A new angel is in Heaven this week. Her name is Vi Aguiar and she is my grandmother. She lived a spectacular life that lasted 86 years but after many years of illness, the Lord needed her to continue his good work. She left us on Wednesday, July 6, 2011. I had a special relationship with my Avo (this is Portuguese for grandmother) and I am going to miss her greatly. I had the privilege of providing her eulogy during her funeral Mass yesterday in Turlock at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. It was by far the most difficult speech I have ever had to deliver in public and I will be the first to admit I was a blubbering mess but I got through it and I know I made my Avo proud. Today I'm sharing those words on my blog. For many, none of this will make sense but that's okay. Vi Aguiar was a fabulous woman and this post is my message to her. Thanks for reading. - Colleen
|Our Wedding Day|
July 5, 2008
Who was Elvina Virginia Aguiar? If you knew her you probably knew her as “Vi” and didn’t even know her name was Elvina. But don’t fret, that is the way she wanted it. Her first name was her best kept secret. But all of you are here today because she touched you in one way or another.
God delivered her to us here on earth on October 1, 1924 in the then small Stanislaus County community of Patterson. She was born to parents Joesph and Mary Azevedo and was the youngest in the family behind brothers, Tom, Joesph and Henry “Hank” Azevedo. Like many in this era, she was only allowed an eighth grade education. What she may have lacked in a formal education, she made up for through her own devise. She loved to read and even more loved to learn about the history of her time. Books and movies were her vice. I especially enjoyed watching the occasional classic musical or an Elvis Presley flick with her. After all Elvis was her favorite. And with the introduction of cable and satellite television she was sure to find a movie of her liking on the “idiot box” as she warmly referred to it. She was a sports fan too following the 49ers for years. Now I will admit she also loved a good steamy romance novel and you could usually find one in her purse, on the table next to her chair or next to her bed.
|My sister Christine with Avo |
aand Aunt Vivian during her
We could all be so lucky to live through 86 years, nine months and five days. There is no question that Vi made the most of her time her on earth. She met the single love of her life, Joseph Victor Aguiar and married him on June 22, 1946. Together, in Hilmar on their dairy, they raised three children, Daniel, Richard and Kathleen.
Family was so very important to Vi. I can remember many family gatherings – Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to name a few. The family got bigger and the number of family events increased exponentially when her kids were married and when it was all said and done the three kids gave Joe and Vi ten grandchildren. There is a good chance you knew this because I don’t know any woman who was more proud of her family and all they accomplished then Vi. And she told everyone about these accomplishments, probably pulled a newspaper clipping or photo from her purse to show you too.
|Avo with her sons Daniel, Richard (my dad) |
and daughter Kathleen at our wedding.
They also loved to travel and rarely went alone. I can remember many stories about Washington, DC with the Sherriff’s Posse and Hawaii. Vi and Joe had MANY friends. But the stories I remember often involved Arnold and Angie Souza, in fact some who knew them might say Joe and Arnold and Vi and Angie were attached at the hip. They all left this earth before her and I know it was hard for her to adjust but today she is reunited with all of them. Heaven will never be the same with these four back together again.
|Avo with my brother Ricky at|
his High School Graduation.
So who am I you ask? Many of you know but for those who don’t I am Colleen Aguiar Cecil. I am the oldest daughter of Richard and Mary Aguiar and first granddaughter born to Joe and Vi. While she was Vi to all of you she was Avo to me and my cousins and her 12 great grandchildren including my son Clayton.
|Avo with my nephew Trevor |
after he was born in December of 2008.
To us Avo was homemade applesauce, lemon meringue pie and a big pot of homemade Portuguese beans. She greeted us each time she saw us with a hug and kiss; a kiss that left a mark the same color of the usually dark red lipstick that matched the color of her perfectly painted acrylic finger nails. This lady always had lipstick on, her nails perfectly painted and her hair was always done. She was probably the first person to advise me that schedules can be flexible but never cancel a hair appointment! And she had one ever week only missing if she was in the hospital. In fact I may recall a hair dresser or two coming to the hospital during one of her visits late in life to put some life back into her hair. Again she took great pride in her appearance.
|Avo with Donny her godchild |
and his wife Jean
|Jake with Aunt Vivian and Avo |
at my brothers high school graduation
party. This was the first time she met Jake.
Today Avo will reunite with the many friends who have gone before her. After all she lived 86 years. She was funny, she would read the paper each morning, never missing the obituaries, she would say, “looks like its going to be a good day, I didn’t read my name in the paper.” Well this week she did read her name but I can tell you this, its still going to be a good day because today we celebrate her, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a friend to everyone she met.
|This was the day Avo met my son |
Clayton for the first time.
I will end with a little piece of advice for Saint Peter today. “Open the gates and stand back, she’s coming through and you are not going to stop her!” - July 12, 2011 by Colleen Marie Cecil
|Avo on our wedding day, July 5, 2008 with my immediate family.|