THE CAREGIVER´S CHRONICLES: LOOKING BACK PART 3

We are moving forward in Yaya’s life. I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 and Part 2, because Part 3 is here. I have to say that this exercise of remembering her life is both easy and difficult for me. Easy because she is my mother and I have her life engraved in my soul, and difficult because it is about seeing a life that has passed, and not many people where even aware. Her life has had its ups and downs (more lows than highs, I see a pattern of inheritance here hahaha), but she has lived it with integrity, kindness, and has always given everything she had. She has always been generous with her time, her money, and her wisdom. Today we continue her story.

My parents on their wedding day in 1968

In 1966, more or less around that time, she met my father, a very handsome Cuban. Although he was born in Cuba, his father, my paternal grandfather, was from Cangas de Onís, Asturias. When my father turned 18, my grandparents sent him to Asturias with his aunts to escape the revolution in Cuba. When he met my mother, he was four years younger than her and he charmed her from the very beginning.

 

My mother with her sister and parents

I think my mother was always very much in love with my father, and I think he was too at the beginning. My father was an immigrant and my maternal grandparents adopted him as a son, welcoming him and helping him in every way. My father still speaks of my grandfather with very good memories, saying that he was one of the kindest and most generous people he has ever known. The thing is, they got married in January 1968 (I was born in October of that year, I think I was conceived on their wedding day hahaha). My brother was born the following year. It was a very intimate and beautiful wedding, but I don’t have much information because my mother didn’t talk to me much about it (I don’t know why).

My paternal grandfather, my father, 
my paternal grandmother
 with my brother in her arms and
me in the arms of my maternal grandmother.

When I was born, we lived with my grandparents in Madrid, but when I was about 2 years old, we moved to Torremolinos. I can’t tell you much because I don’t remember anything, hahaha, but we lived in a housing development facing the sea and my memories of that time were very good, although not so much for my mother. She was 29 when she got married and my father 25. At that time, a 25-year-old, handsome Cuban guy attracted attention, and my father liked to go out at night with his friends. Back then, women were mainly housewives and unless their husband let them go out or they went out with them, they went out very little.

In Torremolinos

Fortunately, my mother made good friends at that time and she had a good time with them and with us. We lived there for about 5 years and then we moved to Valencia, where we stayed for 2 years. From what my mother told me, it was more of the same: she with the children and my father partying hahaha, the typical thing of those times, I suppose, right? What do I know, that’s what I remember.

Torremolinos

We returned to Madrid, where we lived for another 2 years, again with my maternal grandparents, until my paternal grandparents left Cuba and went to the USA (my grandfather didn’t want to return to Spain) and advised my father to move the four of us there, as we would have more opportunities than in Spain.

 

Torremolinos

The thing is, we had the move already prepared and the plane tickets ready, when my maternal grandfather died. For me, it was the first death I experienced and not only that, but it was from one of the people I loved the most in the world. I still miss him. Imagine that not even a week passed and we moved to New Jersey, USA. I think my mother’s heart broke. She left her grieving mother, her only sister, and all her friends to embark on a journey to an unknown country, with no money, without speaking the language, and without the support of her family. I still remember seeing my mother cry and cry.

No idea, but I love the photo on the left,
 look how blonde we both were. 
In the photo on the right with my aunt, 
my mother's sister, my brother and 
my cousin.

I remember as if it were yesterday arriving at the airport in New Jersey in July 1977. Some friends of my grandparents picked us up and took us to their house. For my mother, this time I think was one of the saddest in her life. We’re talking about 1977, not like now when you can send a message via WhatsApp, an email, or even talk by video conference every day. In order to communicate with her parents and her sister, she would have to write letters that took an eternity to arrive, and making a phone call was a luxury that we could not afford at that time.

And ladies and gentlemen, that’s the end of Part 3. II need to stop it here or I will ramble on and we’ll end up where we are now. In the next installment, I will tell you about her adventures in the USA and why she returned to Spain again. I hope you are enjoying these little memories of Yaya’s life, so you can see her in a different light and not just as the elderly woman with Alzheimer’s from TikTok. See you in the next one

@nuricocome PARTE 3 de la vida de la #yaya espero que os guste. Más en https://nuricoco.com/cronicas-del-cuidador-mirando-hacia-atras-parte-3/ #cuidadora #demencia #alzheimers #historiasdevida #CapCut ♬ original sound – Nuricoco