The Loss Of A Great Grandparent

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    This past week, we received word that my Great-Grandmother passed away in Spain.  She was well into her nineties and had been bed-ridden for the past few years due to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and Alzheimer’s.  In the wake of her death I find myself reflecting on her life and thinking about the legacy of the family that she left behind.

    We called her “Madrina” which means “godmother” in Spanish.  The reason for this is that she baptized my father and was actually his godmother so, since he always called her that, the name stuck.  She came from a time when women worked in the fields alongside their husbands and never complained about anything.  I remember her telling me the story of how she gave birth in the old house, upstairs from where they kept the cows.

    Back when I was a kid, I remember feeling like she was really old fashioned and like I couldn’t relate to her.  She dressed in black as was customary for widows back in the day in Spain and always wore a kerchief over her hair.  Even in her seventies and eighties, she would milk the cows and go out to tend to her plants and her garden.

Me as a little girl sitting on the steps of the cow barn below my Great Grandmother’s house.

    She would complain that I was too outspoken and opinionated for a little girl but she didn’t realize that I took after her stubborn and strong nature.  Maybe she did realize and knew it would serve me well throughout my life and bring me pain at the same time.  I can still remember her warning my Grandmother to reel me in and not allow me to be so wild and independent.  She probably saw too much of herself in me.

    The last time that I saw her was in 1998 when I went to Spain for the summer after my divorce from my first husband.  She sat with me in her living room and showed me old photos of my father and my grandfather when they were growing up.  I can remember thinking that I wished I had more time to spend with her to hear all her stories from the past.  Hopefully I will still have the chance to see her again and hear all about her life one day when we meet again.

What is one of your fondest memories of a grandparent or great-grandparent?

R.I.P. Carmen Candamio

© 2013, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Amberlee Cave says

    Thank you for sharing! I’m sure it was tough writing about it. I just found out yesterday that one of my dads best friends died.. I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to say good bye.

  2. Sounds like she was a wonderful person to know. I’m sorry about your loss! 🙁 I honestly don’t have any fond memories of my grandparents, because both grandmothers and one grandfather have been deceased before I was born. Then, my other grandfather died when I was about 4-5 months old.

  3. Isabel Garcia says

    Your grandmother was a hard working individual. I always remember my grandma for her stories that she would share with me about her life and also life principles that she wanted me to follow. I never knew my grandfathers. They passed away way before I was born.

  4. Really sorry to read the bad news here,It was surely tough for you to write about it.

  5. Terry My Journey With Candida says

    How lucky you were to get to know your Great Grandmother. Both my Great Grandparents were gone before I was ever born. Women worked hard in the good ole day…. or maybe they weren’t the good ole days. So sorry for your loss.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. I had one of my great grandparents up into my middle 20’s and it was really neat to learn about the old days. She too worked out in the fields but pulled tobacco in South Carolina. She gave me the family bible before she past away, and I appreciate being able to access the history recorded in it. She also made quilts and gave me one for my first born.

  7. kSquaredGlamour says

    so sorry for your loss i still remember when my grandmother passed away :/ it was so hard

  8. Sorry amiga! I can totally relate. My world came a part when my abuelita passed. She raised me so you can just imagine the emptiness in my life, luckily my daughter was just 2 and that helped me grieve a bit. ((hugs))

  9. BohemianBabushka says

    I’m glad you have good memories of Madrina and know that a bit of her lives on in you. Al final that’s all we can hope for- to have our legacy and memory live on happily in those still here. Abrazos de pesame amiga y muchos BB2U.

  10. I am so so sorry for your loss! I still have my grandma, but when my grandpa passed away a few years ago, it was just horrible and a hard time! Stay strong!

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful story. You are so blessed to have been able to spend so many years with such an amazing woman! My great-grandmother passed away when I was just a baby, so I have no memories of her other than those that have been shared by other family members. I wish I would have had the chance to know her.

  12. Daisy Tremorev says

    I’m sorry for your loss. My memories of my great grandfather were going to church and then getting a kids meal afterwards. I loved going to his house for Sunday mornings.

  13. It is always hard to loose someone we love. Sorry for your loss.

  14. Jennifer Colón Kudyan says

    My condolences to you and your family. May she rest in peace.

  15. Dawn Spatulas On Parade says

    I’m sorry for your loss. I lost my grandfather in 1990 and I still miss him. He had a gentle loving spirit. I never heard him raise his voice or speak ill of anyone. We lost my grandmother last May. I can not say the same about her.

  16. JadeLouise Designs says

    So Sorry for your loss! My Great grandparents all died before i was born. I had one that died when I was three. I don’t remember them very well. But I remember sitting with my grandmother as a child hearing her stories of the Great depression and her migration from England to America. Those were always fascinating. She passed away when I was 10. I miss her dearly.

  17. So sorry for your loss. My Grandma left me with the fondest of memories of cooking in the kitchen with her.

  18. So sorry for your loss. I loved my grandparents and still miss them even though they have been gone for a long time. My grandmother use to make jewelry and I would help her. I loved touching all the gems and seeing what she would come up with when she was finished.

  19. Paul Farrugia says

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Take care

  20. So sorry to hear about your loss, Maria. She sounds like she was a great lady with a rich, colorful history.

  21. I don’t really have any memories of my grandparents and I’ve never met my great grandparents.

  22. What a sweet post. I am sorry you lost your grandmother. I have lost both of mine, and I have many, many good memories.

  23. Melinda Kuffler Dunne says

    I am so sorry for your loss. I honestly don’t really remember my great grandparents and my grandparents are all gone as well.

  24. RIP to your grandma. So sorry for your loss. My grandmother died at 93 two weeks ago as well. This seems to not be a good year for grandmas. 🙁

  25. It’s always hard to lose someone. 🙁 We just lost two friends recently so I am sorry for you loss.

  26. So sorry for the loss of your dear grandmother. Sounds like you have some great memories of her. It is so sad when our loved ones go and find myself reflecting on my past with my grandmother and how we used to have big dinners with her at the holidays. I just try to share them with my children.

  27. I am so sorry for your loss. Cherish those wonderful memories you have. I was fortunate to know 3 of my great-grandparents and learned a lot from them. Hugs for you, dear.

  28. I’m sorry to hear about your great-grandmother. It sounds like you have some great memories of her. I was very close to my grandmother and share a name with her, Ione, which is the reason for kristenione as my name everywhere…it’s just my first and middle names!

  29. Richard Hicks says

    My condolences to you and family. It is so hard to lose someone so close. My fondest memory was going on fishing trips with my Grandfather!

  30. Hi Maria,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It is so great, though, that you have fond memories of her and that you can take that with you throughout your life. That is priceless.
    My great-grandmother passed away when I was a kid. My grandmother passed away 5 years ago, 5 days before my birthday. She was like a second mother to me. There are days even now that I think of her and tears come to my eyes. I really wish she could have met my kids. She would have enjoyed them so much. I know she’s looking down on enjoying them from afar and sometimes I think not so far.
    I will keep you and your family in my prayers. It’s always sad to lose a cherished member of the family.


  31. I’m so sorry for your loss. C0
    This is why we should cherish every moment (I do this by taking & sharing photos), and I try to take my two children to see their great-grandparents several times a year
    Thank you for sharing

  32. Losing anyone is hard, near or far no matter their age. Wonderful memories you shared with us.

  33. Amanda McMahon says

    my gramma is still here. my grandfather died when i was 2 or so. my dad’s parents i didn’t really know.

  34. So sorry for your loss. I lost both sets of grandparents when I was in highschool and both my parents have passed. I wish I could have some of those great memories to pass on to my daughter. You are lucky to have those wonderful memories of your Madrina and one day you will meet again and she will tell you many more.

    Abrazos amiga

  35. MalikaBourne says

    so sorry for you loss.

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