Our hearts continue to go out to our compadres in Guatemala. Humberto's mother, "Abuelita" (little grandmother) to the kids, passed away Sunday at the age of 75. She is the matriarch of the alley on which the whole family lives.
When we first met her, Humberto warned us that, having lived through the terrible Guatemalan civil war in the '80's and '90's, when Mayans were persecuted and even massacred, she was wary of outsiders. He meant this in case we perceived her as unfriendly to us in some way, because we are foreigners. But the truth is that she never did. She was always very polite to us. We weren't able to communicate much with her in words, because of our poor Spanish. But she soon saw how much we loved her grandchildren, and that was what mattered to her. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and we feel that she accepted us as members of the family.
Family Visit to La Aurora Zoo
We shared some fun times with her over the past 5 years: baptism parties for Aracely and then Eddy, Vanesa's quinceañera, a trip to the zoo in Guatemala City, a New Year's Eve Party, and a joint birthday party for Yasmin and Paola. We also went to the family's farmland in San Gabriel (outside of Panajachel), where she had grown corn and coffee since Humberto was a child. She harvested enough corn to supply her and her chickens through a year, and they would sell the coffee that they grew.
Abuelita and Eddy at Eddy's christening
Most recently, we had gone on a family picnic at a gorgeous lakeside villa.Toward the end of the day, she was sitting in a chair on the green lawn overlooking the gorgeous Lake Atitlan and its surrounding volcanoes. She looked totally at peace. This is how we will remember her.
Abuelita relaxing at Lake Atitlan
It is sad that she had to experience the loss of her great-grandson David in the weeks leading up to her death. She had been in declining health for the past year or two, and maybe she decided it was time for her to go as well, to continue to look after David.