I was born that day to two parents who had moved from the Hell Mouth, away from family, and all that they knew in order to provide their children with a life that would not include migrant work. I’ll tell the story of my maternal grandparents rise and fall from poverty, to prosperity, back down to poverty on another day. But today, I’ll focus on Masita and Chico. Young, uncertain, and leaving a life where everyone was Mexican-Catholic to the land of W.A.S.P. and prejudice.
My mom learned English at age 12. Although I could not hear it, everyone (including her) said she spoke English with a Spanish accent, her syntax and semantics were flawless but darn it, she never did get the difference between “ch” and “sh” down, and was good natured about her grandchildren exclaiming “Grandma! It’s potato CHips! NOT potato Ships!” My dad learned English at a much earlier age and speaks it flawlessly.
I was fourth born, but the third living daughter. The story of my older sister’s fatal birth is also a story for another day. There were to be a total of nine children in our family. Seven girls and the last two boys. It was a crowded, noisy household filled with silliness and dysfunction. But, in spite of all of that dysfunction there was always a sense of connectedness. A sense that if you got into trouble, there would be family right there to bail you out and make you eat crow simultaneously. Time passing has driven us further apart, rather than closer together. Too much pain, betrayal and incrimination to be healed at this late date. I had made efforts to heal the rifts in the past and came out bloodied and bruised, so I’ll not go there again.
But, as I sat home on Monday, receiving calls from my beloved spawn, brother and from Chico, an overwhelming wave of sadness rolled over me and I’ve not been able to shake it off. Tears come and dry but the crushing pain in my chest has not lessened, so I turned to prayer and the Holy Mother seeking solace and comfort and wisdom.
In my prayer, which was swiped from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, it was revealed to me the cause of my sadness. I no longer have a life of connectedness. At this time, with the great difficulties in my marriage, my children leaving the faith and pursuing personal decisions which break my heart, I find that I don’t have a sense of me, a sense of this who I am and this is my tribe. I know I am loved. I know I have two IRL friends whom I can count on without reservation as well as very nice acquaintances who are happy to socialize. But, in all of this I feel like my ship has become unmoored and I am alone and isolated.
Thankfully, at this time my connection to Christ and the Blessed Mother is blossoming. My prayer life is rich, and my sense of knowing God is greater than ever. But, as I go through my day and my familiar path my heart is aching with a loneliness and sense of isolation which is crushing.
I wish I knew why.