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Celebrating an Amazing Woman

Updated: Jun 30, 2018

I have been absent lately due to the passing of my grandmother Ada as she recently lost her battle with lymphoma. This post is not to bring sadness, but to share photos, bring recognition to the beauty she was and to celebrate an incredible woman.

As a photographer, I love that I get to capture moments to be preserved and passed on for generations. I am incredibly thankful for the photographer that captured these images; I will forever cherish their beauty.

My mother gave me the honor to be in charge of the photo boards to be displayed at my Noni's visitation and my grandpa gave me free reign to go through his albums. As a photographer, discovering old black and white photos are like a gold mine. My grandparents have some absolutely stunning captured memories from when they first met.

I have been so thankful and blessed to visit with my grandfather everyday, including week's prior to my grandmother's passing. We have sat for hours at his kitchen table - eating, talking and listening - sometimes listening to silence. Each second cherished.

I have asked him to share stories with me of how he met my grandmother and reminisce the good times. Some would say they met by chance or coincidence, but I believe the stars, moon and sky aligned, and their spirits became one the day they met.

I am making memories while listening to memories. This experience has been surreal and yet so beautiful.

Noni was a wife to a military man. She raised their kids (my mother Blanca and uncle Luis) at home while grandpa was overseas fighting; both having to sacrifice so much. Their faith was inspiring and no doubt got both of them through their challenges.

Together they traveled the world and shared a lifetime of love and adventures. Their story is beyond beautiful.

Today as we laid her to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery, I wanted to document what will be our final photos with Ada.

As our pastor started his prayer, a butterfly hovered over her casket and landed on top of this window sill.

Noni was with us.

She was an avid Yankees fan. The funeral home director presented my grandfather with a Yankees baseball at her ceremony, such a thoughtful gesture that made our family smile.

Although there were tears, we shared laughs, hugs and were together as family - exactly what Noni would have wanted.

Noni, you were the epitome of love and grace. I am so thankful to be your granddaughter and to have been able to spend the time I had with you here. You and Nono sacrificed so much for us and the family; that will never go unappreciated. You always showed me love and always wanted to give (whether it was by feeding me even though I wasn’t hungry or always giving me good advice by telling me to trust God-you never let me leave your home empty handed). You gave love freely with no expectations. You showed me to take care of my heath, to forgive quickly and when in doubt, dance the merengue. And that smile of yours; Nono said it best when he said “She was one of a kind.” I love you so much and I will miss you, but I know your spirit lives within me and our family. Dios te bendiga Noni! Rest well.


Your "Nala”

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Unknown member
May 27, 2018

Thank you so much Danielle! Blessings to you are yours!


I loved this entire piece Natalie. First, condolences for a wonderful lady lost to you and your family. Two, the older photographs and the photographs you added of the funeral are absolutely beautiful.

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