Friday, March 27, 2015

Keep Dancing

*Please note before you read this that this post contains far more swearing than is normal for me. Just thought I'd let you know.*

This is rough.

Breathe, Charity.


Here we go.

Yesterday, 4am-ish Pacific Time, my Abuela left us to go Home.

Keep breathing.


Obviously, I'm undergoing all the standard emotions: sadness, frustration, then the second-hand anger. All of them. I'm not going to write much about what I'm feeling really because you can probably guess and that doesn't really seem to serve a purpose.

But I am going to write about her.

The thing about my Abuela was that she took whatever life handed her and she fucking dealt with it. She didn't mourn and she didn't complain. She got off her ass and she went to work and she handled things and she made people laugh and she kept on dancing.

That was the thing about her, she just kept dancing.

I could honestly write for decades about who she was and what our relationship was like. She was kind, she was loving, we were real with each other. But I have no doubt that most of the poetry and prose that I will pen in the years to come will have her tucked neatly between the pages someplace.

I wrote once about how most of the life lessons she taught me had to do with dancing in some way (my favorite being "life is too short to dance with ugly men"). And I really think that was significant. She was always telling me stories about how she loved to go dancing, she loved to wear high heels. When we were younger we would always click on the radio and tramp about the kitchen. I'm certain that's why kitchen dance parties make up such a crucial part of my existence. One time there was an earthquake and while my aunt did the sensible thing and dove under the table, sensible was not really a part of Abuela's DNA.

"I feel the earth move under my feet . . ." She sang the popular tune while spinning around the kitchen. That's just who she was. She was life. She was joy.

Like I said, I'm sad. No shit, right? But I also know that she would smack me in the face with a slipper if she knew that I was being sad and not learning and growing and rejoicing in her memory instead.

So I'm not going to wear black until I don't feel sad anymore. She was shades of colors the world isn't even ready to witness yet. I cannot dishonor her memory by mourning her. Oh no, she was not a mourner. She was a warrior and a celebrator. Her blood is in my veins. I am those things too.

The last gift she ever gave me was something of hers that I had always admired - a flamenco dancer doll. That doll fascinated me since I was a little girl. And a few Christmases ago, she sent it to me.

I think that's significant. That last token I have of her is a Spanish dancer in a red dress.

It'll probably be a while before I genuinely feel okay.

But if there's one thing that I learned from Abuela, it's that I need to keep dancing.

Life is sure one hell of a lot better when you do.


  1. Beautiful! I'm so sorry for your loss. She was a remarkable woman.

  2. I LOVE this, Charity.

    Here is an Abuela story-hug.

    When you were toddler, Mom found you pacing the floor saying "I am so angry, I am just so angry." When she asked what was wrong you replied, "Christian says Winnie the Pooh is his best friend. He is not, Winnie the Pooh is MY best friend."

    Mom loved telling stories about her fun, funny grandchildren.

    Love your writing, and I love you.


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