Guadalupe was born on December 30, 1922. The youngest of four children.
While she was still an infant, her mother tragically passed away.
Her father followed a few years later. Some say he died of a broken heart. (Throughout her life, Guadalupe would carry with her the memory of her brother standing with her during their father’s funeral.)
After the death of their father, Guadalupe and her siblings were sent to live with an aunt and uncle to be raised.
The eldest of the siblings, Guadalupe’s sister, married young, and moved away to begin her life with her new husband.
Tragedy stuck again when one of her brothers died from tuberculosis as a teenager. The same brother who once stood beside her, protecting her, during the tragic loss of their father, was now gone.
As if that wasn’t enough, her one remaining brother, Joe, was kidnapped by his godparents not long after moving in with their aunt and uncle.
Life continued. Guadalupe grew up. Always surrounded by cousins, yet separated from her siblings, and orphaned. Is it possible to be alone, yet physically surrounded by people? If so, it was then.
She grew into a wonderful, and beautiful young woman. Surrounded by family who loved and adored her. Oh, how God had His hand on her!
It was no secret that she had an older brother out there, being raised by his godparents. And as she grew into young adulthood, her desire to finally reunite with him grew.
She knew of his general location, and so she reached out to the local radio station in hopes that they would help spread the word that she was searching for him.
Much to her delight, the radio station granted her request and broadcasted her plea.
Joe was listening!
A reunion was near!
They began writing letters to one another, catching up on life, getting to know one another once again.
Eventually they would reunite in person. Could you imagine their joy that day? Coming together face to face after so much time apart?
It wasn’t long before World War 2 was in full effect. During this time, it was common practice for civilians to write letters to the soldiers overseas.
To do her part, and support the soldiers who were bravely fighting on the other side of the world, Guadalupe wrote letters. A lot of letters.
One of those letters reached a local soldier named Emmanuel. This was followed by another, then another. More and more letters between Guadalupe and Emmanuel followed.
After the war ended, Guadalupe was traveling with a group of friends on the local train. Because it was a small town, and everyone knew everyone, the friends she with whom she was traveling approached her with great news!
“Manuel is on this train! He’s here too!”
Oh, how her heart must have been pounding! How had they ended up on the same train at the same exact time? So many letters had been written! Had they spoken of this day? Had they dreamed of it? Had they made plans? Regardless, the time was now. And there, on that train, Manuel and Lupe met. All that time spent with pen to paper, and there they were in person at last! (cue romantic music)
Thus began their romance.
Eventually they would marry and raise 5 children in their own hometown.
Those 5 children grew, married, and started their own families.
And the rest is history………….
(pictured : L – Guadalupe, R – Me)
Guadalupe is my grandmother. Today she is 93 years old. I have heard the story of her life for many years and I am still awed by all that she has endured. The above story is just a small glimpse of the whole picture. Each time I hear accounts of her life, it plays in my head like a movie straight out of Hollywood. It’s amazing. This wonderful woman, who usually has a smile on her face, who babysat me when I was sick as a child, who sewed many of my holiday dresses, whom we all love dearly……..
This woman has lived a full life. She has had more than her share of loss and heartbreak, but also incredible joys and triumphs. My grandmother is strong. She’s feisty. She’s hilarious. When I was growing up, she was a wonderful cook, skilled seamstress, and talented artist.
There is much to learn from her life still.
So why am I sharing this story with you all? I share this because you, my friend, have your own story to tell. We all do. You have lived through hardships, joys, failures, and successes. You have learned lessons.
You’ve grown. You’ve matured. You’ve lived.
We have all had our share of experiences. Each and every one of us. You have a story to tell, friend! Share it! Someone out there just may need to hear what you have to say. Someone out there may need to know that there is truly a light at the end of the tunnel, that there is hope. And who better to share that truth with them than someone who has walked that path before? It could be a family member, your children, a friend, or a complete stranger.
We all have a story to tell, friend! It’s up to you to tell it.
(pictured : L – Me, R – Guadalupe)