Thank you for taking the time to be here to celebrate the life of Magdalena Galvan.
Magdalena Galvan also known as Nena was born in Guadalajara to Paulina Rodriguez and Pablo Ruiz. She was the 4th of 6 children.
She was essentially raised by a single mother who moved to Tijuana where she made tortillas to support her children. My Nana often spoke of this time in which her mom would come home with ampollas on her hands because the tortillas were too hot and how that’s what she would bring home to eat because times were tough. Her siblings would make chonies from the flour sacks meant for tortillas. As they grew slightly older, they worked.
Nena did a series of things as a youngster. She cleaned houses, watched children (who weren’t much younger than she was), and mandados. She had a gift for creative projects and in her adult years worked as a seamstress and often made other beautiful crafts.
Magdalena was raised in a household where there was always love, hard work, and resourcefulness.
As she grew up, she grew tough skin and a little bit of street cred for being “la boxeadora.” I never really asked her how she got that nickname…I mean would you ask? I’ve seen what that woman could do with a chancla. I wasn’t willing to take the risk. I’m kidding.
She navigated a metropolitan city with her kindness, wit and some spice - qualities she carried until her very last day.
One day in Tijuana, she met a handsome young man named Ezequiel at the apartment complex where he lived. Nena and Cheque dated for some time and fell in love. She later got pregnant. These were the 1960’s when marriage was always to precede pregnancy so she, at a very young age, married.
I think God bore them this child because He knew that was the beginning of a long marriage to come. After María Guadalupe aka Lupe was born, she had my mother, Diana, and my Nino Javier.
That’s 3 whole kids no more than two years apart. She was a young mom, a new mom, a cool mom…
She raised her kids without judgment. She felt she experienced that quite a bit as a young mother and that’s not what she wanted to carry on so she gave her children support on their decisions.
My Nana Nena and Tata Cheque were the kind of people who welcomed everyone into their home. First in Tijuana and when they immigrated to the US, that warmth continued.
So their home always had 3 things: (1) support without judgment, (2) lots of food, and (3) lots of people! Nana welcomed everyone into her home. She didn’t need a long explanation or reason; if she had space (which she always made space) she’d say pasale and quedense conmigo!
For those who don’t know, my name is Daniela Luna and I am one of her three grandchildren. My older sister Mariana, my younger brother Pablo, and I had the privilege of growing up in the same household for the first few years of our lives and when the house across the street went on the market, well of course my parents got it. It must be within our genetic impulse to be close to our parents because Mariana just bought the house next door.
That was 3 generations of a family on the same street. Wowza!
Growing up with grandparents across the street allowed us to be around the same dinner table often. They were at every one of my t-ball games, Student of the Month ceremonies, and graduations. They were able to pick us up and take care of us after school when my parents were working.
Life has a way of making things full circle. As my Nana aged, we noticed some similarities between her memory and that of my Tata’s. The doctor confirmed that she had dementia. Slowly she began to lose memories surrounding events, places, and eventually us. This meant that at times when she was trying to go back to her home in Mexico and leave the “strangers” she was surrounded by it was my turn to tell her pasale quedese, conmigo!.
Our family went through this before with my Tata and something people don’t tell you is that you have to say goodbye to your loved one long before they’re physically gone. The cruel part about this illness is that you don’t know when you’ll be forgotten and when is the right moment to say goodbye. If I didn’t say this in time, today at your celebration of life, I’d like to say I love you and goodbye.
When she did have moments of clarity and realized how old her children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren were, she looked around at our choices in life and adjusted to the times. She was progressive with her view on life because happiness was key and judgment didn’t hold value. Whenever life came at us and we needed to make decisions, there was no right and wrong, and I knew if I ever wavered, I could always stay at Nana’s house.
Nana didn’t dictate our successes or judge us on what we chose in life. Nos dio la bendición and watched us on our way.
I hope to learn from her legacy and help when I can, love big, and support unconditionally. Thank you for teaching me that.
Thank you for being here. We hope to see you tomorrow at the church. Given the COVID climate and the current sensitivity of our family’s health, we will not be holding a reception. We would absolutely love to have a formal reception perhaps at the year mark of my Nana’s passing. Thank you again.