Nepal Trip ~ Day 16: What I Want and Reflection

I woke up today with my mother on my mind. I am thinking about everything she has been through. Replaying all that she has done for me, for us, for our family… for our ENTIRE family “immediate and blood related”. The sacrifices, the pain, the hurt, the disappointments, the celebrations, the joy, the laughter, the incredible dinners she prepares with so much love… her immigrant experience, racism she has experienced and everything that makes her her. All that has formed her… and how she has formed me.
The life She had before me…

The dreams she had…

She had a complete past…

A childhood filled with hopes…

She HAS a story…

She IS a story…

She is my first story…
She is the reason I am a writer… and I never knew it until TODAY!

There were things she wanted to do and be in this life. But life does what it always does, it threw her a curve ball… in fact, it through her five curve balls… my dad, me and my three siblings. Everything she thought would happen in her life changed in a split second and then she became a mother, a role she put EVERYTHING into. She has taken everything life throws at her.

Mom is on my mind heavy today…


I checked my email today before continuing the trek and there it was a letter from my mother. Its funny how connected we are…. I know exactly what this is because I feel my daughter in that same way. Mami wrote me the most beautiful letter about her youth and her love of words. She told me that I definitely got my love for writing and story telling from her and how when she was a little girl her abuelita, my great-grandmother, would have her memorize and recite poetry from famous poets of the Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina and all over Latin America for school.

Her abuela would have her repeat a poem again and again and again until she knew it by heart.

Mi madre declamaba…  a formal way to say she recited poetry… in the Dominican Republic there were famous orators who recited poetry and she delivered poems as a child with such eloquence. I could just imagine my mami, age seven, two ponytails, in a beautiful yellow dress made by my abuelita Cacha (short for Caridad) and how she would stand in front of her class to deliver one of Hector J. Diaz’s most famous poems:
Que nadie me conozca y que nadie me quiera
Que nadie se preocupe de mi triste destino
Quiero ser incansable y eterno peregrino
Que camina sin rumbo por que nadie le espera.
Caminar rumbo adentro, solo con mis dolores,
Nómada, sin amigos, sin hogar y sin anhelos,
Que mi techo sea el cielo,
Y mi lecho las hojas de algún árbol sin flores.
Que no sepan mi vida
Ni yo sepa la ajena
Que ignore todo el mundo
Si soy triste o dichoso.
Quiero ser una lágrima
En un mar tempestuoso
O un granito de arena
En inmenso desierto.
Cuando ya tenga polvo de todos los caminos,
Cuando ya este cansado de luchar con mi suerte,
Me lanzare en la noche sin luna de la muerte
De donde no regresan jamás los peregrinos.
Y morir una tarde,
Cuando el sol triste alumbre
Ascendiendo hasta el cielo
O descendiendo una cumbre.
Que mis restos ya polvo los disipen los vientos,
Para que cuando ella sienta remordimiento
No se encuentre mi tumba,
ni me pueda rezar.

WHAT I WANT (Hector J. Diaz)

Translated by Alicia Anabel Santos

May no one know me and no one want me
May no one worry about my sad destiny
I want to be a tireless and eternal pilgrim

Who walks aimlessly because no one expects me

Walking my path, alone with my pain
Nomad, without friends, with no home and without longings,

That my ceiling be the sky
And my bed the leaves of a tree without flowers.
May they not know of my life
Nor I know of others

May the entire world ignore
If I am sad or lucky

I want to be a tear
In a stormy sea
or a grain of sand
in an immense desert
when the roads are filled with dust
when I tire from fighting against my luck
I will throw myself to the night without the moon of death
where pilgrims never return
and die one afternoon
when the sad sun shines
ascending the heavens
or descending a summit
may my remains, now dust, blow in the winds
so when she feels remorse
she will not find my grave

and cannot pray for me


In the email she included a recording of her delivering this beautiful poem. A poem she delivered off the cuff and completely by memory. A poem she learned over SIXTY YEARS AGO. WOW!!! I was blown away by her message. She cried in her audio telling me how just remembering her childhood brought back so many beautiful moments. Mami ended her email by reminding me, “CUIDATE MI HIJA…. live fully, keep writing.” and her last words on the page were, “I am so proud of you Alicia, nunca dejes que nadie te controle o que traten de cambiarte.” Don’t allow anyone to control you or try to change you.

My mother is so strong, she is the woman I hope to be.

And so it is. Namaste. Ache

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