Her name was Matilde, or Mati, most people called her Tilly or Mati.
I called her grandma.
3 years ago today she passed away from a really scary form of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). Losing her was the hardest thing I’ve probably dealt with. She was the grandma I was closest to, not that I don’t love my other grandma a ton because I do, but my grandma Figueroa and I were very alike and we got along really well.
I remember she and my grandpa would take me for drives along the river, we went to Rio Vista once and ate at this restaurant with a bunch of dead animal heads on the wall, I was little so it was really cool. They took me everywhere and I loved staying with them. Every sunday for some time she would make menudo and we would come over, my aunts, my family, and we would all sit and eat and bullshit and just enjoy a lazy sunday with my grandpas music blaring in the background. She was stern but had a real heart of gold, and could drink her ass off and party like a rockstar. One of my favorite memories of her is from a tamale day way back when I was in my preteen days and her and my aunt Victoria (her sister, who passed away later that year from another odd cancer) got drunk and were dancing like young girls in the front room, it was hilarious and something I’ll always remember them for- having a “fkin good” time.
Seeing my grandma in her final days was one of the hardest things I’ve witnessed and I really don’t talk about it much, none of us do because it hurts too much. I still get emotional talking about her and that time, and only recently I’ve been able to think of her and not cry immediately. I took this picture just days before she passed away. I don’t really know why I did it, or why I even thought to take it. Maybe I just wanted a memento, not of her dying, but of her life, of her peace. I wanted a piece of her to keep with me. This picture breaks my heart every time I see it, but its so… moving for all of us related to her because we were there. My family camped out in the hospital for a solid month being there with her, trying to keep each other strong and keep my grandma lucid. I did it for them I guess. This is the most personal picture I’ve ever taken and its a lot to share it with you all here.
I miss her.
Rest in peace grandma. One day there will be a cure.