Minha Avó

Alondra Quiles - Brazil


November 19, 2016

I've never been good with receiving news.

I’ve never understood what the correct way to react is.

So imagine my luck when I walk into my living room on my way downstairs to the garage when suddenly my host dad says, “A mãe de Maria Jose faleceu 30 minutos atrás” (Maria Jose’s mother passed away 30 minutes ago).  

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I live with a family that respects how I feel about who I am in addition to their household but more importantly to their family. They refer to me as theirs and minha filha mais velia. But they do not realize just how special their family is to me and how much I appreciate being able to call them my family. Because although I don’t always state that they are my family, I do take pride in being a part of their life and being accepted with open arms into their home.

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I hadn’t spent too much time around my grandmother, although she does DID live just a few blocks away in the bright yellow house just a few blocks away.  She was a woman with so much love to give and to share with others. And immediately, I grew to love her as if I had grown up to call her my grandmother my entire life.

I still remember the first day my cousin Ana Maria had said that we were stopping by her OUR grandmother’s house so that she could meet me. Ana Maria spoke of her as the kindest, gentlest woman in the world. And she was right. When introduced to my grandmother I was introduced as the new daughter and instantly my grandmother greeted me with three kisses (In Brazil three kisses symbolizes an intimate relationship between two) and a big tight hug.

At that very moment my grandmother became a very special person in my life that I was looking forward to getting to know on a more personal level. Occasionally when walking to centro for Portuguese class or stopping by the market, I would stop by my grandmother’s house and greet her along with my tia Rose and my uncle and grandpa whenever they were around. No doubt about it, I was always welcomed with love.

So when I was told by my host dad the news… you can imagine how I felt. Yet, I had no idea how to demonstrate my feelings because my family has no clue how much I care and the impact it is actually having on me.

I’m thinking about what literally just happened about an hour ago and I am trying to comprehend how I will never be able to walk past the yellow house on my way to centro, knowing that the atmosphere will be completely different in that household. How I was not lucky enough to build a stronger relationship with my grandmother and how I won’t receive her affection anymore. It makes me realize the impact that we have on a community and the impact that people manage to have on us. How every person is ingrained into our life in one way or another.

I really don’t know… The confusion of what has happened. How one minute she was in the hospital because she had fallen and the next she is gone. The mixed emotions are currently present and all I can do now is be strong for my host mom and her family as this is a time that they are all in need of love and support.

Alondra Quiles