** My grandmother Maria Francisca Monteiro and my mother Marlene Monteiro
** moi and my grandmother
** cake time at my grandmother’s 90th birthday party
** set up for the mass that took in her home at night
by Gazelle Paulo
My darling grandmother Maria Francisca Monteiro turned 90 years old on May 18th. She is a retired nurse and a teacher. She is the mother of 6 adults. My grandmother is on the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She is extremely religious. I am her first grandson, I was born on Christmas day. It meant a lot to her, she had me alone for seven years till her second grandson was born.
She has taught me so much about people, love and tolerance. When I was almost 17 years old, and didn’t know much what to do about my life, I was only sure that I wanted to leave my hometown Teresina. She gave me an indecent amount of money and told me to go live my life and be happy. Then, right away I moved to Rio de Janeiro to start my journey to become the man that I am. She and my mother are extremely responsible for having shaped my character.
When I see in the world all these religious fanatics preaching…I think about what my grandmother told me once that ” religious faith is for yourself only, believe in what you want to believe…and don’t try to change others…just change yourself for better “.
My grandmother’s love for me is so unconditional, that once when I came back to Teresina to visit, I told her that I was gay, and that it made me sad that for sure she would never hold a son or daughter of mine. She just said it didn’t matter; I would always be her ” life ” , and when I brought my partner Eric Fix to meet my family, she treated him as her grandson. Eric felt so welcomed by her and of course by my whole family. When he died in 2006, grandmother was constantly in touch with me, and she used to tell me that someone as wonderful would come along . Last year, I took my partner Mark Anthony to meet my family, and she adored Mark, gave him a nickname “patavinas”, because he couldn’t understand Portuguese, and sometimes looked lost with so much conversation around him.
These two days, I spent most of my short time with her in Teresina , we would talk for hours, she would remember everything and we were happy and laughing about the past…then she would say some things that didn’t make sense…and then she would go back to normal again. It is the most difficult thing to experience that, it is like if she has a sharp knife and she is cutting my heart while singing lullabies. It is not her fault, of course…I have been through many difficult things in my life…but this is by far the hardest…It makes me don’t want to be there!
She lives in the same house for almost 30 years, it used to be a small farm, but the city progress came and surrounded it. She has all the care and constant love that would even make jealous the most generous person alive…I love her so much and thank her for all she has done for me !