Still Searching

by Fanny Rothschild

One day my pregnant daughter and my son-in-law were living with me in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the next day they were disappeared. One evening we were eating bife and pasta together, and the next I was staring across an empty table. One night a green Falcon hovered below my window and the next I was alone. One night the police dragged my pregnant daughter and my son-in-law out the front door, and the next there was silence.

That’s when I began The Search. I trudged from one government office to another. Each one gave the Official Story: my renegade children had fled the country. I knew deep in my heart my innocents were in prison, my daughter about to give birth. I was beyond distraught. I began to march every Thursday afternoon with Las Madres (The Mothers) and Las Abuelas (The Grandmothers), circling La Plaza de Mayo outside the generals’ offices. We protested weekly despite the severe danger.

Some days lately I feel like a goddess; others like a fish encased by the glass of an aquarium. The glass may be transparent, but where my grandchild is living is an agonizing mystery, so close yet in a different, unreachable dimension.

This nightmare began 43 years ago. I still ache in my bones for my flesh and blood grandchild. I know now that my children were murdered, and their stolen child raised by the military, police, or some people among these men who preyed on our young. Over the past four decades, The Grandmothers have asked – at times demanded – that everyone question whether they are in the “right” biological families.

On April 10, 2019, the 129th child reunites with a blood grandparent. When is my turn? When will my grandchild be the 130th? I continue The Search. I visit The Grandmothers’ office every week. They keep my DNA on file. They have become my Sisters. Still, I put an ad in the newspaper; I even get social media savvy and send out feelers online. Other days I simply walk, sending off pleas through the breezes that my grandchild recognizes me. I cannot stay put in my apartment peopled only with photographs of ghosts, themselves encased in glass.

The phone rings. Dare I answer it? I do.

People pour inside my apartment, all ages from baby Patricia to 100-year-old Aunt Vivi. Today my table is full. The cars parked outside are not green Falcons. I ache to dance with the photographs of my daughter and son-in-law. I want them to break through the glass and eat some bife and pasta with their child. Dinner ends and I cling to my grandson; he looks like his parents. He looks like me. With our precious new member, mi familia finally feels free.

Yet I cannot sleep. I resolve to return tomorrow to march with my other Sisters: Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. It will be Thursday again with 370 Grandmothers still searching. And I will be with them.

""Fanny Rothschild lives in Western Massachusetts where she balances and brings together her work as writer, human rights activist, and editor. Her ongoing efforts include the novels TANGO LESSONS, a depiction of the disappearances in Argentina, and GOING KUKU, a mosaic of a refugee family’s journey from Sudan to Massachusetts.

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