Going back to it all

by Dawn Gardfrey

Knowing that there is an opportunity for me to go back to Guyana is indeed a bittersweet opportunity, but I have to confess, I do have reservations about going back. After all, the last time I saw Guyana was in late 1978, when I left Georgetown a couple of weeks after the deaths of my family and friends in Jonestown.

How will I feel if I returned to the place I called home for my early teenage years?  Will I be nervous, excited, elated, angry?  Will I find peace of mind? What will any of us feel upon returning?

I am a bit scared not knowing what to expect. The pictures I saw in the immediate aftermath depicted my former home as a killing field, not the vibrant community I knew. The pictures I have seen of it from the intervening years have also served to make it unrecognizable. I’m also sure, that, that once there, the familiarity of bygone days will become apparent.

What do I hope to accomplish upon a return visit? What do any of us who will make this journey hope to accomplish? These may be questions we can answer only in hindsight. Still, I’m sure we will not find answers to the questions we have asked of ourselves and others over the years. Hopefully we will be able to say a final goodbye to all our loved ones and somehow find that inner peace so deserving to us all.

(Dawn Gardfrey was in Georgetown with her grandmother on November 18, 1978. Her complete set of writings on this site may be found here. She can be reached here.)

Originally posted on October 27th, 2015.

Last modified on July 25th, 2018.
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