February is a month most noted for celebrating Black history and love. I dedicate this particular post to the matriarch of my family, Nelly Mercier Rigaud, my grandmother who was born on February 20, 1919, and was an unwavering example of what it means to love, have fortitude, resiliency, and determination to make sure everyone eats - literally.
Over the years, I learned that she always made sure the men had enough food on their plate (patriarchy apparently is real in the West Indies too), she held down the movie theaters our family rented in Haiti while her husband was being an entrepreneur in the U.S., and passed down her greatest recipes to the best cook in the family - my mom.
Hearing stories of her years after her departure from the world only makes me wish I talked to her more often and asked her more questions when she was alive. There was a bit of a language barrier between her and me, yet she still enforced discipline and love in a way only I could sense. Maybe it's part of the fear that my elders instilled in me, but nonetheless, I respected her off the premise of her presence.
I don't know how she did all the things she did while maintaining an angelic presence. An angel in disguise, I suppose.
As I've gotten older, I'm learning the importance of traditions and family values, and I have her to thank for this.