Thursday, August 20, 2009

An unsent letter to Mi Amor's immigration attorney

I thought I should tell you that my husband was killed at the beginning of June. He was shot seven times and left lying in the street. Luckily we were all informed quickly and I was able to fly down for the funeral. He looked peaceful and, although he was shot once in the head, his face was not harmed.

I also thought I should tell you that I am angry. I am angry that no one took him seriously when he said he was afraid for his safety if he returned to El Salvador. His age and appearance made him a target. I am angry that there was "nothing that could be done" to keep him here. I am angry that I am a 32 year old widow and that our daughter will have so few memories of the father who gave everything for the chance to be with his family again. I am angry that we had to be pecked at by a heartless vulture of a lying landlord who stole most of our possessions. Mostly, I am angry that we struggled for so long and came so close to being together again only to have some idiot thugs snatch away our dreams.

My only hope is that our loss can be an eye-opener to the realities of your clients' situations. When someone professes a fear of returning home, claims they are afraid of the gangs and their penchant for random murders, I hope that you will listen.

(maybe someday I will send it)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What I remember

The other day, I had a sudden flash of a memory. The small, round scar on his chest, surrounded by otherwise baby-smooth skin. It was not discolored, just raised, and I don't remember the story behind it.

He had many scars, both physical and emotional, and I always tried to be gentle with him. Their stories often horrified me--it was so often unfathomable that such a sweet, kind, and funny man endured so much trauma in his life... traumas so intense that they left their marks all over his body and mind.

I tried my hardest to heal the wounds that festered underneath his hardened skin, and for the last few years of our time together, I think I was at least somewhat successful.

But I remember those scars, and their stories... his smooth caramel skin... the warm, earthy smell of his hair after he'd come home from a long day of work... the strength of his rough, worker hands and how they made me feel so safe when they held mine.

And I also remember the little nagging fear that I'd lose him... that he wouldn't come home one day... that no one would know where he was.

I remember waking up nights when he had not yet come home, frantic with worry, unable to go back to sleep, just waiting and waiting for the sound of our truck... the sound of the door... anything to tell me that he was okay.

I remember the combination of relief and anger I'd feel upon his return, the desire to scream at him and hug him all at once... and how exhausted we both were those days: he from work and I from tossing, turning, crying, and praying all night.

There are so many things I remember, yet there are still so many things I do not know. The last month or so of his life, even though we spoke daily, feels like such a mystery to me--and one that will likely remain so. I only hope that while I reinforce the memories, the mystery fades.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Through all of the chaos

Somehow I am finding some sort of comfort these days. The tears are less frequent and, while I still have no clue where we are headed, I know that we will be okay.

Three of us in the family have been having dreams about Mi Amor, and strangely enough, he seems to be wearing the same sort of clothes in everyone's dreams. Last week at some point I had a dream about him (he was wearing a black and white striped shirt)... in my dream he came back and said he was still alive, that it was all a big misunderstanding and that everything was fine and I didn't have to worry. The next day I got an email from Mi Prima saying that her husband woke up the night before and thought he saw Mi Amor, in a black and white striped shirt, walking around by the window outside the house. That same night, Mi Primo had a dream of Mi Amor, wearing the same thing, where he was trying to explain about and describe the people who killed him. I have not had any of those eerily vivid dreams since, and I'm not complaining about that. I woke up so confused that for a second I wanted to try to call him.

I have been regularly talking with a good friend of Mi Amor and Mi Primo. He is such a comfort to me and he makes me laugh. There are so few connections to Mi Amor here, other than our daughter of course, so it is nice to speak with someone (an adult) who knows how I feel and what a good man he was. Plus, I get to practice my Spanish, which is a great thing.

Earlier this week I sent out a couple of packages to Mi Familia. I'd put together some photo albums, mostly of Mi Amor and La Hija, threw in a few framed recent photos of La Hija, and my mom and I embroidered some cloth napkins for them to hang or put on tables or whatever. It feels good to have finally gotten them out.

Two weeks ago I got a new job teaching Lit at a voc. ed. school. It has been a lot of fun so far and it's nice to get back to work. I hope that I will be able to pick up some more classes next quarter and eek out a living between that and subbing. I'm staying with my aunt most of the time and have decided to put La Hija in preschool/day care out here. I've been looking for places so we could live on our own, but it would be a huge struggle to make ends meet, so my aunt has said we can stay as long as we need and want to. Thank God for my supportive family.

There is more I want to talk about, but I need to sort it all out in my head before I write it down here.