I remember my grandma as a very graceful woman. She always looked quite dashing, very neatly combed with elegant hairpins, wearing pearl jewelry and permanently wrapped in a shawl. Sometimes she chose to wear shawls that were periwinkle blue, other times she chooses colors like stone grey.
However, she followed a very strict color palette, she always wore colors that made her presence feel peaceful and reflected her inner calmness and tranquility, colors that reminded me of a snowy day in Canada. I never saw her wearing a pink, orange or green shawl for example.
I wasn't the only one in the family to start noticing her preference for this garment, and soon it wasn't uncommon for her to receive more than one very chic silk shawl for Christmas from her daughters.
The first time I travelled abroad alone I found an indigo shawl in an artisan shop that I just knew I had to bring back. It was a very hot summer day in mid-July when I gave it to her, and she insisted on wearing it that same day.
She would usually be knitting or painting, she had very skillful hands that she once dreamt of using for a nursing career, but she never got the opportunity to try. She lived in a ginormous and cold house for just her and my grandpa, but at a given moment in time it also housed their ten children.
I'm the youngest of her grandchildren so when I came along, she was already seventy-three and always wearing a shawl, since she easily got chilly and rarely left her house. But in her youth, she was a very social lady and passed time by going to dances.
She was from a well-off family in Saltillo, Mexico and in these gatherings, she once told me that she always looked at a boy's shoes before anything else, since afterwards she huddled with her friends and they talked about how polished the shoes of their potential suitors were.
Though when she met my grandpa, a humble boy from the nearby town of Arteaga, he was wearing sandals. She recently passed away and naturally I miss her tremendously. She never complained. She always called her family on their birthdays and made sure that in her house an almond-lemon cake was waiting for when they came to visit later on.
My aunts found under what ended to be an impressive collection of blue and gray shawls a small wooden box that contained letters dating way back to 1945 that my grandpa sent her during their courtship. I guess I was elated to know that my grandmother, as serene as she seemed, once passed a problematic teenage era were drama, rage and jealousy were her daily bread.
She learned to be a graceful woman.