MILEON, Marie-Michelle: Enduring Hard Work

Marie-Michelle’s Enduring Hard Work

The Story of Marie-Michelle

When it comes to pioneers, I cannot think of a better example than my mother-in-law, Marie-Michelle Pierre-Louis Mileon. She came from a small town in Haiti and made it all the way to owning a business in the United States. All the time that she was doing her traveling, the first thing on her mind was always her family; she was crucial in bringing them to the United States. It is because of this exemplary woman that her family has the privileged life in which they currently live. It is also because of her that her two daughters were able to become baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Marie-Michelle Pierre-Louis Mileon (Michelle) was born in Jeremie, Haiti in 1964. Jeremie is a relatively small town in the southern parts of Haiti. In fact, it is so remote that all of the food eaten by its residents is grown right in Jeremie. They are so far away from most of the bigger cities that there is not much trade. Because school is so expensive, and because Michelle’s mother needed the help, Michelle never learned to read or write. Michelle had 11 brothers and sisters who were raised solely by their mother. When Michelle was a baby her father left the family and was never heard from again. This made a very difficult task for a mother to raise 11 children while working to help grow food and raise animals. It was this hard work that their mother underwent that set the tone for the rest of Michelle’s life.

Michelle was fortunate to fall in love with Oscelin Beralus and have two beautiful daughters while in Jeremie. She worked hard to support her other siblings and two daughters. However, the time came when Oscelin decided to leave the family behind to go and work in the big city, Port-au-Prince. Since she was never married to Oscelin, he unfortunately did not feel the need to continue supporting her. After two years, Oscelin asked for her to send out their two daughters to be raised by him. She consented and decided to move to the big city herself where she could be near to her two precious daughters. While in Port-au-Prince she became interested in another man and had a son. Unfortunately the son died just a few months later and the father disappeared. Michelle then devoted her time to work and support her family back in Jeremie. At this point her mother was unable to work, and she still had many young children. It fell upon Michelle’s shoulders to support the family. For work, Michelle made tiny bags made out of newspaper to use in the local outdoor market. Oscelin looked down on this type of work, especially since he had received a great job with the U.S. Embassy. No matter the embarrassment she took, she was determined to be near her daughters and help raise them. She would even come to Oscelin’s house at 4 in the morning to help her two little girls get ready for school. Every Sunday she would prepare an elaborate dinner and bring it to Oscelin’s house so they could enjoy an early meal. She loved her daughters very much and was determined to be with them.

Eventually the opportunity came for Michelle to come to the United States. Although uninterested in developing a relationship with Michelle, Oscelin helped get her a Visa to come and work in the United States. He had friends in Maryland, the Lamisere family, who were willing to hire Michelle as a nanny. The cold weather was quite a shock to Michelle (in fact, to this day she thinks 65 degrees is cold), but fortunately the family relocated to Miami, Florida a few years later. At this time, her temporary Visa had run out and she needed to establish residency. This is a very difficult task for many Haitians who come to the United States, and there is some shady business involved in getting residency. For Michelle, she was able to pay a man to marry her. He was a disgusting lowlife, but she did what she needed to do. Fortunately, it was strictly business and they never had a relationship. Michelle was disgusted when she had to kiss the man during the marriage ceremony. Yet, in the end, she was able to easily receive her residency.

Through this residency she was able to get her two daughters green cards so that they could come to a United States university. This is where her life truly started to become happy. She got a great job at a restaurant with a woman named Gladys who was very supportive of Michelle. Eventually she became partner of a different restaurant, and now she owns her very own restaurant. She still cannot read or write, but still manages to run her restaurant in Miami. She has the love of her two daughters all to herself. They lived with her while going to college, and her two daughters ended up being taught by the missionaries. Although Michelle never joined the Church, she was supportive of her daughters joining the church. According to Michelle, “Nothing bad can come from going to church.” I met one of Michelle’s daughters, Suze, while serving as a missionary in Miami. The rest is history! We were married in the temple and have given Michelle a beautiful grandson. She calls every single day to check on us and listen to our son, Alex, babble in the mouthpiece of the phone. We love her more than anyone else and are grateful for the sacrifice she made to give us all that we have today.

 

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