Sunday, July 10, 2005

I will miss my Yia Yia....


I feel the strength being yanked from my spirit....I talked to Yia Yia today and she revealed an inkling of weakness...a window to pain. Yia Yia is almost 84 and I have had anxiety about her leaving me since I was old enough to know what death was. No, she isn't gone but I feel her slipping away. I am her soulsake, the one in the family who has taken after her the most. The stubbornness, the independence, the "buzz off" attitude. Nothing and no one has been able to keep her down. She is the one I look up to, my strength, my example of what it means to be Greek, to be a Maniata....my strongest sense of culture lives in her and all I can hear is the Greek memorial song we sing in church "Aionia mneme...aionia mneme...." that song haunts me. I remember saving the recipe for kolliva just in case a Greek relative dies. I don't want it to be for Yia yia. I could kick myself for not living with her in college. I could have gone to UMass but instead I went to college in Portland. I could have lived with her and put my partying on hold for a few years...I could have learned Greek, gotten ahold of my culture, learned what it means to be a multigenerational family...but most of all just gotten closer to her. I could have built a bond, understood her history, been there to take care of her. I miss her. I long for the smell of mothballs, dust, and memories...just to be in her house right now to take care of her would alleviate this pain. I hate grieving before anything actually happens but I have to get it out. My strong, sensitive, tough-as-nails Yia Yia....you are my strength, my shape, and I am your shadow. I realized the drive and determination I have comes from her. She is a survivor, and if I do anything in my life I want her to know that her working in a factory for 50 years wasn't in vain...I will bring up our family name and let the world know that the women of Mani are carrying on our revolutionary spirit. If the Turks couldn't get to us I'll be damned if some chump in this country will. Here's to you Yia Yia: Sagapo....

5 comments:

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

No email link on your blog or profile. At least none that I could find. Just left a response to your post at Babalu.

Regards,

The Conductor

Furious Moore said...

The need to connect to cultures and understand your own runs thru all of ur writing. Why do u think this is? is it because u have been exposed to so many of them? Has it always been like this for u?

Tremenda Trigueña said...

I think that my need to understand myself has always been present, and I feel that culture- both those that are within us and those we are exposed to are inextricably linked to self-awareness. It has always been like this for me- ever since I was in preschool. I distinctly remember during Thanksgiving the little white kids being given pilgrim hats made of construction paper and the Arab kid and I got the Indian headbands with the feather. No joke...

Furious Moore said...

Whoa! See- I woulda tied the teacher up and burnt down the pilgrims' village.

Tremenda Trigueña said...

Looking back on it, I take it as a compliment. I always sided with the Indians anyway- but I truly do have a very stark memory of that day...I think I was 4 or 5 years old.