Remember Me

One of the most difficult things about deciding to migrate was saying goodbye to my grandparents. When I was seven, my grandmother on my father’s side died, followed three months later by the only great-grandmother I had the chance to meet. My mom once told me that I then asked my remaining grandma to promise me she wouldn’t die. I’ve always been close to family, and I remember my mom telling me, when I was younger, to spend all the time I could with my grandparents. If nature follows its course, she said, they will probably be the first ones to be gone. This memory, real or fabricated, stuck with me – and so did the fear and angst of losing my grandparents. 

Remember Me is a photo essay I produced right before I left, to try to cope with feelings I’m unable to express with words, and to try to hold on to my grandparents and everything they represent. The essay got a whole new meaning to me within the last year, when my worst nightmare came true: both my grandfathers passed away in Brazil, and I was unable to say goodbye or be with my family. 

Elvira, my grandmother, stands against the living room window from the balcony.
Elvira, my grandmother, poses in her bedroom.
Carlo, my grandfather on my father’s side, in his new bedroom. Once he was unable to walk on his own, his daughter, with whom he lived, moved his bedroom into the first floor, to avoid the stairs.
Edivaldo, my grandfather on my mother’s side, sits in his living room.
Carlo, my grandfather on my father’s side.
Edivaldo and Elvira, my grandparents, talk to each other in the kitchen.
Elvira, my grandmother, contrasted to an old photo of her in her late teens.
Elvira, my grandmother, wears a necklace made to her by my grandfather. On one side, the necklace shows the letters E.O., for Edivaldo Orlando, and on the other side the letters E.A., for Elvira Almeida.