Monday, January 30, 2006

adios welita

In loving memory of
August 7, 1918 - January 17, 2006

After the Christmas holiday, my beautiful welita got very sick. She passed away on January 17th, 2006. My welita was the strongest, bravest person I know. She bore her cross bravely and lived her life with great dignity and grace. My I loved my welis very much and I'll miss her forever. Below is the eulogy that my brother and I delivered at her services.

We love you grammy.

My abuelita sewed me payamas made with love from the fabric of a bag of California Classic arina.

She taught me to spread a perfect spoon full of maize on an hoja with skill and ease.

My abuelita taught me how to say things like ay que chimpiotes y que varvara.

When I was sick, she feed me little spoon fulls of vicks and tea de anis.

My abuelita filled my life with remedios y requerdos from a corazon filled with una historia that she whispered in secret truths. Truths that spoke profoundly in their subtlety.

I loved my abuelita, and my abuelita loved me.

Today those words of amor y requerdo rest quietly on the lips and in the hearts of an entire family who owe so much to one person.

We are generations; sons, daughters, children, great, greater, and greatest, that are part of one whole.

We share the inherent gifts of power and spirit willed to us by a woman who raised us all in her own image. Her strength, fortitude, and grace runs through our veins. It lives in our souls.

Today we honor our matriarch, Dora Balli Gonzalez.

Dora was a woman who lived her life by example. Poco a poco she would say, knowing that little by little was all you needed to brave life. She braved it everyday and she taught us to too. She was our teacher, her heart our school.

Our lessons learned were many.

To be a person of honor and dignity.

To respect yourself and, in turn, you too will be respected.

Always strive. Strive and be a leader.

Make a little go a long way.

Never wear short shorts y paynate muchacha!

Ay que Dora Balli.

Our abuelita taught us all that your life was what you made it. She showed us that the journey was the destination. She whispered words of strength that rooted themselves in our souls when we thought that one day was harder than the next.

Dora endeavored to share her life with others knowing that every moment that you spend together is far more momentous than any moment you spend alone. We were her witnesses.

And so we remember. We remember little things like the smell of her face powder. The way she applied her lipstick. “Where’s my purse?” She would ask.

Right here, Grammy, right here. Holding all the little touches of who she was.

We remember the feel of her cool soft arms, her warm sweet smell, the softness of the crook of her neck.

The soft touch of her crooked little fingers, her delicate hands, every line an etching and story of a moment in her life.

We remember the moments in time when we were all together, sharing and living and holding tight to the memories that we were creating as a whole.

On a warm spring day in Providence...

On a warm spring day in Philadelphia...

I graduated college.

And so did she.

As she watched over 20 of us graduate from high school, we secretly knew it was also for her. She holds multiple degrees in life. She’s traveled the world tucked in the heart of each and every one of us as we experience opportunity singularly granted in her name, blood, sweat and tears.

She witnessed births, unions, triumph and celebration. She held us when we cried, she picked us up when we would fall. She raised us and sent us out into the world, knowing that we could not falter if we held tight the whisperings of her heart. Every step on every journey that we thought we took alone, was with her.

Perhaps W.H. Auden said it best, because….

She was our north, our south, our east, our west.

Our working week, our Sunday rest.

She was our noon, our midnight, our talk, our song.

When we think of our abuelita, we know that she was the woman, who made us strong.

And so today your generations give you thanks Mom, Ama, Welita, Welis, Lita, Grammy....for molding us....for teaching us....for loving us, as we loved you.

Welita, you sewed us all payamas made with love from the fabric of a bag of arina.

You are were the thread reaching through us to the depths of our souls, our memorias y requerdos.

And through you, we too will find our way home.