Adios to my Grandmother, A Guam Goddess Come Full Circle
RIP-Julia Gamboa Chargualaf (Lang) 1/14/15 ~ 5/4/11
My paternal grandmother, Julia passed away. She was 96. It’s been two hours since I heard the news. I haven’t processed all my feelings yet. I am distressed that Guam is so far away. 6, 175 miles from Southern California to be approximate. Or as my son has realized, "It takes 3 jets to get there!" The mourning process is so part of our culture, nine days of rosaries, viewing, mass and burial, followed by more rosaries—all in head to toe black garb in 87 degree heat. If we’re lucky, balmy ocean breezes will soothe us, but never take away our sense of loss. The heat is a reminder that we are alive.
I’ve always said I would be at my grandmother’s funeral, no matter what. But, now my “no matter what” involves a son in school, my toddler, a Navy husband and a budget that is recovering slowly from another Guam funeral just four months prior.
My grandma outlived three of her children. She lived 41 years longer than my own father. I see my grandmother’s wisdom and gusto in myself and in my children. I know I can be sensitive and soft-hearted because of our shared DNA. My grandmother’s only request for her 95th birthday was to ride around the village of Asan in a golf cart as pictured above, center. Yes, this sort of stuff makes headlines on Guam and I love it.
I’ve seen my grandmother strong, and I know she was lonely too. Much of my life on Guam centered around her--on paying her respect, on honoring her station in life. So, whether these next two weeks has me shuttling back to Guam or not. I mourn for my grandmother and I am humbled and thankful to be a part of her lineage.
Adios, Nana. Bear hug my dad, Uncle Eloy and Auntie Chilang for me.