Jorlys I. Alvarado Morales

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I. Rocío – 

My Grandmother Rocío, was born on December 13, 1946 in Salinas, Puerto Rico.  She had a twin brother named Luis.  In total, there were eleven children in the household. Rocío was the youngest but had been born with the instinct of a caring mother. She always carried a rag doll named Lucy that had been made by her father. My grandmother always said that when she became a mother, she would give everything to her children and she would love them no matter what.

All through her childhood, she was a caring happy girl and became the favorite in her house for her obedience to her parents.

This photo was taken on September 10, 1964 when she was sixteen-years-old. Grandmother Rocío always wore white dresses with little pearl earrings that her uncle Jose gave her on her thirteenth birthday.

 II. Dear Gabriel

When my grandmother graduated from school she began studying to be a Spanish teacher. On June 24 of 1964 there was a town party. That day her sister, Teresa, convinced Rocío to accompany her and their six sisters to the party. She didn’t want to go, but Luisa had a new dress that Rocío desired to own.  It was white with crocheted flowers and pearls. Luisa offered it to her, and so Rocío agreed to go. The reason that Luisa was so willing to part with the dress was because unless all the sisters went out together, no went out.

At the party, she met, the love of her life, Gabriel. He was a young man who had arrived from New York. He worked there to help his brothers through college. That summer, Gabriel’s flight was canceled and so he stayed in Puerto Rico.  My grandfather has always said that destiny brought them together. That night, when their eyes met for the first time, they fell in love. They danced bolero all night, and in what seemed a magical and unforgettable moment my grandfather Gabriel told Rocío that he loved her. Yet, he had to return to New York, so she told Gabriel that she would wait if he would come back for her. Six months later, my grandfather returned and asked for my grandmother’s hand in marriage.

Abuela Rocío on her wedding day with her mother, my Bisabuela Carmen

On May 3, 1965 my grandmother, Rocío, and my grandfather, Gabriel,  got married in the “Parroquia Monserrate” at Salinas. This picture was taken that day. My grandmother had a beautiful relationship with her mother Carmen. It was one of the best times of her life even if two months later her mother, my “Bisabuela Carmen,” died.

III. Angel & Angela

After a year of marriage, my grandmother found out that she would finally become a mother. She became even happier when she received news that she was expecting twins. She prepared everything to receive her babies and finally give birth on February 13, 1967. Complications made it so that the babies were born with respiratory problems. That day, the whole family was in the hospital expecting good news, but after all the arduous work by the doctors the babies were pronounced dead.

With tears in her eyes my grandmother said these words to me as she told me the story. “There is no greater pain in this world, than the pain of losing a child, in my case I lost two. It is like losing a large part of myself, and a part of my heart.”

The doctor said that after losing those twins she could never give birth because of the damage the childbirth complications had caused in her body. Rocío refused to accept the fact that she couldn’t have children and this made her feel lonely and desperate. My grandfather gave her support but  she didn’t want to accept it.  She refused to leave the house.  One day, her younger sister, Maria came to visit from the United States where she was studying nursing. She stayed in Puerto Rico so that she could help my grandmother with her loss.

Rocío on the beach...

On July 14 of 1967, at the beach in Salinas, Puerto Rico, my grandma was looking out over the ocean. She was thinking of the loss of her twins, Angel and Angela.  Her twin brother, Luis, took this photo after months of being locked up in the house without hope of ever becoming the mother she yearned to be for her lost children.

IV. Hope

María loved her sister, Rocío, so much that she stood by her during this difficult time. Rocío received a lot of support from her husband too, but having her sister there with her gave her even more strength to overcome the situation. After years in psychiatric treatment, she overcame her loss, and finally accepted that she could move on and live a normal life.

The most impressive thing that my grandmother said to me was that María gave everything she had to help her overcome her loss. Realizing her sacrifice made Rocío hope that she could become a mother again.  After months of treatment, and with support from María, my grandmother Rocío became pregnant with my mother.

Sisters Rocío & María - One heart and one soul...

This photo was taken by my grandfather, Gabriel, who wanted to capture those two sisters, my grandmother, Rocío, and her sister, María, united by a painful situation.

 The support from each other changed their lives. They became more than sisters. They became one soul, one heart. This picture was taken in my grandma’s house on January 24, 1968. On that particular day my grandmother was three months pregnant. Six months later she gave birth to a beautiful girl, my mother.

1 Comment

  1. This is a very inspiring piece. i really liked how your grandmother and you grandfather met. They fell in love in just a night and their connection and compromise was such that they waited for each other and got married all that within a year. Now a day stories likes this one are not heard. It is very beautiful to read real love stories like this ones. Her sister, clearly was great comfort in those hard times. it is always said that in difficult times, family joints and stick together.

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