I’m glad January is almost over. It kind of sucked.
My grandmother died. If I had been in Miami, I still would not have been at her side. She lived in Havana, Cuba. While she died at the ripe old age of 93ish, death came for her suddenly. She’d been unwell in that nonspecific and mysterious way elderly people often are. Then one day she was in the hospital. The next day she was dead. Communists and foreigners love to brag about Cuba’s excellent medical system, but it’s only excellent for wealthy tourists. But I digress.
I didn’t know my grandmother well. My family left Cuba in 1980 and I was two years old at the time. In 1991, my parents brought her to Miami for a visit, but she could not stay permanently. That was the last time we saw her, 22 years ago. Although I didn’t know her well, I still mourn. She is my father’s mother; was the last of my living grandparents; the last of a generation; my ancestor now. Many stories died with her and I loathe the Cuban government all the more for robbing me of a relationship with her. Worse, for robbing my father of time he could have spent with her, for being unable to be at her side during her illness and death, for not being able to attend her funeral, and grieve with his sisters, who are also still in Cuba.
My sadness over her death is augmented because I can’t be with my family in Miami during this time. This is one of the worst things about being so far away. It’s bad enough to miss the celebratory moments such as birthdays. It’s heart-wrenching not to be there during difficult times. I called my dad, but he didn’t want to talk, understandably. Had I been there, I’d hug him, cry with him, and sit quietly with him. Technologies like Skype and the magicJack are good, but not this good.
So that was last week. This week, I’ve had to say goodbye to my coven in Miami. As the pagan spring festival Imbolc approaches, my coven will be gathering to re-dedicate themselves to the group for another year. For the first time in seven years, I won’t be there. While the friendships will remain and I’ll visit with them when I return to Miami, it’s painful to part with my spiritual family.
That’s the last two weeks, but all of January, which began so promising, kinda sucked because the shadow of homesickness and insecurity have hovered over it. But it’s in these low moments that I also feel especially blessed. I wouldn’t be sad if I hadn’t experienced so much joy with my family and coven. And I find so much solace in Theo who always has a hug for me when I am sad, an extra blanket when I am cold, and an airplane vomit bag when I am sick (his shed is like Mary Poppins’ handbag). This weekend he drove me around town to various bicycle shops so I could find my perfect bike and I was reminded at how much he caters to my whims and is invested in my happiness. And I feel very blessed indeed.