This is Maria. She's 94. She's a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, a grandmother...She and her soulmate were married for 70 years and raised four children. When she was 40, they decided to pick up their life, and move to a new country to give their children a better life. A new country where they didn't speak the language, and there were no guarantees of anything. But you see, she is a WOMAN. She is a warrior. And she is BEAUTIFUL. Every wrinkle around her eyes is a reminder of a challenging, but amazing life. And the best part? She is my grandmother, and I get to share in this heirloom that she has created. She is the last of our remaining grandparents, the last of her generation in our immediate family. And we cling to her because she is our link to everyone who came and went before her. She is one of the founders of our traditions. She, along with my other grandmother, Conceição, are the women who created an amazing legacy.
After my first grandmother passed away, I remember feeling so sad that I hadn't set aside any time to intentionally photograph her. And I remember sensing an urgency to make sure I didn't let it happen again. So we took a day, set up a little studio, and photographed our Maria. It was a bit challenging at first, because she has dementia. It was awkward for her to be in front of the camera. But as we went on, we starting asking her questions....about her youth, and about how she had met our grandfather and how they fell in love. That's all it took. Her eyes began to twinkle and she became a schoolgirl again. She told us wonderful stories of their young life together. She giggled when she spoke of how handsome he was. It was such a precious moment. I'm so grateful to have been a part of it.