito, if you can hear me I want you to know that I miss you so much. Thank you for sharing your love. Please know, te quiero mucho.

  • 56elephant

    So beautiful Carmen…thanks for sharing xo

    • Thanks so very much! I appreciate it beyond words =)

  • Timmy

    Oh this blog truly made me cry!!! I miss abuelito so much, especially around his birthday. I was totally thinking about him as you posted this blog. I so wish he was still with us. We all miss everything him and everything he meant this us. The only comfort is knowing that he is in the most peaceful kingdom, watching over us.

    • Yeah, I get emotional every time I think of him. Things are not the same without him, but at least his memory will always live with us. Like I said, our love for him will always keep us connected, even if he is in another peaceful place. Thank you for reading!

  • Kate M

    Love this Carmen. It is so hard when we loose someone we love, but we don`t stop loving them and we keep them alive with all the beautiful memories we have x

    • I agree, sweet Kate. They live within us and we will always cherish them. This love is endless. Thank you for understanding.

  • Ignacio Garcia

    While reading your blog postings, I was taken back to the time when you and your sister were young and as a family we enjoyed the simple moments that life offers. Those moments, however fleeting, are the ones that define what we are today and I am glad that as your father I was able to give you memories that carry you through life. Truly enjoyed reading your blogs. Daddy.