Mi Abuela

November came and went.

Lots of great things happened in November, including the little girl’s first trip to Miami, her first Thanksgiving, and a few birthday celebrations. I’ll blog about those another time.

But on November 11th, we also experienced a bit of sad news—the passing of my abuela.

I struggled with whether or not I should blog about it here, because even though my blog at times resembles that of a personal (and public) journal, I’m often very particular about what I share publicly.

I came to the conclusion, however, that I wanted to write something about her…because she was an amazing woman. My aunt put together a stunning obituary for her, which I’ll reprint here:

abuelaAna Pallés (née Ana Hortensia Buznego Abajo) was born in Havana, Cuba, on January 11th, 1934. The daughter of Spaniards who migrated to Cuba, she was the youngest of four children whose father owned a bodega. She met her husband, Aldo Pallés, on a Havana city bus at age 16, and it was love at first sight. They married in 1953 and three years later their first child, a daughter, was born. In the late 1950s, Ana was a teacher in Cuba at La Escuela No. 149 “Maria Luisa Dolz” in Havana, La Escuela Rural No. 1 “La Gloria” in Guira de Melena, and La Escuela “Don Luis Martinez,” also in Guira de Melena. In 1962, the family was forced to flee the oppression of the Communist regime and settled in New York City, where two additional children were born. Ana and her husband relocated to Miami, Florida, several years later to raise their family and lived there for 23 years. After the untimely death of her beloved husband in 1992, Ana moved to Boulder, Colorado, to be with her daughters. Always known as a hard worker, she continued to hold Accounting positions at various companies in Boulder as she had in Miami, including Exabyte Corp, until her retirement. She died at home on Tuesday, November 11th, of natural causes. She was 80 years old. Ana was well-loved by her family and is remembered as dedicated, devoted, and self-sacrificing. She is survived by her three children, and a brand new great-grandchild. Donations may be made in her memory to Healing Warriors Program, http://healingwarriorsprogram.org to honor the US soldiers who provided a safe haven for her family in this country, for which they were always grateful.

I have fond memories of my abuela when I was growing up. I’d often walk over to her and my aunt’s house (just 1 block away from my own) to play board games like parcheesi, chinese checkers, and chess (she taught me how to play all of them). And almost always my visit would include a special treat: a plain omelette accompanied by the crispiest homemade hashbrowns ever made (to this day none of us can quite duplicate it).

One summer I decided I was too old for summer camp (but was still too young for a job), and I quickly found myself with nothing to do. Often I’d walk the dog over to my abuela’s house and spend a few hours there before walking back (and calling her the minute I got home to tell her I was ok).

I can’t remember if it was in a book, or a magazine, but one day I came across a finger puppet project. There was a finger puppet for every letter of the alphabet. My abuela and I went to the store to pick out several different colors of felt and thread, and we’d spend our mornings watching The Price is Right and working on our respective puppets. A highly-skilled seamstress, my abuela would show me different stitch techniques for sewing borders and eyes. Despite my best attempts, you can still clearly see who worked on what puppet:


The puppets now hang in my daughter’s room. My abuela surprised me with that banner one day—she sewed each pocket, cut out the letters, and thought of using a wooden dowel to keep its shape. I’m missing a few puppets, but I’m just waiting for the day when my little girl is old enough to help me make new ones.

I’m filled with so much gratitude for her, and everything she taught me growing up. Like others in my family, she would’ve done absolutely anything for me. For that, I am so blessed, and feel so honored, to have had her for my abuela.

My abuela and I at my wedding in 2008.
My abuela and I at my wedding in 2008.
  • Linda

    Nothing sweeter than a Nana. I too was lucky to have learned so much from their love and guidance. I know you”ll miss yours.

    • Yes they are quite special for sure!