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Abuelita Aurora. She radiated warmth with her smile and her eyes bled compassion. Those who knew her in her youth would say that she was chatty and witty; her jokes were sharp as a knife and kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Now, even if she kept her jokes short and concise, she was funny nonetheless; one would not think that a woman her age would say such scandalous jokes at times. Our great aunts and uncles (whether directly related by blood or friendship) would say how her positivity and warmth were the secret remedy to whatever they needed. As a young woman, she worked as a nurse and volunteered during war time to lend her healing hands to help those in need.
After a heart attack on a quiet Tuesday morning, all of her grandchildren visited more frequently than ever. She was quieter than before but the flame burned bright. Her smile illuminated our lives. Even in the dark days of forgetfulness, our Aurorita was bright. She would mix up Luisa’s name with Laura, or Aura with Angela, or forget who was who. It got worse after, though. She would frantically look for her nurse uniform to go to work or even ask everyone in the room where her husband was. Even in her own house she would ask me or her other grandchildren if they could take her home before the sky went dark. Since I was the youngest grandchild, I would spend more time with her and sleep in her bed to keep her safe from wandering. I grew up eating her meals and graduated to make her some of my own. In moments of lucidity, she would get my name right and smile. I can still feel her warmth on my skin, years after of her departure, and her smile even when there wasn’t a reason to do so.

Story by Maria Lysandra Hernandez

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