Verónica González Mayoral
Mami y Weli
Mami, my great aunt. Weli, my grandmother.
The greatest women in my life. These are the women that made me the person I am today.
They taught me how to be quiet and observe before speaking; to be independent, hardworking and resourceful; to maintain my composure and appearance, to wear my hair tight and clean and walk upright; never to show weakness or let anybody see if I’m feeling blue — unless I tell them, unless I wish to confess.
They taught me the secret of their beauty; Nivea to moisturize the face and rose water at night to clean it up; and wash the face in the morning with cold water, even in winter. These two women were well known for their grace, elegance and poise; always well-dressed — stylish, yet modest; hair styled, with just enough makeup to enhance their natural beauty. Above all, they were selfless, accommodating and loving. Anyone who came to our home was made to feel like a member of the family. Their devotion was tireless.
When Weli passed away, I was there, holding her hand, laying next to her in bed. I cleaned her face with rose water while she was “asleep” in her last hours. It was clear to me that she wouldn't rest in peace if her face were not clean the way she liked it. Her lips still retained a hint of her favorite red lipstick, she was elegance personified. She “had” 92 years when she passed, though one would have never guessed. She didn’t have a wrinkle in her face, and her sense of humour was stronger than her heart.
When Mami passed away, I was in New Mexico. She had wrestled with Alzheimer’s for the past seven years. She possessed a tremendous wit and her nails were always immaculate. In her mind, she was always eating her favorite ______ ice cream and would invite you to have one with her whether she knew you or not. She loved going to the beach, getting a tan, traveling — and, above all else, to dance.
My grandmother passed away at the end of this exact month one year ago. Mami, passed away at the end of January of this year. Both have given their lives for the family, working for every single one of us, fighting all the way to the end, most likely feeling sorry to have left us behind.
These two pictures were captured during Christmas 2011, at my sister’s home in Spain, where we would get together for that special time of year. I was always next to them, quietly observing their techniques for being such strong and beautiful women, studying their ritual when they rose in the morning, and when they were going to bed. This is the way I love to observe them, in stillness and silence — a spectator in their glamorous presence.