Yanelys Nuñez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES —When I saw them again, it felt as though they were stuck in time. Their faces marked by new worries – a sick great grandson – the elderly couple greets me.
When I first met them some years ago, I’d noticed their complete devotion to the family they had built, a devotion that led them to raise, not only their children, but their grandchildren and great grandchildren as well.
I remember them constantly busy with house chores or a baby in their arms (their offspring was quick to produce their own).
I never saw them have any real fun (only rum gave them a chance to unplug), for their family never gave them a moment’s rest.
Losing a child made them commit even more strongly to the family (albeit less energetically), as they felt they had been punished for no real reason.
Now that I see them again, I notice they haven’t changed much. Forsaking any personal dreams, goals or aspirations, they continue to devote themselves fully to the care of their kin, even when most have already “flown the nest.”
Shouldering the burden of several generations (who at times express contempt towards them), they continue to eke out a living out of sheer inertia.
Their greatest ambition amounts to being useful within the family.
I don’t pretend to judge the choices they’ve made in life. What is extremely sad is the fact one cannot perceive an iota of satisfaction in their faces.
This isn’t meant as a commentary on the importance of selfishness or the need to dismantle the family as an institution. It is rather an invitation to realize ourselves as individuals, which always gives off positive energy.