Soy La Hija de Mi Abuela

Soy La Hija de Mi Abuela
I am the daughter of my grandmother

Growing up, I was always with my grandma.  I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in the countryside of Wisconsin, riding horses with my grandpa, gardening and cooking with my grandma, and spending time with my family…kickin’ it country bumpkin style. I absolutely loved living on a farm when I was younger, and more than anything, living with my grandparents.

As a little girl, I learned a lot from my grandma.

She taught me how to shoot a gun…


How to raise bees and make honey….

How to cook and grow a garden…

And, she even taught me how to gamble.

Looking back…she taught me some badass stuff.

I lived with my grandma for most of my life. She was like a mother to me. She came to all my sporting events, attended all my graduations, and even came out to visit me when I moved to California. Once I was old enough, she was always down to pop a bottle of wine and sit under the stars.

She was my grandmother, my mother, and one of my best friends.

So when she passed away last month, I was am crushed and heartbroken. It all happened so fast and too soon. It wasn’t her time. I wasn’t ready.

Is anyone ever really ready for death?

I selfishly began my Peace Corps journey hugging my friends and family goodbye, boarding a plane and putting all of them on pause. 2 years will go by so fast, I promised myself. Everyone will be just where I left them when I get back, like nothing ever changed.

But life has a funny way of reminding you it can’t be controlled or predicted.


Over the past few months, I’ve faced one of the biggest challenges of my life while living abroad in a foreign country, immersed in a new language, integrating into a new community and culture alone, and trying to start my own work and projects.

I’m kinda one of those people who doesn’t accept that I’m stressed until my jeans don’t fit anymore and I’m suddenly in the corner of a community soccer field crying uncontrollably and wiping my snotty face on a giant leaf. That may or may not have actually happened.

I’ll be honest. I’ve thought about throwing in the towel and going home…on a level 4-5/10 kind of way. It’s been really difficult to find my rhythm here and integrate into my community when my mind has been so preoccupied.

But like my mom says, the best thing you can do in the face of struggle and sadness is keep going. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m continuing on this path I’ve hewed for myself in what seems to be the bushiest forest in all the land.

And if it weren’t for the support of my family, friends, Peace Corps community and my host community, I might’ve just gotten lost in the brush.

My family at my grandma’s funeral.


After returning home for my grandma’s funeral, I’m finally back at site, getting ready to take on the seventh month of my service. I know the next few days will bring an overwhelming sense of readjustment and acclimation, but today I feel empowered and energized after spending time with my family, reconnecting with my home and finding a sense of peace and closure after saying goodbye to my grandma.


Cheers to you grandma. You were one hell of a lady.




8 thoughts on “Soy La Hija de Mi Abuela

  1. Kim November 11, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    Hi Tilly! This tribute to your grandma was so beautiful. I wish there was something I could say to you to fill that hole in your heart. I know it will never go away, but hope after time has passed it wont hurt so much. Anyway, I wanted to tell you how over the top excited I was to finally meet you again. You were just a toddler the first time, so I know you dont remember me and honestly that one time was not enough for me to hang on to either. I just know I told your mom over and over again how beautiful both you and Jake were. This time I know I will remember you. The words you spoke in tribute to Janet were amazing and I know if she was listening she would have loved it and been so proud of you. I told you how much I enjoy reading your posts, so until the next time, we will stay connected this way. Have a blessed holiday honey. Love, Kimmie


    • tilyianmorrin November 14, 2016 / 10:25 am

      Aw Kimmie thanks so much! It was so wonderful to finally meet you too after all these years and all the stories my mom tells! It means a lot to me that you’re following along on my journey. Thanks so much for reading. Much love, tily


  2. Roxanne November 11, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    What a fantastic article! You’re right,It went to fast and it wasn’t her time to die. It was great to have you home and help withinin our whole family to start healing and moving forward!! It was fun to hear stories about grandma. You have a lot of grandma in you. You have have become such a strong beautifule woman. I love you Tily!


    • tilyianmorrin November 14, 2016 / 10:30 am

      So glad I got the chance to see gma in August and also come home last month. It meant so much to me to be able to spend time healing with you and all the family. We are all strong and beautiful women because of grandma. She taught us all so much and her spirit continues to shine through each and every one of us! So much love Roxanne! Love, Tily


  3. shirley seltzer November 12, 2016 / 6:22 pm

    Hi Tilley,

    Loved your post about Janet, those photos are wonderful. some I had not seen and I think she looks great. Yes, she was a wonderful person, she always loved children. I remember when we were all home, perhaps in Jr. High, I would ask my Mom “Where is Janet?” and she replied that she was either up at Westlunds, taking care of the Kraemer girls or taking care of Patti Pipp. Yes, she always loved children. I too remember watching you play basketball, you were really a good player. I know you will do well with the Peace Corp you are involved in and loved reading your post. My daughter Chris reads it too and she suggested perhaps you might consider a career in Journalism since you write so well!!!



    • tilyianmorrin November 14, 2016 / 10:27 am

      Hi Shirley yes to me grandma was always such a “grandma.” She was so caring and loved being with her children and family. Such a wonderful lady she was. Thanks to you and Chris for following along. Love, tily


  4. shirley seltzer June 9, 2017 / 11:33 am

    > Begin forwarded message: > > From: A Peace Corps Journey > Subject: [New post] #Food Friday: Chorreadas (Costa Rican Corn Pancakes) > Date: June 9, 2017 at 10:18:43 AM CDT > To: > Reply-To: A Peace Corps Journey > >


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