I don’t often post anything in Repeating Islands of a personal nature, but today, as people mourn those who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I wanted to pay tribute to someone else who died on that sad day–my much-loved maternal grandmother, María Luisa Santiago.
She was 99 when the photograph above was taken–a few months before the huge family gathering that marked her 100th birthday. It is a favorite photo of mine since it includes four generations of my own family. She would die two months after her 102nd birthday. Born in 1899, it always delighted her to remind us that she had lived for three centuries.
I could say much about her struggles to raise the nine children who survived infancy, of her humor and resilience, of the attention to detail and perseverance I learned from her as she taught me to sew and embroider, of her determination that her children and grandchildren had access to the formal education to which she did not.
But I will celebrate instead her enormous capacity for love. She loved us all (and there were many of us). Of her abiding love for me I was always certain. And that was the most precious of gifts.
Rest in peace, Abuela Luisa.