A Perspective on Immigration
I won’t pretend to know much about the immigration issue. I understand both points of view, refugees escaping and wanting a better life or people taking advantage of an already overburdened system. However, I do have a personal perspective on it. I consider my Grandma, a Saint, she was a gentle, loving, and kind Grandma, but she didn’t let us get away with murder. She wiped our tears with her thumb and baked bread in the kitchen. She was the woman who eased our heartache and laughed at our silly jokes, mostly she just loved us. She loved all children and in the small town that I was from, there was not a child she didn’t love. She didn’t care about their socioeconomic status or the color of their skin, she just saw children.
As a young girl, I came home from school one day and in my front yard there were children I had never met before. They had surrounded my Grandma and were gazing intently into her face waiting for her surprise. These children were strange and different, they had long jet black hair, strange eyes, and spoke in a language that was completely foreign from the slight Texas drawl that I was used to hearing. On a warm summer’s day, I climbed up our whispering willow tree and into my cradled space. I crouched lower into the safety of my tree and smiled. She was going to show them something that had brought a smile through my tears and laughter to my heart after a scraped knee or when she just wanted to hear me laugh. She waited till she had all of their attention; the air was still, the children settled, and were silent. Then it happened! She popped her dentures passed her lips and all the children ran and screamed with giggles. Though they couldn’t speak English, they pulled on her shirt, sign language for do it again. Their stories were more than I could comprehend for a young mind. In the darkness of night, they fled from the Communists taking over their country. They left everything they knew, clothes, toys, and their own grandmothers. They hid under bushes to escape soldiers running through their villages capturing and murdering people in Laos. They got on a boat with nothing but the clothes on their back and hope for a future. How they landed in Clovis, NM I don’t know. Churches provided shelter, clothes, and food, a refuge in the storm. Arriving in America, they had to learn a whole new way of life, customs, and language while still remembering the heartache that they left behind. My grandmother gave them something so much more than clothes and shelter; she gave them the gift of love and acceptance.
A couple of years of ago, when I got on Facebook I was “friended” by someone I thought I didn’t know. I didn’t recognize the name but “friended” them anyways and didn’t think much of it. I figured I would have a new reader for my future books. A few months ago, I checked the “other” messages and that same person that had “friended” had been writing messages over the years of wondering how I was, wishing me Happy Birthday. It was my friend from grade school and one of the children from Laos that Grandma has accepted as one of her own. After many apologies from me, we talked of little things. She said, if it weren’t not for Grandma, I would not have become a nurse. Tears caught in my throat, I wrote back, Grandma would be so proud of you. My grandma’s legacy will live forever because she gave the gift of love and acceptance. Every time my friend helps another person and heals another soul she leaves a little bit of my grandma in everyone she touches.