Stories For Liberation: ‘Daughter, Do You Still Want To Go?’

(Painting/Gwynne Duncan)

When there is a listener for our stories, we find words that we never knew we had. This is what happened to a group of young people at Central Islip High School who crossed the border by themselves, as they came out of their silence and shaped stories to help other people to walk in their shoes. After 10 weeks of writing, with the gentle guidance of our Herstory facilitators, they found the enormous courage needed to read their stories aloud. We invite readers to leave a comment below to offer inspiration to our young writers. If you’d like to know more about Herstory, click here.

Story Two: ‘Daughter, Do You Still Want To Go?’

Every morning, I opened my eyes and saw the brightness of the sun, heard a “good morning” from my mom… It felt so good to live with family.

The advice, and all of the love my mom gave to her children, was one of a kind. I remember so well when she used to call me “mi niña, my little girl,” “la niña de mis ojos, the apple of my eye.” How I remember her and all the love she has given me. I love my mother!

My childhood was sad, but beautiful at the same time. Even though I grew up without the love of a father, my mother had the passion and courage to play the role of father and mother at the same time. To me, my mom is a warrior and a fighter. She would give her own life for her children.

Since I was 7, I have always dreamed of becoming a doctor, and I know I will realize my dream because I have my mom as my inspiration.

One day, something very sad occurred. My aunt, my mom’s sister, and her husband were killed. That was very, very hard. It was like my heart had stopped beating. That was really hard and sad for my mom. She fell into a depression and didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was sad because, from this moment on, my house was full of only sadness and grief. There were no more hugs or “good mornings” from my mom.

Days passed, time passed, and my mom remained sunken in depression.

One night, two strangers knocked loudly at our door. This woke us. My mom was very nervous, but we were able to keep silent. The night felt so long, but thank God, nothing happened to us, except that the next morning, we were tired since the fear didn’t let us sleep at all. I then told my mom that I didn’t want to live here anymore because I was really scared.

She said, “Ay, hija, and what are you going to do? Talk to your father and see what he has to say.”

I talked to my father, explained to him why I didn’t want to live in my country anymore. But there was one reason I didn’t say. I wanted to come to the United States because I wanted to know my father; I was very small when he left to come to this country. He told me he would see what he could do to try to bring me to live with him.

Days passed and I obtained no response about whether I was leaving or not, but I kept insisting.

Until this day, I have every moment that I shared with my mom very present. I still remember that afternoon of April 23rd, when my mom and I were alone. I was giving her different hairstyles while telling jokes about the kids’ show “El Chavo del Ocho.” She just laughed a lot. I loved to spend time like that with my mom.

Suddenly, the phone rang. I anxiously ran to answer. It was my father. He asked if I still wanted to make the trip to which I responded “yes.”

“Okay,” he said, “your trip will be tomorrow.”

I wasn’t expecting that, for that day I was turning 15. It was so sad to think I wasn’t going to be able to spend that day with my family. That wasn’t good news for my mom. She looked angry and sad.

The afternoon passed, night came, and my mom wouldn’t talk to me. She remained sad and anxious. That night I couldn’t sleep because of the excitement. At that moment, I didn’t know how hard the goodbyes were going to be, much less how hard the trip would be.

The day of the trip came. I got up very early and immediately went to my mom and said, “Mami, you know I love you.” She looked at me slightly saddened and said, “Hija, are you sure you’re going?”

“Yes, mom,” I said, “and, you know what? You are going to be the reason for me to fight, to succeed, to endure everything.”

I started to get ready for when I’d get picked up. While I did, I observed my mom sad, anxious. The moment to say goodbye came, so I went outside. My mom asked me with sadness, “Hija, do you still want to go?”

I nodded as I said, “It’s time for me to go.”

She didn’t want to hug me. She couldn’t hold back her tears, and in that moment she said some words that still resonate in my ears and that are engraved deep in my heart:

Hija, have a safe trip. Forgive me for not celebrating your 15th birthday the way you always dreamed. All I ask is that you never forget that you’re leaving your mother here, the woman who gave you life, and that, even though you might be far, you will always be ‘my little girl.’ Take with you all the memories. Always fight, never give up. I trust you.”

I didn’t have words. I could only say, “Goodbye, mami. I’ll always have you with me.” And I left.

She didn’t stop looking at me with a saddened face.

I went to my grandparents’ home, where my aunts were with my beloved grandparents. Everyone looked at me as if asking, “Will she make it?”

Hija,” my grandmother told me, “never look back, you are strong, keep going forward. I admire you very much. Never look back! Good luck!”

I don’t know what happened to me, I couldn’t speak. I just hugged my nephew.

They came to pick me up, and suddenly I saw my mom holding on to the door. I looked at her with love, the way I always do, and she only said, “Do you still want to go?”

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