This woman is my grandmother. She is a Cuban American who has three children, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren. She has a fiery spirit, she loves dessert and parties and she can be pretty hilarious to talk with. In her younger days, she had a knack for decorating cakes, tying Christmas bows and sewing outfits with impressive skill. (To save money, she once had the ability to look at department store clothes and then recreate them with her home sewing machine from memory so her children could dote the latest fashions.)
My grandmother has endured a lot of really difficult things in her life. There were several years her depression seemed to swallow up who she truly was. Over the past five years, our family has watched her be freed from those dark thoughts to return to a happy, laughing and even kind woman. My mom in particular has been a huge proponent of my Grandmother's healing, through her prayers and consistent love. In so many ways, I know my mom feels that she is finally being given a relationship with her mother.
Last fall, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The news felt like a harsh blow, after all she has been through and what had been regained. Despite her grief over the person of her mother dwindling away, my mom bravely fights for and cherishes every moment she gets with my grandma. This painting of Grammy grinning with her coke bottle is exactly one of those moments, smiling in the company of her daughter.
As the times of real presence in my grandmother's eyes begin to wane, I want my mom to be able to look at this painting and see the true, joyful spirit that is Luisa Roqueta.