Uberlandia, 15th February 2013.

Benca, Mae!

Another day. Another morning without seeing you and your sleepy grumpy face coming out the corridor and saying ‘bom dia’, and heading to the kitchen to give Maggie and Julie their ‘breakfast’… Everybody says how careful you were with them. And that you spoilt them rotten. J  Cheese and fruit, when even you only had Corn Flakes with milk and coffee!

Mother, I need to confess something…. I’m scared to stay in this house. Spooky kind of scared, I mean. I can’t bear to be alone in any room. I’m having problems to sleep. Isa, Xu and I have put 3 mattresses on the computer room floor and have been sleeping there; with the bathroom light on. I spend most nights using my phone, reading stuff that I find on Google about your cancer, trying to find a reason why you died so quickly. I can’t even look towards the door of the bedroom you died in. I’m afraid I’ll see you, Mother. You know something like this happened once, remember that time I went to your bed and slept between you and Father, holding your hand? I feel terrible this time, though. How could I be scared of seeing my own mother? Ridiculous. Besides, I don’t even believe that dead people come back, anyway. And even if they did, knowing me, you would never do that, because you know how silly and scared I am. Still, I’m scared. And I may take one sleeping tablet tonight. I need to sleep, Mother.
Craig and I speak every day. We have this app on the phone, called Tango. I used it with you on the Saturday before you died, Carnaval weekend, remember? It’s something you have a video and voice call. I remember you showed the mobile phone case that I had sent to you – which had finally arrived – and also showed me your new haircut. You looked so cute, Mother. Why didn’t I call again after that? Why? Why?
So, Craig and I speak every day, two or three times a day. I’m missing him badly, Mother. Every time we speak, I cry. Poor him, he can’t do anything from the other side of the phone, and all I wish was for him to cwtch me!
Today we continued with the ‘sorting out’ of the house. I still call it ‘dismantling’ your house. It makes me feel bad. I think that when we lose someone we love so much, we shouldn’t need to do these type of things so soon. Father is looking for a lawyer – for this inventory thingy -, and he’s going to all the shops you used to shop and have a card with to cancel everything. Imagine how bad it is to go to a place and say: ‘Hi… er… my wife has just passed away, I’d like to cancel her account/card etc…’  Nobody should need to do that. Not after at least a couple of months.

Mother, you should see Father… He arrives home sometimes and tells us: ‘Hey, but you’re not working… You’re not working… Come on, we haven’t got much time… Look at this now… one is on the phone (me, to Craig), the other one is on the Internet (Xu) the other ones won’t stop eating (Isa and Luzia, having tea)… Mother, I think he’s in panic here. Isabela and Luzia is leaving tomorrow; I’m leaving on Wednesday and Xu is staying only until next Saturday. I think he’s afraid that we’re going to leave him with all the stuff there is still in the house. Xu and I have started clearing downstairs. Did I tell you that yesterday we sent a little truck away full of the old stuff from the basement? Yep! I remember you used to say to us that we needed to help you sort the basement out. No wonder you never went there, you crafty girl! J  I’d never seen so much junk in my life, Mother! All those old magazines, and rusted things and old paints… Anyway, I guess that was the quickest clearing up ever! The truck guy came really fast, much earlier than we were expecting him, and we filled the truck up in less than one hour!!!! You ‘d have liked that, Mother. I’m sure you would.

So, today, Xu and I carried on sorting out the basement stuff. We went to the “quartinho” and open box after box… Mother, what a treasure we found! You kept all our toys! And old school books and notebooks! I found the first book you gave me, with a little message in it. I’m taking it with me and this will be passed on to my first child, Mother. I’ll write him/her a message below the one you’ve written.

Aunt Zeli came here today, and yesterday, I forgot to tell you. She is devastated, Mother. She just can’t understand and I guess I know now I’ve got a little bit of her in me… She also thinks something is amiss. She’s also been reading, asking around, she’s even spoken to another oncologist and like me, she thinks that they’ve hid from us – or overlooked – how bad your illness was.
Aunt Lizete and Aunt De were here all day today. They are very sad, Mother, and keep trying to do their best to help us. Aunt Lizete even sits at the balcony with Maggie and Julie until they’ve eaten all their food.

Today Aunt Lizete showed me how to wash one of my tops. I paid great attention to her, but I was all the time thinking that something was very wrong with that picture. That I should have learned FROM YOU. Why didn’t I ever ask you? Why have I always been such a smart ass when it comes to my relationship with you??? I don’t get it, Mother. Why have I, your first daughter, turned my back on you so many times, for so long, thinking that your advice was only good enough for yourself? I’m so sorry, Mother. I’m so sorry for being such a bad daughter. I wished I had known you better. It’s way too late now.

Isabela and Luzia are leaving tomorrow. The house will be emptier. It’s so surreal, Mother. I want everything to go back to normal…

I love you forever.



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