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The Griefs of the Migrant

We suffer many deaths in life without recognizing them as such; for example, the lost of a job, the end of a loving relationship or friendship, the loss of a pet, moving from a house, the loss of hair or migration to another country. All these losses bring with them their own mourning, even if we don’t know that we are experiencing them.

The different losses and painful processes accompanying migration to another country is something hardly ever spoken of or something given little importance. Migrants lose our country, our families, our friends, our homes, an entire life filled with memories and experiences. Although they will remain in our minds and hearts, we suffer them for a long period of time as we adapt to our new culture; and, in this new culture, the adaptation process absorbs us without leaving time to process these losses.

Whoever emigrates to another country without legal status and is prohibited from freely traveling across two frontiers knows the pain, the frustration and impotence felt when an event as certain as death takes place. One must suffer from thousands of miles away the sickness of loved ones and their deaths, without being able to do anything but cry and lament not being able to be there to accompany them in their life’s last days; without being able to tell them face to face how much we loved them; without being able to caress them, and give them a final embrace and blessing. They suffer not being able to attend their funeral and express some words of hope or give a big consoling embrace to their family.

This pain, I think, is the cruelest of all; and is difficult to shoulder without a family and social support system. Although painful to never be near our loved ones again, these pains invite us to confide in the promise of eternal life, which God our Lord gives us. These are also an invitation to live in every meaning and extension of the word; to value every instant with our loved ones, even at a distance, to reflect on the fragility of life and give love to our loved ones, as is expressed in the poem En vida, hermano, en vida (In life, brother, in life) by Ana María Rabatte y Cervi:

“If you wish to bring joy / to someone you love, / express it today, be very good… / In life, brother, in life. / If you wish to present a flower, / don’t wait for someone to die; / send it today with love… / In life, brother, in life. / If you wish to say “I love you” / to the people in your home, / to the friend near or far… / In life, brother, in life. / Don’t wait for people / to die to love them / and make your affection felt, / In life, brother, in life. / How fortunate you will be, / if you learn to make / everyone you know happy, / In life, brother, in life. / Never visit cemeteries, / nor fill tombs with flowers; / fill hearts with love / In life, brother, in life.

Source: Nuestra Parroquia