I distinctly remember the moment I realized that I have been fortunate enough in my young life to have never considered my existence without receiving unconditional love from someone I care for deeply. I was studying love in a Christian based Bible study when we read the quintessential Bible verses on Jesus' love, 1 Corinthians 14:4-6. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” After reading those verses I realized that my Gamma (grandmother) provided me with an unconditional love that I attribute to still being alive today. During my darkest hours, biggest disappointments, and most significant missteps, during times when I felt as though everyone around me had abandoned me, I never questioned that my grandmother would still be by my side, rooting me on, and most note-worthy, never "keeping record of my wrongs" to make me feel like my failures in any way marked me as undesirable,
After I survived a near death experience I distinctly remember my uncle telling me that he’s glad I made it because he was sure that his mother, my Gamma, would not have long outlived my death. This statement literally brought me to my knees in despair and tears because I knew what he had told me was true. This is the double edged sword of unconditional love—acknowledging that my grandmother's love for me undoubtedly caused her pain at my every misstep. I never talked to her about where her love originated from, but I have come to believe it comes from her experiences in Haiti and how her undying faith in the Christian God helped her survive her own tragedies. Stay tuned for Part II.