#52WeeksOfChingonaLife #52EssaysNextWave2019 27/52
We buried our beloved Ita yesterday.
It was a very difficult day. It is beyond devastating to lose a mother, as it was when we lost Mama. However bad as that experience was, it was all the more bearable because we had Ita to hold onto. And hold on we did. Isn’t is a trip that, as old as we are, that we are afraid of being left all alone, without an adult at home? This hit me hard during her Mass, I cried and cried into kleenex after kleenex asking God to take care of us both – Ita so that she wouldn’t be afraid, and me, so that I wouldn’t fall apart without her.
Life today feels different. My two mothers are now reunited and we are left here a little lost. Who is going to answer those ‘Mom’ questions? Who is going to comfort us when the cold world hits us hard? Who is going to provide that special, unconditional, love that only a mother can?
It’s amazing how much power this tiny woman had. Ita was the last surviving sister of our Grijalva family, the last link to our parents, the one who knew them before we all existed. In my case, Ita had been with me for my entire life. I remember how I would cry whenever she left us at the Ranch to stay with my cousins in Yuba City, I felt close to her always. To be able to have the gift of having a parent around us at all times was priceless — we never were alone -ever. Maybe that’s why we #Torres5 are united in our love for OUR #TorresBabies and all we want is for them to be safe and happy.
Ita was that aunt, the one who never married or had children, the one who gave us all of her love, and there are so many of us cousins whom she cared for, generations of cousins. She and I always seemed to relate to each other being that I’m not married nor do I have any kids. The big difference between she and I was that, for many years, I chose career over family, it never really mattered to me whether I had a husband or children, I was happy with my family and being Aunty or Nina Carmen. Ita was family-first, always. When later in her life, Ita had her own room, her apartment I used to call it, I’d joke with her about how she was getting like me, where she always loved having and needing “her space“.
As I mentioned during her service, I wondered how on earth I could repay Aunty Cathy for everything she did for me, for taking care of me, for being there for me. The only thing that I could think of was to be the “Ita” for our #TorresBabies, to help them grow up with that confidence that someone is always watching out for them and has their back.
This will be easy to do. I had a great teacher as I watched Ita do this my entire life. This is the best way that I can honor Catherine Juanita Grijalva.
Rest in peace my sweet Ita, I will never forget you.
Some of Aunty Cathy’s “children” and family at her Rosary.