♪ BREE: My Uncle Vince died on February 20, my 24th birthday.
It was a terrible birthday gift.
No amount of prayers could bring him back, and what really hit me was the loss I knew my cousin Giselle felt.
(phone ringing) (recording): Hey, we're gonna go to mass at 5:00, okay, I can pick you up.
Let me know.
In college I had some existential woes that dispelled my staunch atheism.
It led me right to God, and I even thought about becoming a nun for a year.
I shed old friends, old habits, and really only spent time with Giselle when I was home.
It took so long for me to recognize who and what really mattered.
I wanted to fit in with my white friends, be a southern belle, love football, and hey, maybe even join sorority life.
Giselle and I are three years apart.
She was well-behaved, well-liked, and very Catholic, I, on the other hand, got into trouble very often, dealt with anorexia and bulimia, drug usage, and run-ins with the law.
Giselle has two siblings and I have one, Leilani, who's 13 years older than me.
I grew up closer to the Puerto Rican side of my family, my dad.
Giselle's parents met when they were in Hawaii and retired in Niceville, Florida, just like mine.
One thing both of our parents agreed upon was that inside of the house, we were both combative, Aunty Liza would say Giselle was "maldita," like herself when she was young.
Although I thought she was the perfect child.
My uncle and aunt always shared their faith through their actions, and looking back, I understand just how much parents love you, and just how much my parents and her parents loved us.
(VHS tape loading) (tape playing) DERRICK: Baby Briana.
(woman singing in Spanish) GRACE: Oh, oh, my baby girl.
My big girl.
DERRICK: What you're doing with your teeth?
GRACE: She always does, it's so funny.
BREE: Our parents support us through big events.
They're there for us even when they're tired.
Say hi, Mommy!
Can I help you?
(voiceover): And whenever we do things a little unconventional, they're there to say, DERRICK: Voila!
LIZA: Everything starts at home.
Our parents are our first teachers.
(indistinct chatter) (laughter) That upbringing is so strong that brings, that becomes who you are outside of home.
Giselle, in a way, has my disposition, but she looks like Papa.
So she has our combo.
(chuckles) I'm feeling old now, okay, yeah.
(birds chirping) ALL: Holy Mary, Mother of Grace, Mother of Mercy, pray for the soul of Vincent.
(phone ringing) LIZA: So it's okay, honey, we'll take it one day at a time, even if hour at a time.
You rest, you gather your energy, in God's time, God's divine mercy, you will heal, okay?
VINCENT (faintly): Yes.
LIZA: Yes, good, good.
Honey, you are surrounded by angels.
There are angels on earth, honey.
You're getting the best care at Eglin.
We're so thankful and grateful.
So they will do everything... (recording audio fades) (weeping) (sniffling, indistinct chatter) (sobbing) (music playing) GISELLE: Guys, look how flaco Papa is now.
He lost so much weight.
No booty, no arms, no tummy, no tooth.
Papa, let me see your-- no tooth!
BREE: There's a certain foreverness and love that a parent brings that you only recognize when they're gone.
My uncle loved my cousins.
My dad loved me and my sister.
♪ (VHS tape loading) DERRICK: Move out!
DERRICK: What was that?
- Dada... DERRICK: Hm?
It's heavy, Dad.
DERRICK: And here's Lani riding the pine, collecting splinters again.
(makes punching noise) GRACE: Wow, you're doing a great job.
(cheers and applause) GRANDPA: Lani, Lani, Lani, Lani!
(indistinct chatter) Daddy, get Daddy, oh, yeah!
♪ (indistinct chatter) (bell ringing) DEACON: So we're gonna pray!
So that we can eat!
(whistles) If I could get everybody's attention.
You know, we're here today to honor a life, the life of Vincent.
(bell rings) And his family and a lot of us have been praying along with them for 40 days, 40 days of mourning, 40 days of grief.
But today is a day of celebration.
Because we know where our brother is.
(indistinct chatter) (chatting) (country music playing) GISELLE: That's in Hawai'i when he went to go visit Mama.
(country music playing) ♪ What you wanna do?
(recording): Do you remember when we were driving out of Pensacola?
Like, we had prayed at the hospital.
You just, like, held my hand and you kept praying.
And I replayed that moment over and over for one day.
If it was anybody else, they probably would have been like, "It will be okay, everything's fine, nothing's going to happen," and that's definitely not, like, what I needed to hear, and I would think about that moment.
I looked at you and I said, like, "I don't want my dad to die."
Yeah, I don't know, there's, there's a lot to say about your silence in the moment, and like, maybe, like, the silence of a father when you're, like, praying and you're begging and it makes me think about a lot, like, that moment meant a lot to me, and I need to think about that in a moment that I feel like God is silent to me, that maybe he's holding my hand and I don't even know it.
♪ BREE: Aw, Giselle.
This means so much to me that you're sharing this with me.