Yesterday was a day of remembrance for Martha Kimball, an amazing woman who was deeply involved with Esperanza. “Abuela” (Grandma) the children lovingly called her, and she certainly treated them as her own grandchildren. Martha traveled to Honduras in November 2006 with the desire to learn about the culture and in particular, get to know the people. Certainly, they welcomed her into their homes with great respect as is culturally expected. Abuela dove into any opportunity that presented itself and was often seen walking around the village hand in hand with whichever children got to her first. I have vivid memories of little Lissi being wrapped in her arms.
When we traveled back to Boston, we brought two year old Astrid who was in need of medical treatment. This is such an emotional time to take a child away from her mother, and once again I remember Abuela, comforting Astrid in her warm embrace. The children all loved playing at Abuela’s house and camp on Lake Champlain. She was the ultimate hands on grandmother who played any game, made cookies together and took them to the playground. Noel, who was part of Abuela’s life for the past 16 years recalls his favorite memory of her “making pancakes with my name.”
Martha visited the children when they were hospitalized and shared birthdays and holidays together. In her later years, when Abuela slowed down a bit, I watched as Astrid held her arm accompanying her into the pool. And the next moment it would be Abuela, sitting beside Astrid, teaching her how to knit.
Astrid matter of factly told me, “Abuela has taken care of you her whole life. It is your turn to take care of her.” She was absolutely right. Both Astrid and Noel made it one of their priorities to spend time with their adopted Grandmother. In the last months of her life, the calls and prayers were flowing in from Honduras. One of my most treasured gifts is a drawing Astrid made of Abuela, in her final days.
Abuela would have turned 90 yesterday. We all look back with such fond memories and will certainly keep her spirit alive and honor her, by following the lessons she taught us including kindness for all, and love is love.