I have been avoiding to write this article because I knew it was going to be painful.
On May 12th 2019, it was Mother’s Day in Ecuador.
On May 12th 2019, I was in Lima visiting my sister and her family.
On May 12th 2019, my grandma, the woman that raised me when I was a child, passed away.
It does not matter how she died, what matters is that she is – hopefully – in peace.
As written in the end of 2018 in my article A letter to my family, my grandma is one of the main reasons I so strongly believe in feminism. She was unfairly educated in a sexist culture and a true victim of those extremely patriarchal times. Her own father introduced her to his cousin, he was twelve years older than her. Yet, both men arranged the wedding. My grandma was just 18 years old when she walked down the aisle without anyone asking her for her opinion.
She became what the “luckiest” women of the time could become: a housewife. She had to cook, clean, raise four children and please her husband in all aspects whenever he wanted to. She never perceived her own personal revenue, my grandpa never allowed her to work. He was too jealous, so she avoided going out and making friends. My grandpa had a delirium that she was cheating on him. My grandma lived most of her life with depression. He hit her in several occasions, I still ignore the excuses of why he did that.
In spite of everything she lived, my grandma buried two of her sons, took care of my deaf aunt and even took care of my grandpa until his last days. Yes, even after everything he did to her. He was in an almost vegetable state for years in his bed. My grandma still cooked for him, fed him, changed his diapers. Because that is what she was: patient, loving and forgiving in spite of everything. Maybe that is also what women were raised to be and I do not want to encourage to accept what my grandma did. But for sure, I could use more of my grandma’s best skills, like patience.
I do not want you all to know her as this victim of sexism because my grandma was so much more. She was pure LOVE. Her smell was the closest sense to what home really means. I remember what it was like to get to her house after daycare, open the door and smell the awesome home cooked meals she had prepared for me. Everything so delicious and balanced in flavor. She taught me to wash my hands as soon as I entered home and to sit at the table. She made me love food everyday, nobody could beat her lunches but mainly her fried chicken. After lunch, we would play cards together and then she would let me nap in her arms as she would sing to me the sweetest lullabies.
How lucky was I!
She would even allowed me to watch some TV in the afternoon cause she knew I liked cartoons. And every afternoon she prepared me the best warm chocolate (yes, not hot because I did not like that as a child). My mom tried to replicate the recipe many times but no one could ever get it right, her cocoa was special, just like her.
Mi mamia – like we used to call her – gave us so much and demanded so little. She never raised her voice, literally nor metaphorically. She was home for me, she was family, she is the best representation of what a grandmother should be and I owe her my best childhood moments.
Today her memory is inside of me every single day. Her story is my main moto to demand women’s equality. Because my grandma’s story can be “justified” with her time but the truth is that there are many women in this world today, living a marriage they never chose, having abusive partners, no personal revenue, no personal goals or activities. So in every post, in every article and in every conversation and debate I have, I am willing to defend women like my grandma, that deserve more and have no voice. Thanks to the love that my family gave me (and this of course includes my grandma) I have the ovaries to speak up, to be brave, to demand what is right. From now on, I will picture my grandma standing next to me, step by step fighting for all those women that are still facing an unfair and sexist world.
This article is for all those women who are great mothers and loving grandmothers and whom have faced in one way or another the burden of their time, of carrying two ovaries, of sometimes having children or not being able to have them. To all those women having abusive partners and not being able to leave them for economic or emotional issues. As long as I live and as long as my grandma’s memory lives in me I will raise up my voice for you. <3