Looking for that connection to that ancestor...
I have always had a love and appreciation for History, I wanted to hear everything about the past, but like most of us that start in this journey I wanted to know more about that relative that should have been in my life but it just did not work out that way.
My paternal grandmother Faustina Maldonado de Jesus passed from complications of chronic asthma when my father was 10 years old and she was only 42 years old. He was taken away from my grandfather and he ended up in the care of a family friend along with 4 of his siblings, my Abuela Iris.
Since I can remember I watched as these siblings would get together and start speaking about the past with such passion and feeling that it always ended up with someone in tears and the topic was Abuela Faustina. I saw the pain in their eyes, my Dad would always speak of how kind she was and how good she cooked.
I still remember when I first started cooking and even though I watched my Mom my whole life making rice a certain way, I made it different and she looked at me with surprise and said “Your Dad told me that is how his mother made the rice”. Believe it or not, something that small made me feel a connection to her for the first time in my life and I realized how important that connection was to me.
I started my research and she was my first focus… then I found her Death Certificate. Wow, that first piece of document, I learned how long she had been hospitalized, I learned her parents' names and where they were from, they were from Maunabo? Not Caguas?. For the first time this lady that was just a name became real, she was my Abuelita that was taken too soon.
This is what I want to share with others…the ones that are not just looking for how far can I go but the ones that are looking for that connection to that person or persons that should have been in their lives but sadly were not.
To help others find the peace and healing that can come from having one piece of information, but having a piece is better than having none.