Stories For Liberation: When the Heart and Mind Don’t Agree

(Painting/"When the Heart and Mind Don't Agree"/Gwynne Duncan)

As Father’s Day rolls in,  we join with the immigrant children who are separated from their parents by our country’s harsh laws.  Today’s story, first published in Brave Journeys and featured on this website in April of 2018, says it all.  Written by a young woman from Central Islip High School, it calls out to all children whose families and hearts have been torn apart,  even as it testifies to the strength of the human spirit.  We ask you, our web visitors, to add your comments to this story, and to use whatever social media is at your disposal on this day of celebration to make sure that the writer’s message isn’t lost.

If you are an educator registered with First Book, you may purchase a class set or individual copies of Brave Journeys at a 76% discount from their marketplace.

When the Heart and Mind Don’t Agree

While playing with friends outside my grandmother’s house, my aunt arrived.
“It’s your mother,” she said, handing me the cell phone.

In slow motion, I heard when my mom told me that in two days, I’d be traveling to the United States. I was shocked by the news. I didn’t know what to say or think. I only stayed still with my mind blank.

“Tell your dad,” my mom said.

When I was done talking to her, a thousand thoughts came to mind. I tried to separate my emotions, but it was impossible. I was very hopeful about seeing the woman who gave birth to me, my mother, since I hadn’t seen her since I was three.

It wasn’t a decision I had to make, since weeks before, many problems with delinquency had occurred and were getting worse. I tried to convince myself that everything would be fine. But the more I tried, the less my heart accepted it. I had to say “goodbye” to everything that made up my world.

How do you leave the most important person from one day to the next? My dad, who took care of me for 14 years, wasn’t just my dad anymore; he was also my mother, my friend. He’d become the most important person in my life, and I didn’t want to leave him alone. But, I had no choice.

The day of departure came too quickly. My dad, brother–who was also coming with me on this trip–and I arrived at the hotel. We were both torn up inside. We didn’t want to leave our country, much less our father. When it was time for our dad to leave us there, I could see the sadness in his face.

“Take care of yourselves,” he said as he hugged us.

He left the room, and I tried to distract myself with the television, but I couldn’t stop thinking about all that I was leaving behind.

There’s a saying that goes, “You can take a man out of his country, but you can’t take a country from a man’s heart.” That’s what’s happening to me, along with thousands of other immigrants who left their countries in search of a better life.

That’s how I came to say “goodbye” to great parts of my life. The day I left my country, I realized our souls are made of glass. As I looked at my country’s streets one last time, I could hear inside how my soul and heart shattered to pieces.