Grandma's Photograph

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

       This is a photograph of my mother’s mother, whom I was not able to meet in my lifetime. There are five copies of this photo, but it is the only one of my grandmother that my family has and the sole reason I know my grandmother’s face. My mother’s immigration to the United States in 1996 was the last time she saw her mother. In April of 1998, one week before my birth, my grandmother passed away. My mother’s family could not inform her of this news until after I was born. They were afraid the shock would affect my birth. My mother had her first child and lost her mother at the same time. Every April became a celebration of my birthday and the death anniversary of a grandma I never met.        To this day, my mother regrets that she couldn’t be by her mother’s side before her passing, and even more that she had to mourn alone. As the only member of her family in the U.S. my mother could only turn to long-distance calls for comfort. She came to the U.S. with the fear that she would never see some of her family again. Now, whenever we visit Bangladesh, she is scared to say goodbye, fearing that another would leave her in her absence.         I see all of my family every day, but my parents can only see their family every few years. This photograph is the only thing my mom can turn to when she misses my grandmother. This is the effect of immigration—a separation of families in the hunt for a “better” life. Still, it’s a decision that both my mother and father don’t regret.

Place(s): Bangladesh
Year: 1996

– Mahfuza Sabiha

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant