Family History Form

By: Alexandra Aquino-Fike

The doctor asked me if I had any health issues in my family, and if my both my parents were still alive. I told him my Salvadoran father had died when I was a baby. He asked how. I froze. I looked down and swallowed a lump in my throat. I sputtered out “I don’t know how. He died in the civil war.” I couldn’t even bring myself to say that dirty word — “disappeared.”

The doctor silently wrote “trauma” next to my name.

I had never thought of myself as having trauma in my life.

But I guess if you stop and really think about what happened to the children of the Disappeared, you realize we were traumatized.

Armed men (in military garb or plain clothes) storm into a family home, office, classroom, café, or even the public bus.

They grab your mother or father and throw them into an armed pickup truck.

Your screaming father or mother, or grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, friend, passerby is left to call the police who say they know NOTHING – to tell the family, God, and ultimately to tell YOU

The daughter

The son

In between blood curdling screams, shattered dreams, sweat and hastily packed suitcases.

That your Mamí, your Papí, was taken. Your Mamí, your Papí isn’t coming home anymore.

Never again.

I cried in the car on the way home.