Gratitude and Latino Grief

It is 2:30 pm. Out the window there are no clouds and the sun is stark, but it is too cold for the snow to melt. I stare. I type.


Today, up to now:

6:10 am – My granddaughter climbed into my bed fully dressed, having set out her clothes the night before – a pink t-shirt of a street scene in Paris with a sparkly Eiffel Tower and black velvet jeans.

6:25 am – I invented the game “Do you know this long word?” to stall getting out of bed to make oatmeal.

6:35 am – She learned the word “gratitude.” We practiced using the word “gratitude.”

7:30 am – I texted her parents that she needed to go to the doctor. Her cough was settling into her lungs and I was free to take her.

8:00 am – We ate oatmeal with maple syrup in front of a fire in the fireplace. She watched Monster Math on the iPad.

9:45 am – At the doctor’s she was prescribed both an antibiotic and to use a nebulizer for a few days.

11:35 am – I dropped her off to her mother, who is working from home on this snow day.

12:00 pm – I arrived back home. A wonderful woman from Honduras was cleaning my home. She has been very ill and I told her not to come until she was well, but she preferred to come on the bus through the snow because if she stayed home she would only cry.

12:05 pm – She said in minimal English that it has been a bad week for her family.

a) A cousin was killed in Honduras just over a week ago in a political dispute, or fight of some kind. I couldn’t understand what happened or if the death was by gun or machete.

b) Another cousin was killed there two days later. His motorcycle was stolen. A gun.

 c) She got horribly ill the same day the second cousin was killed – and she had been picked up only a few days earlier for driving alone on a learner’s permit. She owes $425 in fines and has to appear in court.

d) Her brother in Minnesota, who was unemployed, tried to kill himself the next day. He has had several operations and remains in the hospital. It was a knife.

e) She feels she must now take care of her sitter-in-law and young niece and nephew in Honduras. She said she cannot tell her mother. She cried, but gently.

12:50 pm – We agreed it was “crazy.” I told her she should just go home. She insisted on staying. She continued cleaning my house.

12:55 pm – I ate lunch.

1:15 pm – I started repeating “gratitude” inside my head. It had a stunned ring to it.

1:45 pm – She ate chicken enchiladas she made. She brought extra for my dog.

6:30 pm – My five-year-old granddaughter will arrive with her seven-year-old brother to stay the night. We will probably play Scrabble. We will review the word “gratitude.” In the morning I will make oatmeal.

4 thoughts on “Gratitude and Latino Grief

  1. Chop Wood. Carry Water. Be grateful

    Thank you Patricia for reminding me/us. May we always remember plentititude when we so often carelessly forget to embrace it.


  2. Hard to make sense of it all, two people living totally different lives yet connected. I wonder what either of you think and feel about this connection?

    I attended the sentencing hearing of Rasmea Odeh in Detroit this morning and I ended up crying for her while listening to the Judge who seemed to be devoid of empathy. I got up toward the end of his “covering his a..” speech about Rasmea lying on the immigration papers, etc. just couldn’t take the hypocrisy any longer. My friend, Kate, already had left because she was afraid she might jump up right in the middle of the Judge’s speech and say “What the f…?” I felt such shame for the US Justice System when the Judge and the Prosecutor labeled Rasmea as a “terrorist,” the judge saying it was 45 years ago while the Prosecutor said she was still associating with terrorists. Rasmea’s lawyers are appealing and she is free until then. The Judge took away her citizenship today but in my mind and heart she is a better citizen of the US than both the Judge and the Prosecutor. She knows what justice means, not the letter of the law but the spirit.

    • Oh, dear Mares, what a terrible thing when cruel people have power over others. It can be hard not to despair. So much harm is done. Justice is often left beaten along the side of the road. . . . But it does get up again by the work and care of people like you.

      You asked what O, who comes to my home each week, might feel of our connection. She has immense fortitude and a huge heart. Her first husband was killed by machete by rebels about 15 years ago, leaving her with five young children. She got some kind of job in a hospital, cleaning I suppose, and took care of those children. Now all but one of them are here and employed. She is possessive about caring for my home and me. She takes pride in it. She seems genuinely fond of me and I am fond of her and amazed by her heart and strength. Nothing about it is fair, but we care for each other.

      • I wonder how our lives would have been different, Emelia’s and mine, had we not been togethr for twenty plus years? She may have been my emplyee, but I suspect in reality she was my boss. Odd sisters from dffierent cutures. She took care of me, mothered me in a way I needed. I helped her daughter get into college and develop a remarkable career. Our lives were different, I’m not at all sure, mine was truly the better one.

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