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It was Christmas break of ’06. My family on my mom’s side was having a difficult time, as usual. We didn’t have a house so we were staying at anyone’s and everyone’s. We were still broke and on top of that my (great) grandma Perf was dying. I didn’t think too much of it at first because my grandma would always get sick or hurt but she would always beat it. Always. She was a Christian. And not one of those hypocritical or judgmental ones but a real a Christian. She never judged anyone inside or out. Whenever I looked into her eyes I saw a little bit of heaven. I saw a little bit of God’s love. I thought she would live forever. But I knew better.
The first week of Christmas break went by in a haze, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. My mom and her husband, Derik, found a house they could afford and starting moving us in. Let me remind you it was Christmas and I had two younger twin brothers. So not only were we moving in our normal things but we were bringing in presents as well. Even though my mom and Derik were broke, all the time, the loved spending money. So at Christmas they would buy as much as they could get, for the boys.
It was Wednesday, we were almost all the way moved in. And Christmas was three days away. Now I never liked the holidays, I hate them to be exact. Not for any particular reason or anything like that, they just bother me. But this time I was scared. I didn’t know why. But I kept thinking I was going to die. I was going to get hurt. I wasn’t safe. And on this particular day I felt nauseas. And not that normal nausea you get when you’re sick. But that feeling in your stomach telling you something bad is going to happen. Telling you this is a bad idea. Telling you to run away and never look back. At first I just thought I was being paranoid as usual. But just then my mom’s cell phone rang. It was my Jesse, telling my mom we’ve just been robbed.
I don’t care about the holidays and I could care less about the presents. But the boys were five, they believed in Santa, and they were finally old enough to enjoy it and the presents. So I was sad, for them. And because my mom and Derik are so materialistic, it killed them. But I still felt a presence. Like someone was right there next to me waiting for me to fall so they could kick me while I was down. I couldn’t think of anything worse than getting robbed three days before Christmas.
Then as I woke up the next day I thought of something worse. What if my grandma Perf died? And just as I rose from the floor I saw my mom and other family members crying. My heart, that was never whole to begin with, dissolved as my mom let out the worse words I could ever hear in my life. “She died last night. I was sitting with her, singing her favorite song to her while she took her last breath.
Now a lot of people have died in my life but I never cared. I never shed tear for them. I would just tell my family to get over it, people die every day, it’s inevitable. I think to myself don’t cry over someone’s death because chances are they’re in a better, happier place than when they were alive and suffering.
However, as I heard my mom, “She died…” I lost it. I cried until January. I didn’t blame God though. She wanted to be with Him. But I did start asking myself why? Why did she leave me all alone? Why did she leave me with these people? Why didn’t she take me with her? Why did she do this to me now? Why couldn’t she have stood alive for a few more years? Why did she leave me with these people?
She wanted to be buried in Marquez, her hometown. She wanted to be with God. So my family picked out the most beautiful casket I’ve ever seen. It was this gloss dark green, it had words in gold on it that said, “Going home,” in fancy writing. The inside was white with doves and pictures my family put inside. I looked at her face, she was smiling. I’ve never seen anyone dead so happy. I knew she must be with God with that giant smile on her face.
My great grandma Perfilia Hermana Valdez died on December 23, 2006 at four o’ clock in the morning. My grandma Perf went to meet the Lord that day. My grandma Perf taught me a lesson that day. Don’t be a good person because you’re told to or because you’re scared of Hell. Be a good person because you want to be. My grandma Perf taught me to expect the unexpected and never forget God. She would tell me it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe just always remember that someone up there is always watching over you.
I grew up alone, without parents. I raised myself, I raised my younger brothers. I taught myself about the “real world.” I put my education and little brothers over everything else. Over childhood. But if it weren’t for my grandma Perf I would never believe in God. I would never know or care about right and wrong, good and bad. If it weren’t for my grandma Perf I would have lost all hope, of anything, a long time ago…
Someone up there is always watching over you.