Uberlandia, 14th February, 2013.

Benca, mae.
I’m already “home”… Well, I don’t think I’ll ever call it home again. I’ve just found out that Father is going to move out. Fair enough. The house was already big for just you two and the dogs… Imagine now that he’s alone… It breaks my heart though…

Mother, I met Luzia today. And Simone. I remember I’d met them before (I think it was at Isa’s wedding, wasn’t it?). They came for your funeral with Isa and Xu, I guess. Cica came too, as tio Toninho always says in a very “formal” way, to “represent the family”. I always thought it was so funny, and this time I thought it was beautiful and so sweet! She was here even before Isa and Xu arrived. I kept texting her last night while waiting for my plane, asking about you. How you looked, what was happening at the funeral and stuff… I know it’s a bit weird to text about this kind of things, but I needed to know, mother. I needed to feel at least a bit that I WAS there too. I don’t think I can ever forgive myself for not being there; for not going to see you at Christmas, for not ringing you every single day, when it was just so ridiculously cheap for me to do so; for being so childish and needy and demanding YOU contacted me and YOU showed me how much you loved me and cared for me, when the one who needed unconditional and unlimited love and attention was you! Shame, shame, shame… I’ll never forgive myself. I’ll regret forever the fact that I never kissed you goodbye. And also regret every single time that, for being angry with you, I didn’t kissed you good night before I went to bed. How could I have been so mean?
Mother, I’m still trying to understand what the hell happened here. I keep walking around the house, stop at the door of the bedroom where you died and look and try to see you, laying there, on your own, with your thoughts. Were you conscious, mother? Did you feel anything? Did you feel that you’re dying? Did you try to call someone and the voice just didn’t come out? Were you expecting all this, mother? You know why I ask? Because WE weren’t. I wasn’t. Isa, Xu, Father, your sisters and brother (tia Zeli and tio Lau are really bad, Mother), your friends (tia Romilda just cries all the time, saying that you’ve tricked her, going first), all our family… NOBODY was mother. Apparently, even your doctor was in shock about what happened. Well, she, more than anyone alive, should have known, right?
We are looking like little ants around your house, Mother. Isa, Xu, me, Luzia, Simone, Dad, aunt Lizete is here too. We are “dismantling” your house. Isabela, Luzia and Simone were in the kitchen when I arrived. By the way, can I put some informal complaint here? You weren’t at the airport to meet me, as you always were. Dad and Xu were there. Mauricio and Carol were there too. But not you. Not you, waving your arms energetically as you always did. Not this time. No warm hug and a kiss on my cheek from you, Mother. You know what, I’m starting to get really angry with all this. It just feels like it’s a really bad joke; or a horrible nightmare. I just want to wake up and everything to be back to “normal”. But then I think that this will be the “normal” from now on. You not being here. Well, physically anyway.
So, as I was saying, when I got home, Isa, Luzia and Simone were clearing the kitchen. Dad said there were too many things he’d never use in the new house. Mother, I don’t know how he will cope without you managing the house…
Maggie and Julie weren’t home. They’d gone to the pet shop to be washed. Aunt Lizete said that Maggie had put her head inside the charcoal bag… I can imagine the state she was in, poor thing… haha. All her ladyness and whiteness with a black face… haha

I walked slowly around the house, trying to feel your presence. I couldn’t believe it’d been nearly two years since I was here for the last time!  I went to your bedroom and opened your wardrobe. I touched your clothes and smelled them to get a little bit of you. I sat on the bed and looked around. I saw the books you were reading, “Pillars of the Earth”. Aunt Zeli said you were enjoying reading it. I may read it one day.
I also spent some time in the bedroom where you died, Mother. I couldn’t feel anything but a horrible heartache and horror. A deep sadness to be in the room where you spent your last hours. The bed was empty, I mean, only the frame was left. I asked Dad why. He said they had to throw the mattress away. Apparently you sweated a lot and there was blood too. I don’t understand, Mother. What the hell happened to you??? Did you sweat blood? How come?

Dad said you were really bad on Tuesday. That you woke up screaming with pain and was taken to hospital. Aunt Zeli and Aunt Lizete spent the day with you as well. I don’t know how long you stayed in hospital for, but I know you didn’t want to stay there overnight. Did you know what was happening? I mean, could you feel you were going to die and that’s why you wanted to be at home? You were always so stubborn, Mother! Dad said that the doctor gave you a morphine injection straight in the belly and told him and the Aunt that they’d better pray, because your situation was very serious. Dad said you “fainted” twice going up the steps. I thought: going up the steps??? What the hell…??? When is it ok for a person who’s just had an injection of morphine to get home without an ambulance or paramedics or at least someone to CARRY her upstairs, and not just “help” her upstairs???? Mother, I think the doctors did you wrong. I have this feeling very strong inside of me. You weren’t supposed to have died. Not without us expecting you to. The doctors didn’t even say what stage your cancer was on. I’ve never heard of that before! Something is really amiss here. I don’t think Father is telling everything, but I can’t blame him. He’s already gone through all that, it’s not fair to keep asking him to explain over and over again, and relive that day and night and the following morning when he found you’re gone. I just hate to be spared of all the information, you know? Don’t I have the right to know what happened to my own mother?

Anyway, I went to the back garden next. Your garden, Mother. It’s impossible to deny it: every room in this house screams of you. This house Was you, Mother. And this house is gone. All your plants, and the decorations and photo frames hanging on the wall. And that beautiful table, which you were always so proud of… All family gatherings happening here, and I remember I used to nag you so you wouldn’t spend so much time in the kitchen cooking and stayed with us. I think I’ll still find out what being a mother is all about. It’s about “feeding the world”, isn’t it, even before feeding herself.

Mother, I’ve been here for less than a day and I already miss Craig so much. The thought you’ll never get to know him better, and that you’ll never meet our children nearly kills me. I wish I’d taught him Portuguese, so he could speak with you. Too late now. I’ll have to do that for Father.

Auntie was here all day today. She hugged me and cried and said many times how much she loved you. I have to confess that I tried to keep a little distance at first, not to betray you, I mean. I know how you got annoyed sometimes, so I’m still a bit suspicious when she tells me that she kept you company and that you were “getting on so well”…  You never told me that, and because we know how things work, you’re the one I believe. But I’ve decided to cut her some slack. After all, you’re not here anymore to tell me if it’s true, and due to the circumstances, I’ve decided to just listen to her talking about you. She speaks very highly of you, Mother. Really. She really loved you. Maybe it it was just a phase, and honest, you've never been a very easy person either, but, well,  I guess it doesn’t matter anymore now, does it? At least, you won't need to worry about pleasing people anymore…  =)  Hihi. 

On the other hand, Mother, I understand why you liked Luzia so much. She’s adorable!!! Such a sweet woman! And Simone as well. So cheerful and up to anything, really. I heard that Aline is a bit more temperamental, a bit on the angry side, but is also a good person. But Luzia… she’s become special to me from day one. She loved you, Mother. She really did. And it’s so good to hear from people who loved you. I feel ashamed again. I should be the one pouring compliments over you all the time. Now that you died, I need to hear how lovely and lively and funny you were. Why didn’t I get much of it??? It’s probably because I didn’t give you much chance, did I? I wasn’t a very good daughter most of the time, Mother. I know that. And it kills me inside…

But I love you, Mother. And I always will.
Your oldest daughter,
Daniela. <3


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