My family was supposed to be visiting our home island of Puerto Rico for Christmas for the first time in over 30 years. The trip was urgent as my paternal grandmother had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It may have been one of the last holidays we could spend with her before we lose her to this illness. On my mother’s side, the family has already prepared for us an extravagant homecoming with traditional Puerto Rican dishes: a party to reunite both families during difficult times.
The plan to get there seemed almost too good to be true. My parents and I flew to Tampa International Airport on Christmas Eve, where my sister joined us after flying in from San Antonio that morning. From there, the whole family flew together that evening to the San Juan airport. But everything turned out to be wrong.