Thursday, September 02, 2010

If Happy Little Bluebirds Fly...

My cousin Zahira would have been thirty years old this Saturday.

Instead of blowing out candles, she will be resting in an unmarked grave along side my grandfather and her mother.

The pain of her death still haunts me, as does the pain that she knew in life.

When I was a child her mother and my mother were always at odds, so I was never allowed to talk to them much. I was taught to hate her and her mother for reasons that never made sense and I was never allowed to question.

I remember when she was around the ages of her orphaned daughters now - sleeping on the bench in front of her apartment building as I walked on my way to school. The cancerian in my, always the compassionate, could never steel herself against the image. It broke my heart even back then. Seeing her with the lines of the bench slats engraved in her face, as she woke up disheveled and funky. Not allowed upstairs because her mom got high and locked her out. No place to go, but my grandmother's house to beg for 50 cents so she could buy a bagel to eat. Most times no one opened the door, expecting that if they didn't somehow her mother Rachel would come to her senses and start taking care of her kids.

No adult in my family wanted to take responsibility for her, because that would impede on their freedom and give her mother even more free reign to do as she pleased.

I was young, too young in fact to ever really help. Any of my arguements for someone to help her were shot down or I was threatened with beatings if I would persist. Eventually I took a different route to school, and tried my best to avoid her.

Hoping my avoidance would somehow make God better her situation. It didn't of course, but it was wishful thinking.

As an adult - her two daughters are all that are left of her.

Through their veins runs the blood I loved.

Her oldest has the face and mannerisms that send me to my bathroom to cry like I little girl because I miss her so much. Her loss caused a pain in my heart that still has not gone away. It still exist in the 9 years since her death. The only thing I can do to honor her memory - is make sure their lives are nothing like hers. I have to make sure that they never endure the unspeakable things she did. I have to make sure that they are HAPPY.

Even if I have to declare war to ensure it.

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