Many times I have remembered the day that changed our perception of life. It was dramatic and so painful that it haunts me still, so many years later. Having witnessed it’s affect on you first hand, I wish that I could return to that time to comfort you, to ensure that the damage done wouldn’t break your foundation, allowing the acidic flow of life to seep in and damage the strength and structure of your being. Only 5 years old but already shattered and heartbroken with the pain of a woman scorned, a woman betrayed by the man in her life. Sitting on the sink, staring into the mirror, as if it were a traumatic accident that you couldn’t look away from. And perhaps it was; a mistake that lay waste to all that would have been, dead is dead and our family was no more. With gaping mouth you screamed your pain back into your own face absorbing the drama of that life-altering moment. Feeling the heat of your agony reflecting back into yourself. I watched, unable to help as I was frozen, immobile, and simply just a child. Mami, petite, young, broken and horrified by the betrayal of her only love was left to pick up the broken bits of our spirits strewn throughout our home. She wanted to embrace you to make the pain go away. She tried. Did you notice that she tried? Your face was beet red and the screams coming from your throat frightened me, the pain in your swollen eyes stays imprinted eternally in the backs of mine, in a pocket in my heart. You rejected her, then you rejected me in a choking wet series of sobs, I watched as you were closed off to everyone since. I wish I had stayed to care for you better. I’m sorry that I turned away and left you to the world without my love, without my guidance. Like Papi did, I fled; it was easier to run than to face the responsibility.
I’m here now, Niñita, and because it’s been so long since our last time together you continue in my mind as an eternal child. Your eyes are the same, they smile readily. Your lips are the same, offerings kisses and speaking loving words always hoping. wanting, needing, wanting, hoping, always somewhere in there.
I should have had the presence of mind to steer you in the right direction. I’m so sorry. I’m so deeply sorry. I was afraid and I was young and didn’t know if I could handle being responsible for all of the impulsive things that you were sure to get into. Your wild ways frightened me, there was no place for me in the world that you created for yourself. He was supposed to be your Superhero. He was supposed to come home from work and kiss you and hug you. Instead he was a monthly guest...eventually a bi-annual guest... and eventually he just didn’t bother to show up at all. I suppose it must have been disconcerting to spend time with those whose lives he destroyed without wincing at the fruits of his actions. Was there ever a day that you didn’t agonize over your loss?
When he died it got worse. I watched the chasm between us widen and that’s when it was over for me... it was as if I didn’t exist. Others see confidence, but I see you clearly as I always did. A tear sits behind those eyes waiting to pour forth, at any time that bottom lip could tremble and the floodgates of your misery could drown us all. Bitter. Pained. Incomplete. Ashamed... tired of walking with your head high as if everything is just fine, tired of walking with your head down hiding from the world...throw your hands up and just give in.
In our time apart I have learned that we can be whole again. All these years you walked around thinking that you were alone but in your heart I live, in your heart God lives. God has gifts for us that have been just out of reach, things that were just out of the realm of capacity, things that were mysterious. But they are ours. Understand. This will not be easy. Growth hurts, change hurts, but I am so tired of watching you muddle through life. Watching you fight the phantoms of the heartaches you have suffered continually by choice. I will stand by you and hold you fast in moments of insecurity. Upon witnessing the first inklings of self-destruction, the moments that I should have been vigilant for, I will assure you that you are loved. That you are never going to be alone again. That you are not fatherless, That you have the great, deep and unerring love of our Almighty Father in Heaven here in our heart and that you will never ever walk alone ever again. God’s gracious presence can ensure that the fruits of the Spirit will grow in you... Because I am aware, and I am here and I can finally repair the schism that broke my spirit on the night that I sat on that sink and and screamed painful soul wrenching wails into my own face on the night I realized my father had left me.
Jani Rosado copyright 2009