She came to show me where she is now. It should have been no surprise to me that she went back home.
For as long as I can remember, when someone close to me passes they do manage to circle around to me in the spirit world through my dreams and show me where they are, how they are and the overlaying message that they are okay. And somehow, from that point I tend to feel so much better about their passing. Because isn’t the most disturbing thing about death that you can’t reach out to the person ever again? No forwarding address. No phone number. Nothing. If you ever have something to say to them again – you’re outta luck. So the fact that my ancestors who have gone before me manage to comfort me this way is otherworldly (literally). When grandma came to show me where she was, I was immediately comforted. She was living it up where she was. She had her independance, her youth and her strength. The things that MADE her who she was. She showed me her apartment and how at peace she was. How could MY soul be in turmoil after that??
But in October, it will have been 2 years since my sweet little mommy passed from this earthly place. And the only times she’s come to me in my dreams have scared the life out of me. Or guilted me to no end. My heart has been lonely AND broken since she’s been gone. She made up for it last night and corrected some ideas that were stuck in my head for a long time.
She swept me up from my dreams and brought me to Haiti. It makes PERFECT sense.
Look – Americans can say what they want about the “poorest third world country in the western hemisphere”. If you visited before it got that way, you would smirk your lips up at them just the way I do when they say it. Regardless of that moniker we are truly a proud people And there is a REASON. There is everlasting beauty in Haiti. There are long standing traditions stemming back to Africa – in Haiti. It was a nexus of culture and art and poetry and athletics and dance once. I had the fortune of being born to parents who lived in it’s hay day. It made for a radically different experience growing up in America than the typical family. All Nouveau Haitians know what I’m talking about. If you are first generation American born to Haitian parents – you did NOT grow up “in America”. You were raised HAITIAN on American soil. And it was absolutely imperative that you were brought “home” as a child so you could acquaint yourself with it and know it and love it and return to it. This is the part that didn’t go over well with me, unfortunately. I was 5 and afraid of my own shadow. But mostly – afraid of bugs and dogs (i mean… my fear of dogs has just turned into a hatred for them but my fear of bugs is palpable still). And well… Haiti is tropical. Aside from being abundant in size and quantity, the blood sucking type feasted on my young sweet blood for 2 weeks straight. And um… there are no leash laws really in Haiti. Dogs roam the hills and streets unattended for the most part. So – right there? this little girl’s nightmare incarnate. I had less than favorable reviews as a child when I came home. I remember describing it once as “dirt and dogs”. I didn’t realize this hurt my mom so bad – broke her heart. Well – imagine someone saying something shitty about your hometown. But i didn’t know any better. And have never been able to go back to rectify that impression. For the greater part of 10 years, I’ve schemed and plotted on ways of going home. But whenever I’d consult with the elders they’d say the same thing. “Pas koun yen, petit. Pays’la pas bon koun yen’a” (Not now child – the country is in bad shape right now).
I got that through Baby Doc. I got that through the first elections with Aristide. I got that through Ton Ton Macoute and through Zinglindou. I got it through kidnapping Americans and holding them for ransom. I got it through hunger and lack of resources sweeping through the nation. And now in my parent’s home town area (Port-au-Prince / Jacmel) after being pounded by hurricane after hurricane… Earthquake. Pays’a VRAIMENT pas bon kounyen’a.
But mommy came to bring me back last night. In a flowing white garment…. in her youthful appearance. Flying…. FREE. Relaxed face – no longer a scowl of permanent disappointment. A slight curl of her lip in a contented smile. She brought me soaring with her through the mountain peaks and jungles…. along the coasts and in the city. She showed me before and now. Without barely saying a word. She showed me this beauty that was everlasting in her heart and her memory and simultaneously showed me how through the adversity – there IS beauty still. Beauty in my people’s resilience. In our willingness to help one another. In our uplifting each other by telling the legends of our survival. Not dirt and dogs. Lush fullness of life… beauty – inside and out. Of course there are the political struggles that make things quite ugly. But the land and the people… are undeniable. Ayiti – Land of High Mountains. I’ll be there again soon – in body.
Thank you for bringing me me home, Mommy.