By Irina Pino
HAVANA TIMES – Now that my parents have passed away, I ask myself every day if I should have done more for them, in their last moments on Earth, while they lived with me?
If I had hurt them in so many ways with my selfish attitude, when I longed to be able to go out, be free to go wherever I wanted, far from everyday chores?
I’m sad that my mother and I didn’t have more in common. We had different tastes and opinions, her almost monastical education bothered me; I couldn’t talk to her about certain things because her primary education took place in a school run by nuns. I remember how she would be horrified if I put on a movie where someone was nude, or there was a sex scene. This is why I had to watch movies first, to make sure they were OK, free from censorship.
I would watch how the comedies I picked out for her didn’t make her laugh. Or was it that she didn’t see things the way I had hoped? Maybe her joy had died before her…
My mother was a bossy woman and she had a surly nature. She didn’t show her affection easily. Her son was her favorite, which stopped her from seeing my brother for who he truly was, who came very few times to take care of her.
On the other hand, she had a source of energy that lasted her until her ‘80s, always ready to take on any domestic chore as long as she had her health. She took care of my father, when he suffered a stroke, which affected him for many months.
She was a strong woman, having worked ever since she was a young girl: she sold saints, worked in a cafe, in a buttons factory, cleaning apartments, she was a proofreader at a publishing house, and last of all, she bonded books.
But she stopped believing in herself, she slowly lost her liveliness.
I had a more compatible relationship with my father; we were connected by our love for reading, we could speak about books, as if it were a debate, and watch movies together. He would often be affectionate with us, especially with my sister and I, then with his grandchildren.
In the beginning, in my teenage years, he was against me writing. One time, in a fit of rage, he destroyed some of my poems, saying that I had to study and stop wasting my time. I would lock myself in my room with a typewriter and not let anyone in.
His greatest wish was that I go to study at university. But I did the opposite, I passed a technical course and started working straight away. I ended up being unstable in both work and my relationships. I know that I never met his expectations.
While it’s true that he celebrated my first book of poems in his old age, a book of poems that had one dedicated to him and spoke about a slap. That was the only time my father hit me, and it was because I played truant at school.
I have written an article in the past about how my father moved in with me for three months to help me with my newborn son. He didn’t have any preconceptions, he would clean, cook and do any plumbing, building or electric work around the house.
My parents were good, honest people, who had a 60-year-long marriage and formed a family with all of its pros and cons, just like the rest of their generation.
Now, I know how much I miss them, and I hope they can forgive me.