*an open letter to my grandfather who I never had the pleasure to meet*
Oi vôvô, (Hi grandpa in Portuguese)
Every time I’m asked the question of who I would love to have dinner with that is no longer on this Earth I say you. I’m fascinated by the stories my father and uncle tell about you, and how much you still influence their lives. I find myself thinking about what you would be like, how you would speak, what you would think of me, what you would call me.
This is probably one of the hardest things I have had to write, as I never experienced the loss of your presence. I’m not sure how to put these emotions into words, but I’m trying. I wonder what I carry that is a pure reflection of you, I wonder what part of my DNA is yours and how I have translated that into who I am.
We’re planning as a family to visit Beirut to explore the place you called home, the heritage we are all so proud of and wear on our last names. I wonder what you thought of your home, what you thought of Brazil. I would have loved to know how proud you are of your sons and their accomplishments and wonder if you would be proud of me too.
I’m curious to know more about you, and hopefully, every day that I learn more about myself, I learn more about you too. I would love to learn about your childhood, your teenage years, the lessons you learned, the experiences you had as an adult, but especially learn about the love for life you had.
I’m eternally grateful for what you have given me, my identity speaks louder than anything. My Lebanese-ness is prominent on my face (thanks for the lovely eyebrows and thick hair), along with my Brazilian-ness transpires beyond my character.
I wish I had the chance to meet you, and hopefully one day I still will.
I love you and will forever miss you,
Te amo (Love you). Obrigada (Thank you).
Julia, sua neta (your granddaughter).