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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Goodbye, sweet Tia

05:54 Posted by Afro Latina , , , No comments

I can still see the child in me, going for some rare Sunday visits to my grandparents. They were sweet towards me, to the extent I couldn't really believe whenever mom told me of her hard childhood with cruel parents.  That nurturing lady who gave me hot chocolate and spoke about life with a soft, nurturing voice? No way she could have been that bad. I wish to develop on it further, as I now know that people can uphold different personalities at different times of their lives. The story I would like to share today has a different tone. Or it does not, as I write about change, anyway. 

Those visits call for another memory, a sweet one, as well. My dear auntie whom we tenderly called Tia Tianinha. I loved to visit her and listen to her stories, even though she was usually busy cleaning her tiny home. It looked like so much effort, so much to do. The place was so small but she was very careful in leaving it spotless. 

Life did not run smoothly on her. I remember mom telling us about her ex-husband, how she suffered unspeakable domestic violence and how he ended up drinking poison and spending months (or was it years?) dying slowly at the hospital. Most of all, I remember my mom acknowledging how strong of a woman Tia Tianinha was, even though she was so tiny and looked so frail from the outside.

I was not very close to her, as my mom is not very attached to her family. So we rarely visited, and I can’t really remember the last time she made it to our home (I mean mom’s home, as I now live abroad and she would never consider such undertaking). All I know is that she was really kind and loving towards me.

I visited my family in Brazil last Christmas. I was fortunate to see auntie at a family gathering. She as usual greeted me with a smile that brightened her castigated face. Yeah, the years took their toll on her. I remember how self-conscious she was of her appearance when she was younger. She even went on and did some plastic surgery on her eyelids. We always thought that she was going to grow old but never lose her vanity. Because she was pretty and seemed very proud of that.

She did give up on her vanity, though. I’m not saying there is no beauty in old age. Far from that, I think old age is an adage to beauty. It's just that one needs to accept being elderly. You know that natural light people have when they are comfortable in their own skin? Well, that's precisely what auntie lacked. That did not prevent her from being beautiful, but it indeed prevented her from looking satisfied. 

I'm aware that it's a bit too much to expect someone who suffered so much to express gratitude and keep on with a positive attitude towards life. That's sort of a privilege. She told me twice that she was "extremely tired of living". Last time we met, she advised me not to have children. I greatly appreciate her advice and I even think that was unexpected, as I'm usually bombarded with questions like "why are you not conceiving?" as if reproducing was my sole purpose in life. She was different. She looked at me and said "you know what? You're better off without kids". What she meant, though, is that she was immensely tired of taking care of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Yeah, she was only 64 and had great-grandchildren! And she had to take care of them, as she did with her previous descendants. 

I heard of her passing on a Sunday evening. My sister told me she looked placid on her funeral box. I think she finally rested. I'm very sad that she's gone and my mom and her relatives are all suffering greatly on the loss. I think we get too attached to life, even when life proves time and again to be nothing less than a nightmare. I hope she finds the peace she never really seemed to derive from her existence. I'll keep my memories and with them the conviction that she was, above all, a very good person. R.I.P, Tia. 




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