Not long ago I read that prize-pony book by Junot Díaz and found myself feeling a whole heritage I don’t remember and couldn’t possibly, a language of life not my own and yet so infinitely recognizable that I’m using it now as a long way of saying you showed us what kindness and hope and affection and family could be. And determination. Stubborn, bull-headed, not-to-be-swayed determination. Not gloriously, not by any means, and not so much as conscious lessons as by being, reminding, almost—perhaps completely—unaware of the teaching to the point that I wonder if you even knew.
Well that, grandma, is our heritage, our language, and I read it in you as if from a book. I will do my part in keeping it alive, while you rest in our hearts, in peace. Never one for punctuality, I’m just glad my last letter made it in time. You always did enjoy my silly ramblings, simply because the handwriting was mine. I always loved how easy it was for any of us to make your day. We’ll miss you.
Betty. Ninety-four years ago in August to today in October.