Kristen and I spent a weekend last winter obsessed with figuring out our ancestry. A family rumor on my side of Scandinavian roots was defeated and instead we learned that my Dad is a descendant of King Edward I (a bad, bad, bad man — see Braveheart and, well, history) and a colonial Rhode Island governor and Supreme Court justice. His family came back to New England after logging serious generations farming and mining in Ohio and Appalachia.
Kristen’s family was initially easier to trace because both sides of her family arrived on our shores two or three generations ago. Continuing the research outside of the United States is beyond our current genealogical skill level, but suffice it to say it turns out Kristen is the one who has deep Scandinavian roots (that was a surprise!) in addition to her British Islander ancestors on her father’s side. She is Portuguese and Portuguese and Portuguese on her mother’s side.
I am lucky enough to live a life surrounded by people of Portuguese descent. My spouse, my inlaws, friends, and now my colleague Carla. That’s why, when I learned of an incredible phrase from my amazing friend Amanda Sapir, it made perfect sense to me that it took a Brazilian poet writing in Portuguese to describe it. In our divorce practice, we often talk with clients whose goals include moving on from a marriage in a way that honors the best parts of it. That the marriage is ending does not diminish what the marriage was.
Now we have this to share with them:
Sonnet of Fidelity (translated into English)
by Vinicius de Moraes
Above all, to my love I’ll be attentive
First and always, with care and so much
That even when facing the greatest enchantment
By love be more enchanted my thoughts.
I want to live it through in each vain moment
And in its honor I’ll spread my song
And laugh my laughter and cry my tears
When you are sad or when you are content.
And thus, when later comes looking for me
Who knows, the death, anxiety of the living,
Who knows, the loneliness, end of all lovers
I’ll be able to say to myself of the love (I had):
Be not immortal, since it is flame
But be infinite while it lasts.