Letting Go of Ancestral Pain

Growing up, I wished that I was never born and I often cursed the day of my birth.  I did not understand why God would place me on this earth to suffer.  Why did I feel so much? Why couldn’t I let go? Why did I remember the faces of people that I only saw once and who may have never seen me at all? So I grew up struggling to find peace, and to reconcile my spirit with the ills of the world.

I remember being around 4 or 5 and having a very deep-seated connection to people that I never even knew.  I would see someone and I could feel their pain and their emotions.  I wanted to absorb their hurt and take it in for myself, so that they did not have to bear it.  I involuntarily bore a sense of pain that always seemed to leave me out of balance.

Recently, I have endured a series of heartbreaking losses that have left me extremely fragile.  The one that hurt the most was the loss of my first cousin Quinton.

As a child he was fearless. And although he was younger, I often followed his carefree lead.  When I found out he passed, I fell to my knees.  I’ve lost people before, but this was different.  I was immediately flooded with memories of us as children enjoying a carefree life.  We had not talked or seen each other in years, so I did not understand why it hurt so much.  While the adult me mourned the time lost, it was my inner child that hurt the most.  But his passing woke up a part of me that had lied dormant for quite some time. My inner child wept for the times that we shared and the memories that we created.

In his presence, my childhood spirit did not carry the heavy burdens of the world. It was allowed its innocence, and when he died, I felt that part of me left with him. He was my refuge and sense of wonder.  I kept seeing my cousin in his casket and then us a kids, holding hands as we jumped into the deep end of the pool yelling, “I hate Barney.” I asked God to heal my heart, and as I sat there I felt the presence of other beings.  As I began to call the names of those that I have lost, my body immediately slumped over.  I called to my grandmothers, cousins and friends.  I could hear myself speaking through my tears. I told them that I wanted to live and that I wanted to be healed.  I reached my hand out into the darkness as I called the names of three generations of grandmothers.  In that moment, I sought to break the chains of emotional pain caused by unknown generational curses in my family. I proclaimed that from this day forth, nothing but life will come from my tongue. And I asked them to anchor me as a spoke life into myself and others.

In that moment, I let go.

To all my brothers and sisters, I want you to know that we do not have to bear the sins of others. We have the right to be free.  So please let us find it in this world as well as the next.  Rest well to those that we have lost, and never forget the power of choice and the tongue.

A Native of St. Louis, Erica Wright (Amari Rene), is a true citizen of the world. While she currently resides in Chicago, she has lived in New York, Washington D.C., Mexico and Ghana. Erica considers herself a social artist. She uses her talents and love of writing, poetry and photography to connect with everyday people around her, to tell their stories, through their own unique lens. Having a masters degree in counseling psychology and being a natural humanitarian has given Erica the skills to connect with people on a global level. For more of Erica’s work, visit