My Grandma Gladys was a short Mexican woman, with dark skin and short hair. She always got excited when she saw us, and had more energy than you would expect in a woman of her age. She was feisty and quick to laugh a loud, infectious laugh. And, always, she had something delicious cooking for us.
I loved to cook with Grandma Gladys! I loved her recipes with measurements made based on the shape and size of her palm as she scooped the lard. The first thing she taught us to cook was her famous cheese enchiladas. First you make the sauce, nice and spicy, in a little pot. Then you fry the corn tortillas in some oil, always just flipping them with your fingers. How did she do that without burning her fingers? Once those are all fried up, you dip them into the sauce, again, using your fingers, then lay them in the pan, where you fill them with a stripe of cheese and roll them up. Once the pan is all filled up with these heavenly cheesy rolls, you smother them all in more sauce and another topping of cheese, and bake them until they’re nice and melty. We spent most of our visits with Grandma Gladys in her kitchen, doing these cooking projects, then enjoying the fruits of our labors.
I wish I had known more about my Grandma Gladys. I wish I had asked more about her childhood and her family. I wish I had visited her more often. I wish I had asked her to teach me more recipes. Today when I heard about her unexpected death, I learned the lesson that had been taught many times, but that I never heeded. I learned that the sadness you will feel will be for regrets over words unspoken and love untold. I should have called; I should have sent pictures; I should have asked the questions that will now remain unanswered.
I feel sad that my Grandma Gladys had to die in such a lonely way. I am sad that she was in an unknown city in Mexico, without her family by her side. I wish I had had the forewarning to go and visit her one last time, and let her know that she was loved and that she will always be remembered. It makes me sad that my kids will never meet her and enjoy her laugh and her Spanglish like I did. But, I know that is actually not the case; she is meeting my kids before I am even meeting them. I hope they are learning from her right now, and that she is turning their hearts to hers in a way that will remain with them after they cross the veil into mortality.I am comforted by the truth that I will see her again; that because He lives, she will live also. I am grateful that Heavenly Father has provided a plan for His children to be united as families. And, I am so grateful for temples, where sacred ordinances can be performed for our ancestors and where families are sealed.