My grandmother, Lola Maria, was a strong and independent World War II survivor.
Memories of her building vibrant fire and cooking fried bananas to sell to her loud neighbours remain one of my favourite memories.
She had the gift of cooking outstanding fried bananas. Caramelised brown sugar embraced the bananas like a lover who would not let go.
Lola grew up poor and her life was never easy as a single parent to 12 children.
When she became older and weaker, she could not longer sell fried bananas. She needed her children who were also in poverty. She never insisted on help.
I was in my early 20s barely earning enough as a young development worker. I wanted to give her the healthcare she deserved but I was unable.
But I brought her groceries and spent time with her. She asked me to pull the unwanted hair on her right cheek. I am glad I was able to touch Lola's face.
And I brought her flowers. Flowers in all colours and complexion.
At a young age, I had the firm and beautiful resolve that I will give flowers while Lola could appreciate them.
A few years later, Lola passed away. I touched the intricate carvings of the coffin I chose for Lola. The carvings were beautiful and circular like fluffy, happy petals.
Every now and then, I remember Lola. I am inspired to express my love for the aging women in my life especially my mother. I am reminded to give flowers while the heart beats.
I buy myself flowers to remind my exhausted heart that life begins, life pauses, and life ends.
We may not spend 24 hours with the people most dear to us but they hold our hearts as we hold theirs.