I've thought of you often this summer, thought of you even as I navigated the winding roads of São Miguel, one of the islands in the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago where Flora and I spent part of our summer. It was a magical time and also a time for reflection, redefinition and redirection. This was the time and the place where we found our way.
Some of you have followed me for a while. Others joined in as recently as this week; thank you and welcome! I imagine that the reasons that brought you here and have kept you here are not exactly the same, but they're likely all rooted in the fact that you all root for me. That's how I feel, at least, and that's why I thought of you this summer. It wasn't until now that I felt like writing, though. It's not because I didn't miss you. It's because I was busy living.
I'm back. Hello. It's so great to reconnect.
I traveled to the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in May to help local journalists acknowledge the prejudice they hold against the Central American migrants stuck there and use that awareness to guide them in the pursuit of fairness in their reporting. Juárez neighbors El Paso, where, last month, a gunman turned people who look like me into targets and shattered the sense of safety I'd managed to hold on to — and believed in — in my 21 years as an immigrant in the United States. I wrote about my experience in Juárezfor Mexico's Animal Politico (and, in English, for Medium) and how I experienced what happened in El Paso for The New York Times. I also wrote letters to a couple of friends I hadn't heard from since the weeks after my husband's death, telling them it's OK, I forgive them and still cherish them for who they are.
I don't hold grudges. Life's too short for grudges, resentment, anger. My boyfriend says I have a beautiful smile and these days, the happiness my smiles telegraph feels more genuine, even though sadness will always occupy a space in my heart, a space carved by the pain of losing the husband I loved.
I'm pretty sure I have discovered the formula to immortality, though, and that is the promise to forever remember and honor my husband, Mike Saucier. We created The Sauce Foundation, which, in its first year, raised more than $50,000 for scholarships to first-generation college students and research into pancreatic cancer, the beast that killed him 30 days after his diagnosis. We raised that money in large part because of donations from our ever-expanding network of friends, including many of the people who receive this newsletter. May your generosity and kindness return to you tenfold.
The Mike Saucier Memorial Scholarship has recently become an endowed scholarship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, where I teach the next generation of journalists and learn to be a better, more tolerant and more patient person every single day.
We'll talk again soon. In the meantime, check out The Sauce Foundation online, if you haven't already, and consider making a tax-deductible donation. And, oh, let me know if you get to write a letter to a friend and how it felt to do it. I highly recommend it.
With love and purpose,
WHY – AND HOW – I WRITE
The key to writing a good story is knowing what you don’t know and finding the right people and documents to help you learn it. You have a fundamental question that leads to a bunch of other questions that need to be answered so that your fundamental question makes sense. This is how I write.
Follow along with Fernanda and get occasional stories.