grandma susie

I’m thinking about saying goodbye, or hagone (see you later) in Navajo. You see, there’s not many days left here, in this place I’ve called home for three and a half years. And now it’s time to move on, go forward, make my own way, leave my own trail.

In Arizona, they are deliberate with goodbyes. I remember the last day of church. They had all four of us stand up and talk, say thank you to the congregation, tell about what we learned, and then say hagone.

And we went to every single person, shook their hand or gave them a hug and said thank you. And I got to Grandma Susie, and she hugged me and started crying. And so I started crying. And she thanked me for cooking all summer, told me how much she loved to cook, and prayed for me. It was one of the most special hugs I ever received. And after the service, she gave me her frybread recipe. Grandma Susie’s frybread recipe. It was probably one of the most special gifts I’d ever received.

Someday, I hope I get to tell Grandma Susie thank you. Not just thanks for the recipe or the hug, but thanks for letting me be a part of the family, thanks for teaching me more than just how to cook, thanks for letting me stand right next to her and hold down the sheep while she cuts the throat, thanks for the love she poured into everything.

I also wish that I could show the family how many times I’ve cooked frybread. I wish they knew that not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. I wish I could tell them that this Christmas, we’re having Navajo tacos, and that I will constantly be thinking of them.

Thank you, Grandma Susie.

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