My Middle Name

As is tradition in many cultures, the middle name of a child is often derived from that of an elder in the family. I am no exception. My middle name was in fact the first name of my grandmother. 

Note I use the past tense for my grandmother. 

She was the mother of my mother and she passed at the young age of 55. I never knew her. 

Now, given the fact that I have no memory of my grandmother, it may seem odd to write a post about her. I don't know her demeanour, I never experienced her kindness, nor did I ever cross words with her. 

But I like to imagine that I do. 

My mother to this day remembers her with tears in her eyes. Whenever she speaks of her, I can see her deep brown eyes glimmer at the rim and fade into a life 30 years ago where I did not exist, and she was still a daughter. 

I love my grandmother. 

When I see photos of her the black and white cannot hide her stern eyes, her worn hands or her soft smile. It cannot fade away the strength of her heart, the courage of her soul nor the weakness of her shoulders. My grandmother stands before me, immortalised in film; I wonder if she knew I would be gazing upon her? 

I hear stories about her almost daily. How she worked every day since she was 12, how she fought for her 6 children and stood by them when the nights were too long. I know of her bravery in the face of war and her sense of humour when the pantry was empty. I know that she taught her children well; to always iron their clothes (the few that they had.) To always clear their plates and respect all things. Just because they were poor people, didn't mean they were poor people. 

My grandmother is everything I imagine a woman to be. 

She was intelligent without an education by 5. She was fearless when orphaned at 9. She was determined as a cleaner at 12. She was resilient as a mother at 15. She was brave as an oppressed civilian at 20. She was courageous as a runaway at 30. She was humorous as a friend at 37. She was hopeful as a patient at 50. She is still beautiful. 

I like to think she is proud of her daughter for all she has done with her life. I hope to one day make my two predecessors proud, because without them no part of my existence would be possible. 

For the record, my middle is: Aracely.