Archive for June 19th, 2017

Burying My Mom

We will be burying my Mom today. I posted the info this past Friday afternoon. Yesterday evening, after the rosary, my nieces, Linda Garza Martinez and Cristina Lafuente, both gave loving moving tributes to their grandmother. Here are Cristina’s remarks (Linda’s were more extemporaneous and she also serenaded her grandmother – very nice):

Hello. My name is Cristina Lafuente and I am one of Alicia’s granddaughters. On behalf of my family, I want to Thank you all very much for being here this evening. Your presence here means so much to us and is a testament to how much my grandmother impacted and touched so many lives.

Alicia Campos was the most wonderful grandmother. She was extremely caring, kind, loving; she had a huge heart and was dedicated to her family, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren, and her nieces and nephews. She opened up her home and was so welcoming to family, relatives, friends and neighbors. We always knew that she and my grandfather would do anything in the world for us – and they did. She taught us by example what it means to have unconditional love for family and to live a life with strong Catholic faith.

Like many of you, I have so many fond memories of my grandmother. My family spent so much time with her, we celebrated nearly every holiday with her, she was present at every important event of our lives, we enjoyed vacationing and traveling with her, but more importantly we loved just spending time with her at her house. She was never too busy to have us over. Anytime I called and told her I was coming over for a visit, she would put on a fresh pot of beans and would roll out some fresh flour tortillas for me. She would always send me home with a container full of beans, a package of freshly made flour tortillas and lots of extra food.

We all loved her cooking and growing up we all spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen. She catered to all her grandchildren and great grandchildren in the kitchen. For example, whenever we stayed over at her house, she would get up in the morning and make a huge breakfast, and she would usually make several batches of scrambled eggs, because we all liked them prepared differently, some with tomatos, onions and peppers, some liked them plain and some with cheese sauce all while rolling out fresh flour tortillas.. She always made sure we were all very happy and well fed. When we were younger, we would spend weeks at her house during the summer because we loved being around her. One summer she took all her grandchildren on a road trip to Disney World in her big van. I remember she loaded up an ice chest full of breakfast tacos, each wrapped in foil and as soon as we turned the corner down the street and got on the freeway, we could not wait any longer to begin eating those delicious tacos. That road trip was memorable for all of us, two of us would be seated in the front passenger seat, navigating with maps, talking to truckers on my grandpa’s CB radio and having a blast.

During Christmas, she took pride in making around 15 dozen tamales for her family and friends every year. Hers tamales were the Best, made with lots of love. She was very particular about the way she prepared the meat and the masa. I know many of us spent time spreading the masa with her, especially my grandfather, it amazed me how my grandma would stay up all night and cook tamales right before Christmas and New Years Eve to ensure she had an abundance of tamales for everyone to eat and plenty of leftovers for everyone to take home.   

Holidays were very important to my grandmother. She loved hosting Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas and New Years Eve gatherings at house ever year. Her largest party was always New Years Eve. For the past 40 years, I have celebrated almost every New Years Eve and Christmas at her house with my family, friends, cousins, and relatives. I know we will all greatly miss seeing her during the holidays.

As an adult, one of my fondest memories of my grandmother was when we took big family trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and rented a house during the summer of 2000. That year, my brother, my grandparents, my mother and my aunt Rachel drove from Houston to Mexico City, and visited the Basilica of the Virgen de Guadalupe. My grandmother was very devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We traveled to Queretaro, Guanajuato, and visited family in Morelia and Zacapu. We explored the unique towns of Tzintuzan, Paracho, Urapan, Santa Clara de Cobre and stayed a full month in San Miguel de Allende. I loved exploring Mexico with my grandma and listening to all the stories she had told me come alive. This vacation was one of the most culturally, eye-opening experiences of my life and I have so many precious memories.

My grandmother was an excellent seamstress. She devoted a great deal of time to sewing for others. She told me stories about how she made my mom’s wedding dress, and would make bridesmaid dresses for her and many of her relatives. Throughout my life she sewed many dresses for me, birthday dresses, my flower girl dress, my graduation and confirmation dresses, my Christmas formals and even two prom dresses. I am so thankful for all the time she took to care for me and very blessed that she lived nearby. She always encouraged me to learn and constantly asked my cousin Rachel and I when we were going to learn how to sew. We enrolled in a leisure learning class a few years ago, but we both ended up dropping the class because we didn’t like the teacher. My grandmother was a little disappointed in us because throughout her life she had collected hundreds of materials and she had a huge craft room at her house with a ton of supplies. I promised her that I would take a sewing class someday soon.

My grandmother had one of the sharpest minds and an amazing memory. She always remembered to call us on our birthdays and remembered the year that each of us were born because she had a story about something that happened that year. She was so thoughtful.

My grandmother also strongly encouraged her family to be actively involved in the political process. She never missed an opportunity to vote in an election and during the past three years when it became difficult for her to travel away from home, she would cast an absentee ballot. Then she would call us and make sure we went to the polls early to vote. We traveled with her to political conventions, and she and my grandfather worked behind the scenes to support my Uncle Marc with campaigning for many candidates. She and my grandpa worked the polls every election in November. My grandpa was a precinct chair. My grandma invited me to take the day off work to help them at the polls for the presidential and gubernatorial elections and I enjoyed working the polls with her and my grandpa seeing how passionate and dedicated they were to making sure everyone voted.

My grandmother loved her great grandchildren. She enjoyed having them over to her house and was thrilled anytime she had an opportunity to take care of them. She especially enjoyed supporting her eldest great grandson Dante at his baseball games. She attended everyone of his baseball games in little league and middle school. She was so supportive of all of us.

Her favorite sports team was the Houston Astros. Even during these last few months, even though she had stopped watching television, she wanted to know the score, who won the game.

Last Sunday, we celebrated my mom’s birthday at my grandmother’s house. That afternoon, my grandma hugged my mom, wished her a happy birthday and said she loved her so much. She also told me she loved me so much and emphasized how much she loved all her grandchildren and great grandchildren so much. Before I left that evening, my mom, Alex and I prayed the rosary with my grandmother.. My Grandma was truly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, she had strong faith in the power of praying the rosary. She prayed the rosary very often and she kept her rosaries close to her.. A few weeks ago, she said that when she is gone, if she is able to, she will be watching over all of us. I believe she is now an angel in heaven and will be watching over all of us.

I’m so thankful that I was fortunate to have spent so much time with her and that I was there to hold her hand at the end. I believe that she will be reunited in heaven with her sisters, her parents, her son Michael, my father Gilbert, her nephew Carlos, her great niece Claire and so many more relatives and friends. And, Hopefully one day, all of us will be reunited with her and all our family and friends in Heaven too. My grandmother provided us with a strong foundation of love and her legacy will live on in the lives of all of us. For now, we are comforted knowing her eternal love is never ending and she will be our angel watching over us from above.

Thank you grandma for We love you so much grandma, we will miss you immensely and we will always remember you!

Sabrina Midkiff posted this yesterday:

As I sit here reflecting on the beautiful life of Alicia Campos (my first mother-in-law) and mourn her passing, I wanted to share with you some thoughts on how important our matriarchs are to the young women in our families. As her family members have reflected in their various posts, Alicia was a great cook and she made the best homemade tortillas, cheese sauce and tamales I ever had. I would sit at the bar in her kitchen while she made these goodies and marvel at how easy it was for her and how delicious she could make it taste, my mouth watering for the next round. I asked her once to show me how to make the tortillas, and she did the usual — add “this much” flour and water to the tub, add the grease and mix until its “just right.” 

Then, she would look at me and say: “Don’t learn to make the tortillas. If you learn, you will always be the one in the kitchen making the tortillas.” Of course, she knew my desire to be active in government and I took her words as encouragement to pursue my dreams. She reminded me of my grandmother Jean Foster who, on a drive to her house in New Jersey, once told me to “do whatever YOU want to do.” 

I have been lucky to have a career in politics and government that I have enjoyed and have had the pleasure and honor of working on many great projects (like Minute Maid Park or the MOD Perinatal Safety Center!!). I remember today how if it wasn’t for matriarchs like Alicia Campos and my grandmother, I would not have had a strong foundation from which to pursue a career nor the will and confidence to lead great projects. 

Alicia’s legacy lives on in the beautiful lives of her children and grandchildren. She gave them a strong foundation of love and support and as they have reported in their own Facebook posts, she was critical to any success they encounter. Indeed, her grandchildren are beautiful young women and men who are already doing great things in our state and will rule our world one day soon. 

I am grateful to have been in her orbit and I have confidence in our future knowing that matriarchs like Alicia have inspired a generation of very cool women. 

I hope and pray that Alicia’s influence lives on in me and that my children and grandchildren (hopefully I have some one day!) will benefit from her legacy as well. 

Rest in peace dear Alicia. Blessings be with your family as they mourn your passing.

Thanks, Sab!

I will be back tomorrow. Thanks, everyone.

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