Wednesday, 4 December 2013

From Chiemeka to Grandma

She died on my birthday
I have a great song to say
You were older than 60 when I turned 8
I will say that was great
Spirits don't die
They just fly in the sky
Looking at you behave
They look everyday
My mom really misses her
She died on December 1st
When she held me she gave me smile
And when I see that, I smile
She loved me
I loved her
We were sometimes together
She loved my father
She loved my mother

How Maroons must have felt

My aunt passed away on Dec. 1. I did not sleep a wink that night. Although I did not know it, my spirit was restless. That's how connected we were. She was the greatest aunt in the entire world. There's a saying that as adults, we won't remember what was said to us as children but we will remember how particular adults made us feel. I remember how my aunt made me feel. She made me feel great; like I was a superstar. She loved me and I knew it. She loved all of us. She was just that kind of spirit. I take solace in the fact that she died on my son's birthday and will become his guardian angel.

I am peeved at myself for not being there while she was alive. We moved to Ghana in 2005 and since then, we've only visited family once. Not that we didn't want to, but the opportunities don't always present themselves. I'm also disappointed that I did not have the financial freedom to permit me travel as many times as needed to keep that bond alive. Or the financial freedom to be of assistance to her while alive. I would have wanted to provide her a private nurse and have my children at her feet. I couldn't do that. I should have done that. I would have loved to do that.

Here lays the conundrum of being a returnee or living so far away from family members that you love. While others will take our move to Ghana as heroic and groundbreaking, it comes with its baggages, such as not being with family that you love when you want and when they need you.

I'm thinking of the average Maroon, making that decision to leave her evil conditions for something better, but that something better cannot be that great without her family members. We imagine the Maroons communities as revolutionary and inspiring but we don't remember the average Maroon and what that decision mean psychologically and socially. It's not a simple live free or live as slave? For many it was live without the one I love is not living at all. It meant leaving the little family bonds that they had. They had to hear news of loved ones through the grapevine. They couldn't as easily see the ones left behind, even for a short time. That break in the community, albeit imaginary, is the essence of humanity. And why family is so important to Africans, despite what the Maafa intended.

As Returnees, we will have to deal with such heartbreak. While the move in itself is what our ancestors wanted, we will create a break with some of the most wonderful family members we ever had. It takes courage to make such a move knowing this sad fact. Maybe the Africans who did not run away to join the Maroons had similar paradoxes. It's not easy being away from those we love, even if the conditions are horrific and evil. I swore that I wouldn't raise my children in the US, but I would now if I could have my aunt back. I would want them to feel how she made me feel on a daily basis. I would want them to hear her voice and always remember her with happiness and joy. I would want them to taste her cooking and hear her call their names.

How many more family members will I deprive them of knowing? How many more will become ancestors before they had a chance to physically bond and feel that same deep love that I feel for my aunt? Is returning to the Motherland or moving away from the pariah worth it if some of the greats are left behind?