By Violeta Tarin
I’m very blessed to have been able to be a part of so many events that not many would consider all that big, but in my eyes are such emotional and exciting moments. One that has significantly resonated with me was during a reunification a year ago. It somehow worked out that two of our boys were being discharged at the same time and being reunified in the same state – into neighboring cities at that. One of them was being reunified with his father who came to the US some time ago, and he only had vague memories of him as he was still so young when his father left Guatemala.
Throughout the trip and flight, I like to check in with the boys and ask how they’re feeling. I asked him how he was and if he was feeling alright. He nodded his head “yes”, but he continued to fidget with his hands and in his seat. We finally landed and headed straight to the terminal their families were meeting us at.
Going down the escalator, the family of our other boy was standing right at the bottom, and all began yelling his name once they saw him. They exchanged hugs, kisses, and tears. While completing their paperwork and taking photos they requested, I kept glancing back at our other boy who wouldn’t take his eyes off that door, just waiting for his dad to walk through it.
We finished up our first discharge, and as I was packing away that paperwork, he asked if this is the only way to get in or out and if we can try another exit. I reassured him that when I had spoken to his father earlier, he knew where to meet us, but I asked if he wanted to call him to see where he was.
My back was faced away from the door, and he continued to look at it as we spoke. As I reached for my phone and was pulling up his dad’s contact, I hear him yell “Apa!”. I looked up at him and he screamed “Ahi esta!” and pointed to a man walking through the doors. They saw each other, his dad ran through those doors and threw both fists up in the air in celebration as if he just won a championship. They ran in for a hug and just cried and cried. I gave them their time, and as his father and I were going over documents, he kept looking up at his son and smiling.
We finished up, and he pulled his son in for another hug, fighting tears back and said “Lo hicimos, hijo.!”, (“We did it, son!”). We said our goodbyes, I congratulated them, and they walked away with his dad wrapping his arm over his son’s shoulders. It was definitely one of the best things I’ve been a part of.