17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To Maria

I remember last summer Grandma Maria invited me over to dinner. It seemed very important to her that I was there with my entire family. I am a busy lady, and I wasn't totally excited about going, but I committed to go. The day arrived and I had a voice inside tell me to dress up, and to bring flowers. I am allergic to flowers, I never give them as a gift, but I knew that this event was very important to Maria, and so I dressed up, did my hair and makeup after a long day, and stopped by the florist on my way over.

Her humble and clean apartment was filled with friends. She had made a dinner that was like that of Thanksgiving. Food galore. We sat, talked and feasted together as Grandma Maria's circle of friends. She beamed the entire time as she served us. It was the last supper.

Around a year ago this month Grandma Maria left us. Her dear friend and our RS president had been staying very close to her because her health was declining from the return of her cancer. She was checking up on her every day. One night she called me a bit frantic because she hadn't heard from Maria. My husband was sure she had gone to see friends in NJ, so she let it go. The next night we got the same phone call, only this time our RS Prez had insisted to be let into Maria's apt, by the landlord, and she discovered Maria, laying on her couch, stricken by her disease.

My husband rushed over and made the arrangements for her funeral and stayed with her. All I could do was make phone calls. I called everyone I could think of to tell them that we had lost our beloved Grandma Maria. I called her next of kin, because that is what we were. She had no children, no grandchildren, we were them. I couldn't cry that night. In fact, I turned on the tv very loudly, and did not watch it. I didn't even get to go to the funeral because I had made previous travel arrangements that could not be changed.

But this is what I remember: I remember her smile, with the one tooth that had the gold backing on it. I remember her small frame. I remember how she always dressed, and often had a scarf. I remember her warm voice and latina accent. I remember her firm hugs and kisses. I remember her love of everyone around her. I remember her loving my children. I remember my children loving her. I remember her open heart. I remember her cane and her glasses. I remember the picture of herself on her coffee table, standing so tall and beautiful. But most of all I remember how soft her hands were, and the warmth and the grasp and the touch and the feel of them.

To Grandma Maria...we love you.


  • I'm glad you loved her.
    posted by Blogger Stephen at 8/15/2006 07:01:00 PM  

  • Thanks for posting about Maria, Kage! She was so loving, so generous, so spunky and cheerful. She is a beautiful soul and I hope we'll all see her again in the next world.

    She was so loving that she took two whole weeks out of her life to come to CA and help with my newborn in early 2005. She was all about service to others. Even when my PPD brought out my crankiness, she forgave me and kept on smiling, singing and serving.

    I miss her and hope to live up to her great level of love for others.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 8/16/2006 10:46:00 AM  

  • I love how she hugged me every time I saw her and smiled and said, "My children," with a genuine sense of satisfaction--like we meant the world to her and she was proud of us. She was an incredible mother to all of us.
    posted by Blogger sunny at 8/16/2006 02:25:00 PM  

  • It's hard for me to respond to this (and beautifully written, Kage) because I loved Maria so much and still think about her nearly every day. She proudly called herself DS's "third Grandma" and spoiled him as such. We considered her a part of our family, and Sunny is right, we were each her children.

    She was sick for a long time and was a regular part of my prayers. I had a hard time for about 6 months after she passed away not asking Heavenly Father to watch over her so finally I gave up and asked Him to watch over her anyway even though she is no longer sick and in a better place.

    She was one of the finest people I ever had the pleasure of knowing and calling "family". I still miss her...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/16/2006 03:21:00 PM  

  • Great post, Kage. I was telling Jen last night how I couldn't believe it had been a year already. I remember having to conduct sacrament meeting the day of her funeral, and how difficult it was to do without breaking down.

    I also remember her calling me during my first week in the then-branch presidency to discuss something with me, and she opened by saying, "You're the first counselor, so I'm going to be your first complaint." Of course, it wasn't a complaint or a bother, but I always thought back to that conversation and smiled. She was a substantial part of the ward's soul, with a sense of humor to boot.

    I also share very similar memories as the rest of you -- her beautiful spirit, her generosity, how kind and loving she was to our children. I miss her and think of her often.
    posted by Anonymous E. Guzman at 8/17/2006 07:23:00 AM  

  • Maria invited Princess and I over for tea last year. She was so cute in the way she prepared everything from the herbal tea in her precious tea cups to the tiny sandwiches. Then we chatted while sitting on her plastic covered "grandma couches". I'm glad we have that memory to hold onto. Princess loved her because she knew she was truly loved by her.

    I still have her phone number programmed into my cell phone. I keep thinking it's time to delete it, but I sort of like seeing it there - "maria" - everytime I scroll through to call "mom & dad". It's nice to take a second to remember a woman who was truly a mother even though she had no biological children.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/17/2006 10:56:00 AM  

  • Carrie - "Tear"...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/17/2006 12:49:00 PM  

  • I too can't believe it's been a year. I remember lunches on sunday afternoon. Patrick dosing on that plastic "grandma couch" while we looked through pictures of sketches she had done in her art class years prior. I remember her buying my son socks because I could never remember to put them on him. I remember her telling ronin as a small baby "come and live with me. I will be your mother" My parents met her once or twice and talked with her a bit, and even with that small amount of time knowing her, she made an impression. My dad still brings her up once in a while to comment on what a selfless, courageous saint she was. And how we can all strive to be more like our beloved Maria.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 8/17/2006 08:32:00 PM  

  • It's so funny because the other day I came across this small glass dish she gave me before I moved away. I'm so glad she gave it to me now, because there is always something in my home that will make me think of her.

    I used to do her laundry for her and then she would make me lunch. We would chat. She was really so full of stories. Once she insisted on DH coming over, too, and cooking for us both. It was so sweet. She put so much time & thought into it. It's hard to imagine the Astoria ward without her there. She was such a staple!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 8/18/2006 09:26:00 AM  

  • Oh my gosh, you have me in tears. What a sweet woman and friend she is. I miss her so much.



    Jen (aka Sister West!)
    posted by Blogger Emery and Jen Layton at 8/18/2006 12:58:00 PM  

  • What are the odds that I am at the EXACT same place that I was last year when I got the call from Carrie? I will never forget that call. I was taken aback by the amount of tears that came flooding in... while DH held me. Trying to explain to my friends and family here in Ut. who this woman was to us was difficult. Even harder was not being there for the services. I would have love to paid my respects!

    Come to find out, I was one of the last ones with her. She had called me and said she needed someone to do her laundry and I quickly opted. I had my DH pick it up and bring it to me and the next day, my DD and I walked over with her laundry and on the way picked up stuff to make for dinner and we too picked up some flowers.

    We ended up staying with her for almost 4 hours that night. And what a beautiful night it was! I insisted on every detail of her life story. It was one of the most fascinating I had ever heard. We ate chocolate donuts for desert. Yum! She let DD play with all her things in her glass cabinet. We gave eachother big hugs goodbye, as I was getting ready to head to Utah. I believe it was 3 days later, I got the call!

    I was soooo happy I spent that time with her. I recieved a lovely thank you card from her at my house while I was gone, she had obviously sent it the day after we left her house. I had the girl that was house sitting for us read it to me over the phone... I wept some more! What a special, amazing lady! She will never be forgotten by any of her "kids"!

    On another note about a month prior I had taught RS and the lesson was on being prepared for death... or something like that and I asked everyone "who here is ready"? Ready to go? She was the only one who raised her hand. It is so poignent now... and I would give anything to recall what her exact words were as she explained why she was ready... but it was amazing and gives me chills to think about it now!

    Thanks Kage for the post!
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 8/20/2006 09:07:00 PM  

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