My Life Has Changed Forever

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It’s about time for an update as I haven’t published a blog post since October of last year. My life has changed drastically and I am still right in the thick of it. What started off as a series of unfortunate events led me straight into the most life altering of all…my Grandmother passed away.

Grandma Jessie

For anyone, a grandparent passing away is a tough thing to go through. However my Grandma Jessie wasn’t only my grandmother; she was like a second mother to my sisters and I. Grandma Jessie moved into our home when I was eight years old and prior to that we spent a significant amount of time being cared for at her home. She was an integral figure in our upbringings and well into our adult lives.

Going from Granddaughter to Caregiver

Grandma

When I was in college, I spent a few summers helping my Grandma out as she began to progress not only in age, but also in her dementia. It felt like a very natural and easy thing to do. I loved hanging out with my Grandma and she had spent so much of my life driving me around with her and caring for me. It only seemed right to do the same for her.

After graduating from College and completing my Cosmetology apprenticeship program, the opportunity arose where Grandma needed another full-time caregiver. In the past, this concept had felt like too much for me. Like I wasn’t qualified or I didn’t want to shift my relationship with my Grandma from granddaughter to home nurse. However, when this opportunity arose, I felt so heavily that God was leading me into this new season of life. I began working as my Grandmother’s caretaker Monday through Friday in November of 2015.

Being a Caregiver

Life Change

Grandma Jessie was 95 years old when I became her full-time caretaker. I didn’t really know what role I was stepping into, but I can confidently say I never imagined it would last until just before her 102nd birthday. In the seven years that I cared for her I served as her home nurse, her advocate, her hairstylist, her makeup artist, her manicurist, her stylist/personal shopper, her chauffeur, her personal trainer, and most importantly her granddaughter.

I took my job very seriously and wanted to enable my Grandma to do as much for herself as she possibly could. Up until her very last day she was able to walk with the help of a walker. She was the strongest, most hardworking, kindest person I knew. I learned so much from my Grandma just by watching and observing her throughout my life. I learned the importance of family, community, and what it looked like to live your life for Christ.

Grandma Jessie’s Impact

Beyond the morals and values Grandma Jessie instilled into my life, she taught me many practical things as well. Grandma always kept her home (and then ours) very neat and tidy. Not only did she sweep daily, do dishes, and laundry, but she was always dressed and ready: hair and makeup done. She would say, “you never know who is going to stop by” (as her home was always an open door for many family and friends). She taught me how to cook refried beans, sopita, spanish rice, and homemade tortillas. I hope to one day have a kitchen where these items are always present and available.

Around the time I got my drivers permit, my Grandma Jessie was beginning to consider turning in her driving days. It was convenient timing because I was able to get all my permit driving hours as she taught me to drive, and I was able to help her with all her errands.

She taught me what it looked like to get the most out of everything you have, and to not be wasteful. Anytime I found a hole or tear and wanted to throw away the item, she would carefully take the time to hand mend all my clothes. Watching her sew made me want to learn and it’s a skill I’m so thankful to have.

Growing up, my Grandma would always have conversations in Spanish with other people around me. She had the classic sayings and phrases we understood that she would use with us girls: hola, mija, linda, bonita, chiquita, ven aqui, andale, afueda, sientate, etc. However, we were not raised to speak or understand fluent Spanish. I remember as a young girl frequently asking my Grandma to teach me Spanish. She would take any spare minute she had, and she would sit with me at the table teaching me how to pronounce the Spanish vowels and practice reading Spanish childrens books. I’m still working towards that goal of one day being fluent like she was.

How My Life is Changing

I wanted to write this blog post to mark this moment in time. To process and organize the thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing during this time of grieving. I’ve always been able to be my most vulnerable, most authentic self through writing. My sweet and loving, dear Grandma Jessie has gone to be with our Lord Jesus and my life has changed forever. I am no longer a caretaker for my Grandma Jessie.

I’m not quite sure what God has in store for me next. It feels a little bit like how it felt when I graduated from College. There is a plethora of roads I can walk down and one thing I’m gonna do differently this time, is not rush it. One of the most unexpected things I’ve experienced since my Grandma has passed is a sense of peace about my life. I’m going to allow myself to take the time I need to grieve and lament over the loss of my loved one. I have full faith in God’s plan for my life and its left me with no need to worry.

Grandma Jessie was a woman of God. She loved her family, her kids, her grandkids, her great-grandkids and her great-great-grandkids. She touched the lives of so many people and her legacy will live on through us all. I love you Grandma.

xoxo Aly

Grandma and Me Get Ready With Me

I knew this video was special when I made it back in 2017, but I’m even more thankful for it now. This was actually the second time Grandma and I filmed this because I was completely new to filming videos. The first go had some technical difficulties but I might try to edit it together for memory’s sake. For now I’ll link the post here if you want to read it, and embed the video below. Enjoy!

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