For Yolanda, Mi Lala

By Jessica M. Castillo

This is a poem for my late paternal grandmother, Yolanda Ramona Castillo Rojas, b. Jiqui, Cuba, March 30, 1928. d. Miami, FL, USA, April 18, 2021. “Aunque no hablemos todos los días, siempre te quiero.”

The grief of your life lost envelops me

like a fleece blanket, 

smothering me.

It would feel comforting, 

the swaddle, 

if not for the tightness forcing my eyes closed with images of more joyful times, 

yours and ours,

multiple lives within this one, filled with

kindness and sincerity,

familial love and safety, 

loyalty and devotion,

self-sacrifice and service,

compassion and knowing.

Imagine my surprise when 

I enter these sacred vernal grounds and 

immediately feel lifted out of that swaddle, 

that tense, heart-pounding, heavy-breathing grief, and I feel like 

I’ve floated over into another world. 

A new world.

One filled with beginning and 

a springing of life.

My eyes catch

the snow-white Gardenias, dripping 

with hope and dew.

A blanket of low, wispy yet verdant grasses, 

strong only in emotion and color.

White butterfly, white butterfly, white butterfly.

The birds singing and cavorting, 

talking as if directly to me,

soothing me.

There is a beginning and end to everything, they say.

My heart twinging, 

eyes and nose burning for tearful release,

I continue on through this Eden, 

among the Azaleas and Magnolia trees, 

dancing in a light humid breeze.

Beside them, fuchsia-hatted wildflowers, 

Blazing Stars, like towers,

gathered as a sea of spaceships,

blasting to a new world, 

to the infinite unknown where 

hope springs eternal,

eternal springs hope.

An eternal soul transforms, as Spring, 

from one physical life to another,

saturated with love and memories,

yet always with room for growth.

Rebirth after death. The love never leaves us, only evolves.

It is the purest expression of life anew.

Suddenly it feels real and true,

that this, too, 

shall pass.

One thought on “For Yolanda, Mi Lala

  1. Carlos Castillo says:

    Beautiful and heart felt. Lala loved you so much.

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