Evenings at Grandma’s

Grandma’s house lovingly comes to mind now that the beginning of the spring/summer change is here.

The air is mild at sunset with a subtle breeze. The air and soon darkness of these evenings remind me of many memories I had at my Grandma Rosa’s house in Tucson, Arizona.

Family or friends who would visit, joined my Grandma who loved to sit in the front yard under her huge eucalyptus tree. Hours and hours of conversation over drinks of beer and laughter. I was too young to know what they were talking about since I would go off and play, because I knew this always meant I could be outside until possibly midnight.

Other times, Grandma would hose down her plants around the perimeter of her house, which wasn’t very big. The smell of wet dirt , even in my home backyard, reminds me of times with her during these desert nights. It’s a fragrance that stirs up home, safekeeping, peace.

I’m often thankful for memories that come with multiple senses. Now in my fifties, I choose to spend time in them, not letting them slip away so fast. Allows me to still feel the life of the moment and thank God for the remembrance.

A year has passed

A year has passed, Mom, and reflecting on the final days of your life, even if I didn’t want to, is happening without much effort. I say even if I don’t want to because I’ve already asked God for healing in this area of my grieving. But there is something to the timeline of a loved one’s final days that out of human nature, you can’t help, but reflect on. Much like holy week, which so happens to be the same timeline of Mom’s final days. In 2021, her rapid decline began during holy week.

There are many emotions and trials I went through during this first year. Going through all the grieving processes even as current as a month ago.

Conversations have continued with family and friends on all that took place during those final days. Signs, last things she said, etc. And in those conversations, my agony has been to repeat an area that was still very caught up in me.

It had to do with the anger I had towards the hospital and doctors. Also, my care and attention for Mom since she relied on me to help her. People often would say to me “but she’s with Our Lord”, “she’s in heaven”. And I would look at them a bit agitated because that piece of my heart knew that. None of these thoughts were taking away from that peace or fact that she died peacefully and is at rest.

It had to do with the loss of control I had to tend to her during her final days. I had no control.

Lent 2022 came presenting itself with what I knew needed greater participation on my part. Yes, of course, because of Easter, but also because of the suffering I still had with Mom’s passing.

One of the practices I tried to keep was adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament at my parish. Fr. John often asks us to go and would it be too much to be there for even 15 minutes to sit and be still. I’m an occasional visitor, but now I realize I need to visit more. Each time I went, the hour would fly by.

On this particular visit, I happened to be there by myself, which is unusual. There are always parishioners present. I quickly stopped paying attention to that and began my dumping out, which means I go through all the areas of my life starting with my husband to everyone who’s on my heart and pray to the Lord for them. Then after my rosary was said, my mind drifted to the issue about Mom’s final days and the distraught I still carried about not having control to comfort her or help her in the hours where we had to be away from her in the hospital. The thoughts of her being left alone, no one helping her to eat, go to restroom, praying with her, any thought of neglect. I sat there in front of the Blessed Sacrament with my eyes closed as I thought these things. Regretful, sorrowful. Then a voice came loud into my soul, like a charge sent to my mind that said, “Give it to Me!” Without a doubt, I knew that was Our Lord and no thought of mine creating that. I quickly said “Yes, Lord, please take it from me. I give it all to You!” I’m done. I no longer want that in my life so that I can turn my attention where it needs to be. I know you have her.

It’s now been two weeks since this happened.

I recognize that was the final area to letting go of Mom’s death.

This Lent, for me, has grown my soul in ways that I know I’ve grown deeper in relationship, but also recognize those areas of my soul that I still need to work on. Thank God for that! I’m a sinner who needs a Physician! It’s been a Lent where I feel God’s present carrying my husband and I, family, in so many areas including my niece’s recent diagnosis. Shaping us, gracing us, building us.

It’s Holy Week and the Church focuses on the Passion of Our Lord preceding Easter. It begins on Palm Sunday, as every parish in the Catholic Church, reads Luke 22 and 23 that describes pivotal moments in the final days of Jesus. We go through the motions of what took place from the Last Supper (Eucharist) to his final words “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” on the Cross.

When I recognized that Mom’s time was near, before she went into the hospital, I placed a mini white board in front of her bed so she could see it that had these same very words. I know in my heart she repeated them in her mind. This period of time will always bring so many beautiful sights, sounds, and even smells. In my personal life and my Church life. Mom’s final words, her room surrounded by flowers, family whom she loved, and Christ’s Presence.

Jesus on the Cross is all love. It represents a multitude of areas in our lives. Every time I reflect on His Passion, I find how it relates to my life. Prayer, dependency, trust, giving up self-will, peace, hope, promise of eternal life. Knowing my place on this earth and His place on the Throne.

Leticia Ochoa Adams

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