Nathalie Rios

Memories: Fall and Rise

“Hold me! Hold me! I don’t want to fall… Hold me!”- she said, while holding my jeans jacket. The painkillers made her confused. I didn’t understand what happened exactly, but she felt scared. After that, she closed her eyes and fell in a deep dream on the gurney at the I.C.U room at Trinitas Hospital, Elizabeth, NJ.

She is Ligia Mercedes Fajardo, my grandmother, my heroine, my friend and my “nana”, a single mother of three kids when it was difficult to be that as a woman in a traditional life style.  She migrated with my small family to the USA on July 4, 2016. We had a small party to celebrate our new life, because all my family was all together in the same country after about twenty years. My father, my aunts, my cousins, my sister, my mother and I enjoyed the summer as a happy family.

However, when the leaves began to fall in autumn, my grandmother felt strange, more than feeling bad, she felt sick. What had happened? Depression? Nostalgia? Old age?  Often, I spoke with the doctor, because I know more English than my other relatives, although I just moved to America and I didn’t speak fluently. But I learned some words, -heart attack-, -stroke-, sodium, cancer, painful, pill, hospice, terminal patients.

She slept for one week, she never answered, but I spoke with her in her dreams, I held her arm, her finger and I prayed on my knees next to the gurney. She passed away on 2 October 2016, the same day as Colombia lost the peace referendum. With her died one piece of my life, my days with her, my memories, her voice, my favorite place, and home food. With her, passed away my vision of my country, because I will go back to Cali, Colombia but it will never be the same there.

Now, I am here, digging up my memories and trying to remember her laugh. I am also building a new life as an immigrant, as a journalist, as a dreamer, as a granddaughter.

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