As some stories from our roots are revealed, they can bring us light on difficult situations we experience along our timelife, but not without bringing our souls to shiver.
These days, while I've been helping him putting on the paper some of his thoughts, I could ask him who was who in our family history. I was raised away from both families - mom's and dad's - and never could learn much about family histories. Of course I had the will to learn more about us before, but the distance made me intuit some matters had been heavy and hot for so long time that could affect even essential part of my own life.
When I asked him about Grandma Lidia, he told me she was the mother of my grandad. Grandma Lidia was born from a freed slave and a wealthy colonel. Life in manor house was that way. But at least he seemed to be just enough to assume the love children as his, and obliged his sons to the same if they had a "successful intercourse" with their lovers.
But as Colonel was so wealthy and Grandma Lidia spent her last days in painful poorness, I asked dad what had happened, as she was legally his daughter. So dad revealed that she was disinherited when she converted to Baptist church. Colonel Nobrega, in spite of having a liberal position about love meetings, seemed to be profoundly Catholic and couldn't accept her option. Not that he left great inheritance to his descendants than the chin up everybody knows about The Nobregas. Grandma Lidia was quite his child, stubborn to death in her new conviction. So she raised my grandad Manoel, the same rigidity of character and labour soul. The same way my dad was raised and went on in Baptist conviction with his siblings. Grandad, he says, died early because everything he heard and thought and told was taken by fire and sword. Spoken words were sacred and his zeal for the family was cause of many events of traumatic passionate affairs. He didn't live longer than one month before my first birthday and I am his first grandchild and the one he knew.
When mom and dad married, it was a bit bewildering, my mom says; she'd came from far, looked as foreigner and she's Catholic. For this single reason of she was Catholic and he's Protestant, I spent my childhood with poor notions of religion. My dad and his family could never admit taughts about Saint Mary or lighting consecrated candles for Purgatory souls - all of it utterly idolatry for them. Mom never had the pulse to firm her Catholic position to us. Religion was an untouchable issue if my dad was not right. Battles and struggles made me miss the Promised Land of family peace where milk and honey could be enjoyed together. Not only for difference of faith they broke up and our family tore apart.
Only when I was 27 I decided I would have a religion, just for me. I reached a point in which I was losing the last sense of possible dignity and needed a strengh conviction, but couldn't reach it by myself. Making and doing all kind of mistakes and lost in deviations and digressions, I was tired experimenting sensations of faith to see my attempt to keep it being aborted. I was tired of being an hybrid of undefined faith with no direction but skepticism or agnosticism. I was tired.
It was a surprise for me not to become a Protestant. At the decisive time I held a Woman's hand, under a mantle. I was quick to decide. When mom told dad that I'd got baptized, he asked her in which church, and the answer disappointed him and his side of family, like a kind of degenaration. Maybe it's the reason for one of my aunts, a few years after my baptism, had revealed to me; when grandad took me in his arms for the first time, he looked at me and told "my daughter, how much you will cry in your life".
Some words don't need Human speech. Somehow I hear past voices washing our wrong, waves that my grandad must have heard coming crooked over him. If his grand-grandad could have understood that the Sun rises over just and unjust, he would never taken away his favor from his daughter. Those of mine who stay here don't believe in lighting candles for the souls, but in the deep ocean of death where they all must be living now, I bet they hope I'm a lighthouse.
(Art by François Robert - "Art Made of Real Human Bones" at www.funzug.com