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be sure since the picture has no color. Although I think she always wore luto, the colors of mourning: black, white, gray or purple. She wore it for her husband, even though he had been dead for twenty years. My grandmother Claudina, or Lela to all six of her grandkids, is to her right, gray hair elegantly teased and worn back in a 1950s style bob, hair-sprayed neatly together. My mother sits to her left, in a sparkly halter evening gown, with her arm wrapped around me, four years old. Her eyes are bright, their green not evident in the black and white picture, but she is elegant, as always. I am not smiling, I look serious, and am staring straight at the camera, with a look that seems to say “where am I?” or better yet, “who am I?” I forgot who I was some time ago. Or maybe I chose to forget, burying pain, loss and a deep sense of abandonment in a façade of academic achievement, stable job, MBA, marriage and children, divorce, new life. Like a chameleon, I adapted to new situations, hiding vulnerability, a trait not really allowed in my nuclear family. Nina herself used to say “leave those tears for when I die,” as if crying represented a fracture, a weakness of character that had to be ensconced in a more durable shell. Three children of my own and years of therapy have taught me that “toughen up” attitude is perhaps our own unwillingness to face our deepest fears. In 2002, pregnant with my second daughter, I wrote in a journal that belonged to my grandfather “I want to know who I really am. Why am I here? What is my purpose?” I did not know I was pregnant at the time, and that the daughter who I would birth seven months later would be born with a terminal genetic disorder, giving purpose an entirely new and very definitive meaning.

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Profile for cusoa

2017 Word for Work Workshop ebook  

2017 Word for Work Workshop ebook  

Profile for cusoa