Vovo Leah

by Tali Glesier

My Vovo Leah, which means grandma in Portuguese, was one of the most amazing people to walk the earth. She wasn’t just amazing to me because she was my grandmother; Leah was truly one o those rare people that had the ability to do great things. Leah was born and raised in Rio de Janero, Brazil; she grew up in a family that was always struggling, both personally and financially. She learned from an early age that education was the key to her dreams, and she also learned that she did not want to accept the typical role society had planned for women.

Leah worked her way through countless adversities’ trying to find a career that was more than “housewife.” She taught herself English and eventually got a job as a secretary for the president of an airline company. She eventually worked her way into a position in the company where she essentially had more power than the man who used to dictate memos for her to type. Beyond being incredibly hardworking, my grandmother was an unbelievable “people person” and a natural caregiver. She was the kind of person who could walk into the rain and make the sun come out. Leah was always telling stories and giving advice (even if the advice was blunt at times). She was funny and always looking out for others. My grandmother Leah was technically my step grandmother, my father’s biological mother passed away when he was very young. My grandfather married Leah when my father was 7 years old and raised him with his two brothers; she also had 1 son with my grandfather. The fact that she was my father and uncle’s stepmother made her ability to being a family together even more impressive. Leah was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid0ninties and underwent surgery and treatment, they thought she was cancer-free. She was truly an inspiration from her hardworking spirit to her story telling and natural compassion. My Vovo Leah found out her cancer had been spreading for fifteen years about a year and a half before she died, she didn’t spend her final days sulking and letting her illness effect her. She went on travelling, being with family, and telling stories. She was the kind of person who would see someone crying on a park bench and comfort them, or with a young person protesting and fighting for what’s right and join in (yes that really happened). At her funeral, there was supposed to be rain, but instead there was a full rainbow stretched over the ocean, it was like her last way to make the world smile.

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