My grandmother, Momo as I called her, loved hats! . . . going out hats, church hats and everyday hats! Getting dressed up brought her joy and she always topped off her outfits with a matching hat which made her look and feel beautiful. Of course not all the hats she wore were brimmed with a bow, like a lot of us; she wore many hats as a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and sister. Throughout her life it was these hats that made her a cherished part of our family.
As age crept upon my grandparents, my parents decided to buy a home so my grandparents could move in with us. I was a junior in high school and having grandparents who I didn’t know very well (I spent more time with my maternal grandmother) was quite an adjustment. Our family did adjust though and the move made me appreciate their roles in my life even more. Both were kind and giving, there wasn’t anything they wouldn’t do for others. Momo often visited friends and family while they were ill or just needed someone to be there for them. Popo (my grandfather) became attached to our dog, Scottie, and would take care of him while my parents were at work and I was at school.
As the years passed I watched the hat of caregiver slip from Momo’s head to that of my parents'. The past few years Momo’s health began to deteriorate and my parents worked tirelessly to make sure she was taken care of. Not only did my parents wear the hat of caregiver, but we all did for Momo. She needed someone to make her meals and sit with her during dinner to make sure she took her pills or feed her on the days couldn’t find the strength. My daughter, Isabel, the sweet soul she is, would pick up the spoon and carefully feed her great-grandmother; showing her the same kindness that Momo showed others throughout her life.
This Christmas Eve at the age of 98; Momo passed from this world to the next. For our family Christmas Eve is the most special day of the year. All of my dad’s family gets together, eats traditional Mexican dishes and exchanges gifts. When I was a kid . . . . while we were all enjoying our tacos and enchiladas the door bell would ring and I would rush to the door to find gifts from Santa on the front step! So as sad as it was to watch Momo slip away, it was bittersweet knowing she was surrounded by all the people who loved her as everyone was there. We all had an opportunity to say good-bye which was a tribute to a wonderful woman who was giving and kind throughout her life.
The next morning I smiled to myself thinking about the party in heaven she was being welcomed into Christmas Day! Just knowing she was being reunited with her husband and dancing with him again made my sadness of her loss ease a bit. And I have no doubt she was wearing a fantastic hat!
After her passing my dad asked Isabel to pick out one of Momo’s hats to keep for herself. And it was in Momo’s spirit that Isabel got all dressed up, topped off with her new hat and sitting in Momo’s chair had her own photoshoot. I believe Momo would absolutely approve! While we miss her we are comforted that she is now free to dance in heaven and enjoy the treasures she worked hard for. Isabel still has dreams of her and I tell her she is lucky to still get to see Momo in her dreams and to tell her I said hello.