The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

Dear Nanay

Dear Nanay,

I was thinking of you last night. I was watching this show that I was watching right around your passing, of a grandma that had a stroke but survived. This season had a lot of content around her bucket list and they got to cross off a lot for her this season.

I cried because there was so much more I wanted to experience with you. I asked you last year how to cook your famous lengua, and you told me you pre-fried each piece so it wouldn’t get soggy. I wanted to cook it with you supervising so you could correct me on how it HAD to be done. And maybe show me the real secrets to why your lengua was so good.

Food and love I will always relate to you because you taught us all that. Mom knew and passed it on. I have come to realize that I cook for the people I care for and love. It’s how I say what I feel and make sure they’re taken care of.

There is so much more to you though than food. You’re tough. The story about you, Tatay and the itak over the bridge will always resonate with me of your strength and not taking crap from anyone, even your husband. Who, at the time was supposed to be lord and master of the household. You were able to stretch budgets to feed not only your kids but all their friends. You raised four kids. You were a teacher too.

I feel like there’s so much I missed talking to you about though. We found out some very interesting facts about you after the funeral that only made me more curious about what else we didn’t know about. There is so much more I wanted to find out but didn’t. And I wish I had more time with you for it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss you and will continue to miss you at sad moments but especially happy ones. I want to share of all it with you and I guess I can only hope you’re paying attention from up there when they happen.

Keep on shakin’ Nay. We’ll miss you from here.



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