Today, June 25th, is an extraordinary woman’s 101st birthday.
Since her husband Manuel died a few years ago, Filomena has rallied her optimism and thrown a birthday reunion every June. The party is to celebrate her life, but it’s also to celebrate her family. Some of us are not lucky enough to boast the incredibly harmonious and large family she has nurtured. Just as she knits several pairs of socks each day, she has also woven bonds between her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Her presence and wise words truly feel like gifts, but they are much more than that. As is with most wise people, she has weathered memories both beautiful and difficult. She has witnessed power shifts between Alfonso XIII, The Second Republic of Spain, The Spanish Civil War, Francisco Franco, and the Spanish transition to democracy. Her resilience and nine children carried her through each hardship, and helped her appreciate each joy. Today, she still enjoys fútbol, reading, knitting, and welcoming visitors.
This coming Saturday, a restaurant in Terrassa (a city about half an hour away from Barcelona) will be hosting a jubilant Filomena and her happy brood of 50 plus people. They will eat delicious food, and share better stories about this wonderful woman and the lives she made possible. Although my husband and I cannot join her celebration this year, we were there for her 100th birthday bash. It was a beautiful experience, and it gave me pause to reflect on old age and attitude. One of the most repeated conversations was, “how did she make it to the age of 100 years old?” And, what’s more, “with her mind and body very much intact?” Almost everyone had their own opinion but the person whose opinion I like best is Trinidad’s (my husband’s other grandmother): “By working very hard, being very passionate, and caring very much for those she loves.”
Although I am just a recent addition to her family, this post is my humble tribute to this inspiring woman.
Happy birthday Filomena.