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Memories of a Goodbye
Do memories have life? Are they responsible for making our lives more complicated? What role do they play in our minds? Are they joy and happiness or extreme crying and pain? Can they travel? Are they able to ride an airplane? Do they leave you or they keep stick like a knife in your heart forever?
It was at night, my eyes could not close and had a strong blow to the heart, a blow like a construction hammer knocking something, yes, those hammers used by workers when they are going to build a large building. The only difference was that the effect of the hammer was not constructive but destructive. That night, even breathing hurt, I could feel my hopes fading away from those I loved. My joy and my loud laughter were disappearing and slowly passed through my head all the adventures that I had lived in my country, my beloved homeland, Colombia.
I could see myself as if I were a not-human thing, that from the sky was observing a happy and grateful girl, thankful with God for the life He gave me day by day. It was strange because from my bed, with my eyes closed I saw the most important scenes of my life, even the most painful ones. I watched with fervor the flashes my brain captured while laughing with my friends after a sunday church service. I was contemplating the times when I had to eat quickly my lunch to do the tasks that will take me a whole day and part of the night to finish. I watched the endless family gatherings in which we played music and went each of us one by one singing even if we were out of tune. I contemplated the unforgettable beautiful moments in my school and the way they taught me to know Jesus.
I watched my grandmother cooking for us with so much love and taking away the hunger that a long day brought. I saw my grandfather praying for our needs and for our concerns. I saw my aunt at 1:00 a.m preparing a class for her little pupils. I saw my cousin taking more time than the expected while eating on a small plate of food. I saw my aunt preparing a delicious box of 24 cupcakes, her specialty. I saw my uncle sitting at his piano, composing a new melody. I saw my whole family facing problems everyday but all with a smile always, exact and precise Colombian. I saw my friends and my closest people, teaching me life lessons with their lives. I saw my life in front of my eyes ... passing slowly and slowly, yes, very slow.
Ridden on a swing, sit at the cinema with my friends, leading the worship band, being a leader in my school, crying, praying and laughing, I saw myself from above and I tried to say to myself in my dream of open eyes, shouting, "Enjoy, Hey, can you hear me? Do you at least see me? Do you feel me? It's me, Daniela, right here, from the top, but I'm the same, I am you and listen to me, hey! Listen to what I have to say: Do not stop, do not even slow down, express your feelings, shout, laugh harder, cry, move, run, hug, love, you do not have much time, not here, not with them, not like that. Was anyone trying to tell me something? Was my beautiful life going to end? Was I about to leave, and they, my beloved ones will stay? Was my life going to change or take such a drastic turn?
March 15th, 2017, woken up since very early in the morning, we were waiting for a long flight to the United States of America, one without apparent return ticket, a flight that would change our lives or that had already changed our lives, a winner flight, winner of an award: the pain. If it does not seem credible, let’s let talk those who have had to leave their country, their family, their people, their church, their families, their comforts, their struggles and battles, their laughter and tears, their joy and their sadness and their flag, oh yes, their tricolor flag ... their Colombia.
I cried until the water tank of tears inside my body ran out. I'm still crying, I'm still missing and, without a doubt, it keeps hurting. It hurts to open your eyes and see how a stage full of different things and scenarios presents a play that you never imagined.
I was not accustomed to farewells. I never was. I was always very loyal and very dedicated to give everything from myself. I did not have to send a lot of people away, or say goodbye so often, but it hurt when I knew that I should be send away, when I knew that I should bid farewell to myself, to what I am, to my essence, to my blood ... of my tricolor homeland.
"To leave" is such an extremely deep word, of which we often do not understand its great meaning. In my personal case, I understood it when I arrived as the “new student” to a classroom, in which no one spoke my language; when I wanted to make a joke and I could not do it because I could not find the word in English; when I wanted to be crazy and show my love through hugging till break my friends’ bones (it is said so in Colombia) and I did not find them by my side. I understood the meaning of the word "leave" when I turned to see and did not find that laughter that exploded in my mouth when I enjoyed something. I understood the meaning, when I heard how my heart broke, or when I was sit down eating my lunch alone in a corner of a table. I was able to
understand the meaning when I saw my little brother crying when he arrived day by day from school because he had no friends, when I saw my parents stressed because they could not express themselves and I had to translate them (which filled me with great joy... being able to honor them that way after all that they have done for me). I understood what that word meant when we tried a new fruit that was known not in my country, or when we went to a store and we did not find what our country had, when we met the snow and when we hugged each other, one Sunday afternoon while tears fell out from our eyes because of our gratitude to God for this blessed land, the United States, even in the midst of pain. I understood the meaning when I began to smile, after 6 months and to thank for this country God brought us to.
Since we came to the United States, God has helped us with everything, even though it has been the most painful change of my life. God has taught me to serve him and I have learned something well, very well learned: this life is not mine, but my Owner’s: it’s God’s life, and all this process of pain but at the same time of joy has allowed me to learn that if in something my life is useful, if I can please God in any way, if a piece of my whole life serves Him to do anything, I can not say "no". If He wants my parents, my little brother and I to become part of His Purpose in the United States, even if that means leaving it all, for Him it's worth it.
We raise our flag in the name of God, Who brought us here, Who will provide the way and the solution to everything. We raised our flag with tears in our eyes, but fulfilling God's purpose.
At the end, maybe memories have life and their room is in our warm hearts or minds. Maybe memories are the only culprits of making our lives more complicated. Perhaps their role is making of us better people, people who learn how to value something or someone. And yes, maybe they came dressed as joy and happiness or sometimes wearing extreme crying and pain clothes. Yes, they can ride an airplane. Maybe they can travel, and, in my case, they traveled with me many miles and will stay right here. Maybe those memories never abandon us, on the contrary they keep stick making us laugh and cry at the same time. Maybe memories of a goodbye in my life just are trying to say to me: Everything changed but God is still the same.