I come from many places. It took many diverse cultures to make me. The most closely of them is Cuban. I am Cuban American. I will (hopefully) never know first hand the struggles my parents, my grandparents, and great grandparents endured and came through. I grew up hearing their stories of their beloved island and the stories of their struggles. When I heard the news of the passing of this dictator, Fidel Castro, I, like many, flocked to our central hub in Miami for celebration -Versailles. His passing may not change much right now but it gives us Hope. It gives us Esperanza. Our beloved island, its people, our culture need and will sing, dance, celebrate and be free once again.
It was a really emotional day. One I'm glad I was around to see and be a part of. I took my daughter and husband with me. My in laws came out too. We chanted, we cheered, sang, danced, ate croquetas, pasteles and drank café as the scent of cigars danced above us. It was glorious. It was mournful for the ones we lost and the lives it affected. It was an uprooted culture celebrating its roots. It was a day I will not soon forget.
This shirt I wore that day belonged to my maternal grandmother. It's one part of the two outfits she brought with her from Cuba. It was made in secret by a seamstress and a painter. The buttons on the back were from a couch. The pleats in the front are functional and there in order to be let down as you grow. This is the only physical thing I have of her now but her memory, sarcasm and love will forever live on in me.