A New York Summary: Part 2 of 10

My Grandmother, my earliest memory, my Mama.

When I was 6 months old I had been diagnosed with Asthma and my mother, being the single parent that she was, was unable to take care of me and work at the same time. My grandmother came to New York City and collected me. I rode my very first airplane, sitting on my grandmothers lap as we journeyed to the Dominican Republic where I would spend the next few years of my life.

I remember that airplane ride, sitting on her lap - playing with her plastic coffee cup once she was done with it, loosing it on the side of the seat, the side that met with the window - the body of the plane. I remember trying to convey that I had dropped the cup but of course I was a baby, who would ever have understood what my coos meant? 

During my trip to DR this past spring I realised that the earliest memory I had of my grandmother was not a memory of her at all. It was in fact Do帽a Glady (Week 1 Day ) who came to collect me, my grandmother staying behind in DR to look after my older brothers who had never left their town by this point, nor would they for another three years. When I heard the story from Do帽a Glady's mouth I felt cheated, though my story (my memory) was confirmed it was not of the person I thought it was. Although I showed gratitude for her help, in my mind my Grandmother, my Mama, was the one who travelled with me across the Atlantic - bringing me into her home, into the country I would never fully understand or assimilate to.

Growing up Mama spent 6 months out of the year in my home in New York. When she was there she was always on her way out, and when she wasn't there she was always on her way in. I remember her strong, willful and determined. She would walk from our house to that of my uncles 2 miles away up and down hills congested with Bronxites at every turn. She did this walk 4 times a week, and still managed to help my mother with the cooking, errands and raising of 4 boys. She raised both my older brothers from their birth until they were 14, partially raised me and my younger brother. But what made her the strongest person in the world was the fact that she was, is, the only person I know who could make my mother shut up. It may seem like a bad thing to say about ones own mother but it is the truth, once she gets going on a rant there is no stopping her. Mama however, just tells her to shut up and then walks away laughing... I loved it then, I love it now.

When I left for college in the summer of 2002 I left Mama strong. In my mind she would always be this way but 9 years on, time has taken a toll on her.

In the week before I left for DR, the week of transition in New York, Mama could barely walk let alone talk or eat. My mother had forced her to live in New York full time as she is too old to travel anymore, and unable to take care of herself in DR. She had a nurse come visit and stay in our house everyday, monitoring her health and generally taking care of whatever needed to be taken care of. My mother has stated that Mama was on her death bed for the last 2 years.

Seeing Mama like this was confusing. Where was the strong liberated woman I remember? 

During my time in DR Mama's health didn't get any better. And while I was sitting on the beach in Puerto Plata (Week 5 Day 7) I got the call, Mama had had a stroke. She survived it but I was told to pack my bags, change my flight, and go home. Home - such a weird concept at the time.

A couple of weeks later I arrived in New York just in time for Mother's Day. What no one was expecting, what no one thought was possible, was the fact that Mama was just as hard headed as she had always been. She refused to die in New York, that dastardly city - no she would only die in her Home, in her home of DR. She got up out of that bed, she walked to the kitchen, sat herself down and ate. She was stronger than ever and everyone who came on that day got to see her the way we all remembered her growing up.

Shortly after, she boarded a plane to DR and has been sitting in her rocking chair ever since. 

I don't know if I'll ever get to see Mama again but I am so incredibly grateful that the last time I did see her it was as I had always remembered her, the woman who came across an ocean to take care of me.
"Yo soy Fuerte"
A New York Summary: Part 2 of 10 A New York Summary: Part 2 of 10 Reviewed by Christ贸pher Abreu Rosario on 21:00 Rating: 5

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