Lets go back to March 21st, 1953. There was a young, strong, feisty portuguese woman in labor, about to give birth to her third child, my mother. The house was tiny, with a dirt floor. There was no electricity, no running water, and often, there was no food. Life was very hard for my mothers family and very different from anything most of us could imagine.
My mom, spent the first 16 years of her life in a tiny village called Santana, on a tiny island called Santa Maria, in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. This is the island I now call home. My mom was one of more than a dozen children. My Grandmother was pregnant for a very large chunk of her life. I cant even imagine.
My mother and my sweetheart, share similar childhoods..they have known hunger. They both had to work at a very young age to help support their families..they both have siblings buried in the same cemetary. Island life is different now.. but there are stories, memories, remnants…
Three years ago, I had the strange dream that commanded me to come to the Azores.. A place I knew next to nothing about. I had no idea, that following that strange dream would change my life so completely.
But it also changed my mother’s life, because once I bought the ticket to come and explore the Azores, my mother also bought a ticket, and came home to her birthplace, for the first time in 40 years.
Naturally, coming back to the island, brought up many memories, emotions, and tears.. but it also reconnected my mother to her roots, her story, her family. She hugged cousins she hadn´t seen in years, and reconnected with her Godmother, the first person to hold her, my grandmothers best friend (and cousin)..
Sometimes my mother cries that I live on the island where she grew up.. How did I even get here? Let alone fall in love with someone from this tiny place.. It is very strange.
My mother has now come back 3 times, every summer to experience the magic, the beauty, and the memories of her island home. I know when she is gone she misses it. The music, the malasadas, her childhood.
Today my sweetheart and I went for a hike and had a picnic lunch. I saw the village my mother grew up in, and I felt compelled to take a photo and share a little post..
Somewhere in history, my grandfather is sitting outside of a little bar in Santana, playing guitar, drinking, winking at pretty women, and laughing..
Somewhere in history, my mom, a young girl is running around, barefoot with her brothers and sisters, chewing old gum she found on the ground, eating malasadas, and running to the airport to get a glimpse of the rich americans who had a layover on this island.
Somewhere in history, my grandmother is smiling, thankful her kids have eaten, and enjoying the song my grandfather is singing.
The house my mother was born in, is still standing, fully modern, and is now owned by my sweeheart´s cousins.. (it just keeps getting weirder)..
Someday, I will write the story, and it will begin with my grandmother, my mother, me, and then my daughter..
Connections, life is weird..
My hair is standing up, chicken skin, because I just got a message from my mom (as I am finishing this post) that today, Jan 27th, is the anniversary of my grandmothers death..
Share our stories.. there is beauty even in the pain.