a year ago
I’ve never been one of those people who subscribed to the philosophy of living with no regrets. I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried, to accept my past mistakes and move on. I’ve tried to be okay with fragmented and broken relationships, with people having the wrong impression based on a few bad experiences but I failed miserably each time.
Whatever the case, I do have regrets. I can’t pretend that the mistakes I’ve made in my past have not haunted me or still haunt me.
Some more than others.
Formerly she was my cousin, but she was really another mother in my tribe. I grew up in her house, it was my home away home. A haven from the stifling reality that sometimes awaited me at my own house.
Under her watchful eye, I spent many weekends with my sister-cousins watching music videos, leaning how to dance, trying on pants, and painting my nails. Essentially, all the things forbidden to me at home.
She had a power over my father that few people had. She always convinced him to let us sleep over when he wanted to take us home or to let us attend one of her family’s legendary parties where I learned how to dance to American and Haitian music.
So when she fell sick, I was by her side a few times in the beginning. I came home from school and we sat in a comfortable silence, the television our soundtrack. I visited less and less, inquired even less about the severity of her sickness until I felt too ashamed to even say her name.
I felt conflicted at her funeral, like an outsider who didn’t belong, a scarlet A etched on my forehead for absence. I choked back tears of regret, I tried to stop thinking about the times I should have picked up the phone or driven to her house.
Every Mother’s day I remember her especially when I contact my sister-cousins knowing they are feeling a different kind of grief.
Finally, I decided to stop punishing myself for my actions and vowed to honor her memory by becoming more present for others.
Physically she’s gone but she’s alive in my memories and now when I look at her picture, I can smile through the tears.