Jenny’s abuelos celebrating their wedding anniversary Jenny Lorenzo
Orquídea Díaz died a little less than a year ago, five days before her husband who was terminally ill. “They were married for 63 years and 5 months,” Lorenzo added. “She literally died of a broken heart.”
This was a painful time for Lorenzo.
She spoke to her grandparents regularly and loved visiting them at home and spoiling them. Her grandmother enjoyed chocolate covered cherries, her grandfather enjoyed traditional Cuban pastries. Lorenzo’s grandmother also loved stuffed animals so she would buy her one every now and then.
“Losing them was like losing parents,” she said.
Lorenzo has found the strength to not only carry on with the Abuela character but to bring laughter to others who have experienced a similar loss.
“A lot of people have reached out saying that the Abuela character means so much to them because it reminds them of home. It reminds them of their mom or their abuela,” she said.
Some people have even told Lorenzo the character helps them keep the memory of their grandmother alive, something Lorenzo doesn’t take lightly.
“As a comedian, personally, it feels great knowing that you’re not doing your work for the purpose of cheap laughs. It goes beyond laughter. You want to be able to change lives.”
People have told her the Abuela videos have even helped them through other tough times like during chemo treatments or breakups. Lorenzo couldn’t have imagined the impact the role would have had on others during some of their most trying times, “Here I am wearing a wig and saying, ‘Coño, carajo! Put on a sweater!’ and it’s really making an impact on people’s lives beyond just laughter.”
But in the end, everything comes back to Lorenzo’s grandmother, “This is my grandma and it’s me trying to keep her legacy alive in a humorous way.” In all of her videos you will find a prop that is connected to Lorenzo’s grandparents. Whether it’s their picture on the refrigerator in the background or even the fly swatter that Lorenzo made sure to take from her grandparents’ home after they passed.
“My grandma lived with that fly swatter! She killed a lot of bugs!” said Lorenzo, laughing.
As far as what the future holds for Abuela, “I hope to take Abuela to bigger lengths. I feel a lot more confident in her now,” Lorenzo said.