Lidia Monteiro Sebastiao died on December 16, 2014, in Londonderry, less than two months after being diagnosed with an advanced stage of colon cancer. She was 85 and just days away from her next birthday. Lidia decided not to pursue treatment and chose to spend her remaining days quietly at home in Londonderry with her daughter, Irene Sebastiao Godin, son-in-law Andy Godin, and grandsons AJ and Robby Godin. They were at her side when she passed away.
Lidia’s most indelible traits were making family her top priority, selflessly helping a friend in need, self-reliance, and demonstrating an unflappable quiet strength in the face of adversity. She was born in Chaves in northern Portugal, and learned to be self reliant early in life. She helped her mother run a successful business until she left for Lisbon to start her own as a seamstress. She married the love of her life, Abilio Sebastiao, in December of 1959, and in March of 1960 they headed for the United States and settled in Milford, MA. With the exception of the years Lidia spent at home until her children started school, she worked a variety of factory jobs for over 25 years that tracked the economic swings and labor shifts of the 1970s and 80s.
Lidia lived her life primarily for and through her family. Her best moments, her proudest moments, her happiest moments, were all shared with/celebrating family and dear friends. Her room is filled with pictures of her children, their spouses, and her grandchildren – Irene, Andy, AJ, and Robby, and her son Helder, his wife Debbie, and their daughter Gabi. Her favorite recollections were from the childhood of her children and grandchildren.
The “golden years” of retirement for Lidia and Abilio were simple, sweet, but far too short. Their tranquility was shattered when Abilio was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His health soon began a slow and precipitous decline over several years that relegated Lidia to the role of caretaker. She took on her duties with a quiet resolve and provided loving, round the clock care. Despite her herculean efforts she lost her life partner to a recurrence of cancer in April 2003, and never really got over the loss. Lidia eventually left Milford (MA), the town she had called home since leaving Portugal, and moved in with her daughter Irene and her family in Londonderry. Until a few months ago she was in reasonably good health and spirits.
Words cannot sufficiently capture the impact this diminutive, reserved, resilient, hard-working, and caring woman had on our lives. We will miss our moral compass, our biggest fan, our role model for dealing with what life throws at us, and our lifelong friend, but we find solace in the fact that she was ready to go, went on her terms, and did so as peacefully and painlessly as possible. Consistent with Lidia’s unassuming and private nature, she requested a simple cremation and that we not hold any viewings or services. Also, we ask on Lidia’s behalf that in lieu of cards or flowers please consider making a donation to Home Health & Hospice Care of Merrimack. They provided great support to Lidia and Irene during Lidia’s final weeks and days, and we wish to support their efforts helping other families facing similar circumstances. For information go to www.hhhc.org/home, and to donate www.hhhc.org/donationform, or call 800-887-5973.
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