Marilia Gurgel


"My granddaughter." Those were the first words that Socorro spoke to me when we met in September 2020. It was night. The TV with the volume on high reminded me of him. The room was dark, but I still managed to see his chair. His absence took up every room; he was everywhere.

Saudades is the Portuguese word for the feeling of missing. In late August 2020, Cunha, my grandfather, died from complications of COVID-19. It was the first peak of the pandemic in Brazil. I lived by myself in Rio de Janeiro and had been in social isolation for five months. My feeling of loneliness grew exponentially after his death. That's when I decided to go back to my hometown, Mossoro, in the northeast of Brazil, and grieve with those who were grieving too.

I see this moment as a journey of self-knowledge, of rediscovering the self, of rebirth.