Tag Archives: Experience

America the Beautiful

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AMERRRIIICCCAAAA AMEEEERRRRIIICCCAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ‘MURCA!

I’m sure there are thousands of blog posts out there focused on the US Presidential Election. I’m sure some of these posts bash Republicans, and others bash Democrats. I’m sure some of those blogs are written by people who aren’t even in the states but this election has affected the WORLD in such a way that everyone is feeling a bit of pain or happiness.

I’m sure some talk about everything I’m about to talk about and more.

However, I feel if I don’t blog about this I might never shut up about it on social media and I’m getting tired of even my own posts about this election to be honest. I really can’t help it. You don’t have to read my blog and you don’t have to like my blog. You don’t even have to agree. It’s mine to write on.

Let’s start with a few facts. I don’t discriminate against anyone who doesn’t agree with my views as long as they disagree in a civil manner. I have so many Trump supporting friends who are respectful and who understand that I am entitled to my own opinions. I voted Bernie. I am still very irritated that Hillary ran instead of Bernie, let’s make that clear. I am also devastated to see Obama go. I voted for Hillary. I am not a lazy, jobless, liberal. I do not believe in gun control, I do believe in legalizing pot, I am pro-choice, and I’m a Catholic. I am constantly called a liberal because of my age, it is constantly assumed that I’ve had a handful of abortions and I want all the pot. It is constantly assumed that I’m scared of guns and an atheist. It is constantly assumed that I feel entitled and that I am too stupid to carry my own weight. I am none of these things. I am an individual with different views on different things with different values who would like to not be labeled.

Barack and Michelle have represented our country with such grace and class, I’m not sure we’ll ever get that back. I am truly going to miss them. I don’t care if you’re not a Democrat or if you didn’t agree with their policies or the changes they’ve made, you can’t take that away from them. Hillary is scary, I will not sugar coat it and I won’t ever say she would be an exceptional President, because I don’t believe she would be. I did believe she’d keep our heads above water until the next election though.  Trump. My Lord….Trump. Insane, big mouthed, trashy, ill mannered and sexist. Hillary has a past that would make even the KKK shake in their boots and Trump is just a disgusting human being who will, and has, embarrassed this country. I just hope they script everything that comes out of his mouth from ordering a burger to making public speeches, he’s just that damn offensive. I feel he is unprepared for his position as Hillary has spent most of her life building up to this only to lose. I wanted Trump to lose more than I wanted Hillary to lose is my point. I believe Trump is one of those people that will abuse his power, we have taken hate and given him a huge, fat, fist. I would not have chosen Hillary to be our first female president, I don’t feel she deserves that title, but I just really could not get behind Trump.

Trump has promoted hate, bullying and racism throughout his entire campaign. Do I believe he can just go out and deport everyone? No. Do I believe he’s going to just flip the entire country upside down in four years? He might, but it’ll be difficult to do since he’s not the only one who makes the decisions. Do I believe that my Republican friends promote this hate and bigotry? Absolutely not. What I do believe, however, is he has enabled every single person who has always been racist and who has always been hateful to act out. He has encouraged these people to treat anyone who is not like them, like dirt. As if they are not part of the foundation of this country. As if they don’t have anything positive to offer us. They should “go back” to their country because they wear hijabs or speak another language. Pure ignorance is swallowing us up. I’ve seen videos that made my stomach turn. People pulling off hijabs, throwing around racial slurs, threatening people and so forth. This is scary. Children in elementary schools are bringing up the fact that Trump is now president, so now the brown people need to leave. The comments on these posts throw me for a loop every single time! “Oh, they’re just kids. Hate and racism has always been around. Don’t blame Trump”. I’m not blaming Trump for racist people and their racist acts, I’m blaming him for making it okay.

I am a first generation American. My parents are immigrants. My mother has a green card, she is not an American citizen. She has worked her ass off in this country and continues to do so. She does not mooch. She does not break the law. She is a woman who is just trying to survive. We are not tan. We look like your every day white people. We do speak Portuguese, and I am a little scared to speak it in public. This still affects us, our hearts still bleed for those who are openly harassed day to day. When people say, “Oh Trump is just talk while Hillary is a murderer!”, it does make me think for a minute. Is he just some guy on a power trip that spews bullshit? Or has he not committed these crimes because he hasn’t had the opportunity…Yet? What’s frightening to me is how many people just completely downplay these events, I seriously cannot get over it! They truly do not believe Trump is capable of causing harm, please get your head out of your asses. Everyone has the potential to do harm. Everyone.

Let’s flip the coin for a second. These riots, the burning of flags, the fighting, coming from the opposite side. This is no way to protest. This is no way to represent our communities. It is not okay to fight unless you are being attacked. It is not okay to burn flags, we need to respect this nation as Donald Trump wasn’t more than some reality TV star trash bag until now. Why are we letting him shake us so? Why are we stooping to their level of hatred? Beating up on a Trump supporter walking down the street just because they’re wearing a Trump hat is not making you look like you have a true purpose. I understand this situation is bringing out the worst in us but we need to stand up the right way. We have no control over the fact that he’s the president at this point. Eight years ago I said, “I don’t care about anyone’s thoughts on Barack Obama becoming President, the fact of the matter is he is our President and we must respect him until he gives us a reason DURING his presidency to make us feel otherwise”. I feel the same way about Trump. He is our leader now and we have to at least give him a chance, and if he messes this up, then we’ll have a reason to really revolt.

What pisses me off is 8 years ago, these people who are spreading so much hate and racism didn’t say that we should respect Obama and are now expecting it for Trump. Practice what you preach or shut the hell up. Period. People actually feel okay to fly confederate/nazi flags, people actually feel okay with shouting ‘Ni****’, people actually feel okay with telling their children they’re not to play with kids who aren’t white at school, people actually feel okay with telling others that they cannot speak another language because it’s the new “law”. IGNORANT, STUPID, MISINFORMED IDIOCY! What are we if we don’t all respect each other? Do we expect other countries to respect us as a country? We are the butt of everyone’s jokes. It’s we as a people who are making it this way. We need to get our shit together. I am all for people with different opinions and views, just don’t push that shit onto everyone else, especially with violence.

So many are saying, “Hillary should’ve traded places with Bernie”. Where the hell were all of you during the primaries? I am angry. Bernie would’ve had a real chance over Trump. Bernie was part of the change we wanted to see. Better luck next time, let this be a lesson to those of you who didn’t vote. In addition, if you didn’t vote, you have no right to complain. You have no right to protest or to bitch. You did nothing but expected results. That is not how it works!

To those of you who have experienced this hate first hand. Please know that where there is bad, there is always good. You are loved. You are wanted here. You will always find people around you to help you and support you if in need. The racists and bigots have always been racists and bigots. They’ve just been injected with pride and a sense of superiority. We will get past this, it will get better. You did not come here to fail or to be dragged through the mud, you came here for the same reason my parents and grandparents came here. To make something of yourself. For a chance. A real chance. LGBTQ and women, we have come too far and have gone through too much to let this shake us. We are stronger as a team. Stick together. Spread love among the hate. Spread strength and unity. Spread fearlessness and class.

Spread hope.

 

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27

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I haven’t written in forever SORRY. Friday was my birthday and man am I creeping up in age. I get people all the time who are like “you’re ONLY 27”, but they’re just not understanding how I feel about this. I’m 27 and I don’t have much to show for it in my mind.

Yes, I have a gorgeous daughter and a loving boyfriend. Yes, I have a good job. Yes, I haven’t died yet. Okay. When I was 16 I had a plan, a check list, an idea of where I would be at the glorious age of 27.

  1. Master’s in Psychology degree achieved, going for my doctorate. I was on the right track at 18 when I was taking SO many units in college and into my early twenties but I WILL finish this dream. Even if I have to attend college while my child is in college.
  2. Buy my own house, without a partner. All by myself. I had a house but I let HIM keep it.
  3. Find the love of my life. Which I did just in the nick of time.
  4. I know this one seems a bit petty but I really wanted to have that cookie cutter marriage and one child. ONE CHILD ACHIEVED AND IT’S AWESOME! But no marriage. Imagine if I would have married him? Ew.
  5. I would have traveled all of Europe and Australia by now.
  6. Attend more than 100 concerts (including festivals).
  7. Experience the Fado houses in Portugal.
  8. Attend a World Cup Match
  9. Start a blog (I did it! Not a successful one, but I wanted to find a healthier outlet)
  10. Be happy. Genuinely happy. You see I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot in my life to be happy about, don’t get me wrong. But there is so much that I need to change to make me genuinely 100% happy. Getting there.

 

The thing about this list is, I was young and stupid. Nothing ever goes as planned in life, and that’s okay as long as you GET IT DONE EVENTUALLY. Real life shit held me back. Not laziness, not a lack of motivation, but situations that I could and could not control. Looking back at this I’m realizing that I gave myself very little time to conquer the world and I’ve been beating myself up for it for years now. I need to cut myself a little slack, but that’s hard to do. I’m absolutely my worst critic and I don’t see that ever changing. Little by little I’m accomplishing these things and my list keeps growing. I AM grateful, I love my life, I LOVE my daughter, I love my partner, I love my true friends, but I’m having a hard time loving myself right now for multiple reasons. It makes things complicated when you don’t fully love yourself, I seriously mean that. I have to get back on track. I used to love myself and along the way I just got lost. Some days are better than others, some days I wake up and think – I wouldn’t want to be anybody else – and other days I just want to tear myself apart. I have to remind myself to be positive. Happy birthday to me and yay for self realization.

I’m at a stand still.

I need to move. Get it going, get it together.

Go.

Self Destruction

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Why are people so self destructive? I don’t mean physically, really, I mean mentally. We often times are the creators of our own drama. So much is created inside of our heads, mostly because we care too much about others and we dwell too much on situations. Every day I come across conversations, people venting about their lives and situations. Too often do I hear women go on and on about a million ways their significant other is probably cheating on them. Too often do hear people talk about how horrible their lives are and how much better things would be if this or that just happened.

I’m guilty of this. My life would be easier if I won the lottery. My life would be easier if my ex would just drop dead. My life would be easier if people would just stop being assholes.

We sit here and are so inside of our heads, we just go on and on until we’ve driven ourselves crazy. Why do we do this? The world is crazy enough without us having to augment issues in our minds. Your boyfriend is cheating on you? Maybe? No? Perhaps? You will find out when the times comes, and if that time ever does come, then worry. Don’t just worry, leave the piece of shit. If you feel your life is so horrible, please take a moment and figure out what you can do to make it better. Now, as I’m typing this I’m figuring out ways to do this myself because I have a lot of improvements to make personally. I’m very self aware. I’m not going to give you the same advice everyone else does because it’s all shit.

“Your life is tough but think of Syria”.

“Your life is tough but think of Africa”.

“Your life is tough but think of the Holocaust”.

Shut the hell up.

Yes, there are many things that occur and have occurred in the world much worse than going bankrupt, losing your car, divorce, your children hating you and so on. Sure. That doesn’t make these problems any less real to YOU. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be upset about your situation. That DOES mean you should be proactive, because you do have control over your life. You have control of who you surround yourself with. You have control over who you let affect your emotions, your well being, YOUR SANITY. Don’t let situations make you feel like your LIFE is a mess, don’t let people have the power to hurt you. Especially selfish people, because they don’t care about you. Hell, they don’t even think about you because they’re so busy thinking about themselves.

I can feel my sanity slipping because of these people, why have I allowed this?

Why have you allowed this?

The Urge

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She had been living her life in a daze, twisting and turning with the motions as if in a a black sea of doubt and failure. She had people who claimed to love her, she had a beautiful daughter, and a decent job. She attempted to consume her misery by focusing on others and their happiness, but still, something was missing. She worked hours upon hours only to find no gratitude or growth in her path, but that was okay, because at least she had a job. She wasn’t homeless, yet. She wasn’t hopeless, yet.

She found someone who could lift her spirits, much like her daughter had been able to do, since birth. Then she found something different inside of her, something she couldn’t explain. Always analyzing, always fearful, doubtful, creating issues out of nothing. Creating issues out of something. So where does this leave her? Is it better to over analyze moments, actions, or lack there of…Or is it better to assume everything is fine until it blows up in her face? Again.

She could feel herself unraveling, coming undone. She was changing before her eyes, no longer caring about anyone else but her daughter. She didn’t care about what her parents thought, or siblings, or family…In fact she was one comment away from putting them all in their place. Holding up a mirror so they can see themselves, so they can realize how fucked up they are. So fucked up that anytime they dared to pinpoint her faults, she just laughed.

One morning, she woke up and began her day as she usually did. Convincing herself that it would be a better day, hiding her fears and insecurities behind makeup as she always has. Brushing her hair while in deep thought, planning out her day. She looks at her daughter, asleep and so peaceful, remembering a happier time and hoping her daughter never has to suffer. Every time she looks at her, her eyes swell up with tears; sometimes from sadness, others from joy and admiration. She looks away and begins to dress.

She catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and looks away, never being able to make eye contact for reasons she still can’t seem to unfold. She decides that maybe that’s the problem, what is she so scared of? And then she looked in the mirror, staring deeply into her own eyes.

Lost.

Where are you? Where are you? She searches. She closes her eyes and then opens them again. Ah…There. There are you are. Hi. It’s been a while.

The Tank

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I picked up my daughter after work yesterday, like any other day. Her father called to speak with her from prison, which I allow, and they have exactly fifteen minutes to talk. I feel relieved that he called during our thirty minute commute back home because I needed a moment to myself to get over the crappy day I had; I always need a moment like this if I’ve had a bad day to make sure my attitude is positive around Victoria. Once finished, Victoria hands over the phone and I ask her about her day, as usual. We talk about the Thanksgiving lunch they had in class and she tells me all that she’s learned about the Pilgrims and Indians. I smile and tell her how much I love her. I always feel the need to reassure her, to make sure she understands that I will never leave her side…

“I love you…So, so much Victoria. I’m so proud of you honey.”

“I love you too Mãe. Thanks.”

“You’re my absolute best friend.”

“Mãe, you can’t be…You’re my mom.”

“What?! Sure I can!! I love you thiiiisssssss much!” *stretches arm out*

“Wooooow that’s a lot! Well I love you thiiiiiisssssssssss much more!” *extends both arms out* *pauses for a minute* “Actually…No.”

“Hmm…?”

“Actually Mommy…I have a tank!”

“I don’t understand amor.”

“Yeah. I have a tank inside of me. Actually Mãe, we all have tanks inside of us. I fill up my tank with love. Love for you, love for Avó, love for Avô, love for Pae and Titias and everyone!”

“Oh, is that right?”

“Yes! But my tank is mostly full of love for you mom. You’re my favorite mommy! But sometimes, my tank feels empty. Like when daddy doesn’t come and see me. But then! Then mommy comes and fills it up again! You’re a good tank filler mom.”

“Honey, daddy will see you soon. He loves you so much, he always wants to see you.”

“Yeah…Well…I know. It’s okay, I have you right? Always?”

“Yes, honey, always.”

“See! Mãe, do I fill up your tank?”

“As long as I have you, my tank is never empty”

She moved on to a different topic, as she normally takes control of our conversations. For some reason I couldn’t shake our previous conversation, I wondered where she got that from, or if she made it up on her own. A tank. My six year old has a better concept of how love works than most people, and how it affects us. We all have tanks that can be emptied and filled every day, depending on the circumstance. Some situations empty us, and others fill us, and some people do the same. We all have one, but is it empty? Full? Functioning? Cracked? Leaking? Who fills it? Who do we allow to empty it? Are we in control of this? I spent years with an empty tank not realizing that my “tank filler” was always there, staring up at me. Sitting there in all of her youth…And oddly, all of her wisdom. This little person teaches me something new every day.

I think what I would like to teach her down the line is that we shouldn’t rely on anyone to fill our tank…We should be able to fill that ourselves; everyone else is just the “top off”. How could I, when she’s the only one who fills my tank to the brim? Overflowing, making a beautiful mess inside me of emotions.

Is your tank full?

Unrequited Love

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I saw this interesting video today about unrequited love;it was meant to be funny, and it was. But then I got to thinking. Most of the time when one thinks of unrequited love, we think of a one sided love that the other side is not aware of. Maybe you’re in love with your best friend and they aren’t aware of it, or you have a crush on someone who might have a crush on you back but you’re too scared to admit to this, leaving the two of you in a permanent “friend zone” vortex. These are common scenarios, but I realized that this is true for a lot of different situations. What’s worse? A love in which the other person isn’t aware of, leaving you to wonder for the rest of your life “what if”? Or…Loving someone who is fully aware of your love for them, and they neither throw you away nor keep you. You’re just there.

See, I know many who are in relationships where the love is 100% one sided, yet that person won’t leave. They’re treated as if there are a hundred million things that other person would rather be doing than stand in the same room as them let alone be in a relationship with them. Yet, there they are, Facebook official. All smiley and shit on their feed pictures but miserable behind the screen. There’s a particular couple I know who comes to mind and every time I think about it I feel so angry and sad that she is allowing this to happen to her. He was seemingly great at first and then his attitude changed and she was left wondering what happened. She would vent about how he didn’t care about her, how he chose his friends over her, how he was a cheater, etc. She would ask why he didn’t just leave, why lead her on? Why cheat? Why waste her time? I had to keep explaining to her that a love that is not reciprocated, is not a love worth having. That there are other people out there. She shouldn’t let herself get pushed around or used in such a way.

It’s such a childish thing to me, to be in a relationship you’re not happy in (unless there’s mental illness or emotional disease involved then I understand to a degree). These selfish people always wait until the other person is at the very end of their rope, ready to jump, to grow the balls to leave. Why hurt someone so purposefully? Why let someone feel that way, every second of every day, like life is just going to blow up in their face at any moment? I could never understand why people could have such a lack of self respect to let another treat them any less than they deserve.

We’re not all perfect, but no one deserves to have their time wasted or their heart toyed with. Maybe my mind is just not wise enough to grasp the concept that not everyone has the ability to be honest or to do good. That people really do get a kick out of messing with other people’s emotions. They’re completely capable of saying one thing and doing the opposite. They’re okay with lying to your face. They’re okay with watching you cry. They’re fine with witnessing the struggle in your eyes as you try to love them with every ounce of your being. Clawing at a relationship that will never evolve. Emptiness.

Have you ever searched for someone in a crowded room only to find out they were searching for you too, and there’s that moment of relief that you’ve found each other? Now imagine that same scenario, only that person is looking for someone else.

Unrequited Love. Tragic.

Avô

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You didn’t know him. In fact, if you did, you probably wouldn’t even like him. Growing up, we always heard stories about how terrible he was to his numerous children and to his wife. He was an immigrant who brought this family from the Azores to the United States to start a better life. I never understood this, in the Azores he had a good job and they did okay for themselves (from what I’m told). Everyone around us, judging him and talking about him as if we weren’t standing right there. “We” being his grandchildren, the people who saw a side of him that no one else knew or understood. Sure, we only knew him as our avô, but that’s just it…That’s what mattered to us. Yes, he was a hard man who rarely smiled and had a pretty aggressive personality, However, his grandchildren always made him laugh and smile. We were his weakness.

I remember the days when he’d watch me after school because my single mother worked all hours of the day and night to support us. He would walk to the school and we’d walk back together, hand in hand. I did most of the talking, of course, but he didn’t mind. He would listen patiently and finally ask if I’d like to help him in the backyard. He loved his garden, his pigeons and his paint. He ended up moving to a different town with my grandmother when my mom decided it’d be a good idea to move in with her boyfriend’s family. My grandparents lived in a small trailer where my avô had the freedom to plant and paint whatever he damn well pleased, and he did. I joke that the only thing keeping that trailer together, until this day, is all of the layers of paint. I spent a couple of weeks every summer at their house until I turned 18, after that, I visited at least once a week. I could sit and talk to my grandparents for hours, listening to their stories and advice.

My avô would sit at the kitchen table every day and watch soccer or some other crappy show on the Portuguese channel and complain the entire time. I think I was the only person who didn’t mind this, it always made me laugh. I would sit and vent to him about various things and he would just laugh and tell me how dramatic I was being. My grandparents didn’t speak English, so other cousins only really came around when their parents were around. I tried to make it a point to visit as often as possible since I lived so close by and I liked to help whenever they’d allow.

When  I became pregnant, my grandfather would always say he wouldn’t be alive to meet Victoria. The joy in his eyes when that day came was something that I will never forget. He would just watch her in awe, mostly  because it had been about 10 years since anyone in our family had a baby. Once Victoria started growing, she became more active and was no stranger to getting into trouble. When I would scold her my grandfather would knock me on the head with his middle finger and tell me to leave her alone…She’s a sweet angel. I always laughed at this and I would remind him that she’d be worse once the teenage years approached…In which he would remind me that he wouldn’t be around to see that.

 And he wasn’t.

        He fell ill, recovered, and then fell ill again. His hospital visits were becoming more and more frequent until finally he had to use an oxygen tank and was too weak to stand for too long. I started visiting more frequently, much to my ex’s dismay. I tried to keep things as normal as possible by doing what we always did with each other and following the same routine. I would walk in, give my grandmother a kiss, leave Victoria in the living room with her toys, and walk straight to the backyard because I always knew he was there. It was like he was waiting for me every time. I would call him from the door and he would whistle, letting me know where he was. It was always a hassle getting to where he was sitting, in the middle of his garden. Grape vines, tall leaves of Kale and various fruit trees he invested all of his time in, covered the entire area. I would peak through the hanging leaves and he would look up at me and smile while sitting in his favorite chair. I would give him a kiss and he would say, “you get uglier and uglier each time I see you”.

         This time, it was different, he was different. The process remained but his eyes were so empty. He looked so tired, but his humor remained. Right on the other side of his trailer was a cemetery, and we could hear mourners sometimes, it would always creep me out. He would say, “look at that, all I have to do is jump the fence when I’m dead!”, and I would giggle because it was uncomfortable but funny. I would sneak him packs of cigarettes because they’re what kept him happy. He had been smoking since he was 12, so quitting would just kill him faster. He would hang the oxygen tank hose on the fence and smoke his cigarette; sharing stories with me and joking about how my grandmother would kill us if she found out he was smoking. As strange as this memory is, it always makes me smile. He was always going against the grain, thinking his own thoughts, quoting his own words. I always admired that about him, he always reminded me to be my own woman and to not let anyone call the shots. He was my male figure at the time, the man I looked up to, there to give me advice when I needed it (besides my Uncle Troy). I hadn’t spoken to my father for four years at the time and didn’t start speaking to him until I left Robert.

         Shortly after when I went over, he was sitting on the couch with a vacant expression on his face, eyes glazed over. I gave my grandmother a kiss and walked over to him and sat down. He didn’t look at me, but I started talking to him anyway. He never responded but I knew he was listening, I also knew his time was coming and that scared me. His health deteriorated so quickly, I didn’t have time to take in what was soon to come. We’re never really ready are we? I got a call the next morning…He’s passed. In my kitchen, making breakfast, I turned everything off and walked to my living room. I sat on the floor, I had no idea how to feel or how to react; I felt so empty, so confused, I couldn’t even cry. I left my daughter with my ex and drove over to where my family was, it wasn’t until later that day that it truly hit me. He was gone. Who would pick on me and call me “too skinny” now? Who would tell me that boys ain’t shit and my daughter would punish me by being just like me? Who would paint the trailer and take care of the garden? Who would twist my ear when I said something stupid? Or talk about soccer with me? Or sit in silence with me and stare out at nothing, in a garden near a cemetary?

             I didn’t know. I just wanted him back. I was asked to write a eulogy in Portuguese 30 minutes before the funeral, which I was fine with, but I was nervous and scared and sad. The last thing I wanted to do was talk, if you could believe it. The service was beautiful and so was my cousin’s eulogy. I had no one to vent to or cry to during this time since my ex kept telling me, “Oh, my dad died, you’ll be fine and get over it. It happens everyday”. Not a hug. Not an, “it’s going to be okay”, nothing. I’ve never seen my grandmother react the way she did that day, in fact, I had never even seen her shed a tear before that day. She sobbed and begged for God to bring him back. I stood up to speak at the podium and I was surprised at how many people showed up to pay their respects, he didn’t have friends and didn’t talk to his extended family. It was nice to know that there were those who actually cared enough to show up, even if it was just for my grandmother’s sake.

           Months later, my grandmother had someone gut the entire backyard. She said she just couldn’t take care of it by herself, but I think it was mostly because it hurt her to see it. I think about him a lot. I remember one day, a month or so after I left Robert, Victoria came to me in the early morning and gave me a big hug. I smelled cigarettes and Old Spice in her hair and on her clothes, it was the strangest thing. No one else was in the house, it was just us, and she smelled just like my grandfather did. I couldn’t hold back my tears,I just held her close and she started telling me about a dream she had. “Avô was there and we were at the beach!”, she exclaimed. I looked her in the face and asked if she talked to him a lot and she said, “yes mommy, all the time!”. I am Catholic, but I never believed in any of these things before she came to me that day. Every once in a while she’ll talk about him until this day, or the smell of cigarettes and Old Spice will wake me in the middle of a dead sleep.

I miss him so. He’s taking care of us, I just know it. It’s been three years this past Monday, and I can still picture his piercing blue eyes.