Lilia Hidalgo born September 15, 1921. My Nona.
Lilia Patris Santos born February 12, 2006. My Pachicha.
My Dear Lilia Patris,
Much has happened in the past days that compelled me to write you. Little Lilia Pachicha... may your own story be that of Compassion, Resilience, Wisdom and Love. That was the story of your great grandmother's life. She had faced some serious struggles, she made her mistakes, but through it all, she showed a great capacity for love. When I was young and foolish and crossing all sorts of boundaries, I could have sworn she was the only one who could still love me. To this day, I miss our conversations. How she listened to me like no one else.
Your Great Grand Nona was a teacher.
I pray your life will be easier than hers, but just as rich--made full by curiosity, an open mind and a big heart. Like her, you will be compassionate, resilient, wise and full of love. I already see it in you. You and your million and one questions, your thoughtfulness, how sweet you are, how very loving.
She was a nerd. I loved that about her.
Your name holds so much meaning because you share it with your great grandmother. It is a powerful symbol. Did you know that the water lily or lotus has the amazing ability to flourish in clear or muddy waters? It can grow in healthy streams or dirty ponds, a thing of beauty rising above the murk. As it flourishes it helps clear polluted waters. Lily petals form into a beautifully delicate flower, but at its center is a hearty seed pod that can pollinate widely. It is enduring. In Buddhism, the lotus symbolizes purity, spiritual growth and enlightenment.
I can't wait until I can talk to you and your brother about all this in earnest--lotus flowers, tragedy, love, family, dysfunction, grief, redemption and how my Nona, once upon a time, saved me. She continues to inspire me as a mother. I would have lived well if I stay true to that legacy.