See not only with your eyes but with your heart and soul.
Over the last few years, I have watched my mother-in-law get sick and die. Violeta was and is a pure and beautiful soul. I have watched my father-in-law get sick and fight with God for keeping him alive thru all this. Angel is a strong and wonderful soul. His strong temperament is also evident in the way that he fights us when all we are doing is helping him. You would think that all he wants is to be left alone. These events have had a major impact on my life, but the saddest moment of all and the one that hurts the most is watching something in my wife, die. Don’t get me wrong, Mercedes is beautiful, young, strong, vibrant and full of life. She is a loving wife. Surprisingly she is still a trusting soul and a caring spirit, but she seems to have lost a piece of herself, a certain – “je ne sais quoi”
Let me explain. Since 1997, my wife has been doing what every child is supposed to do. She has been taking care of her parents in their dying days. She does it with so much love; with so much compassion and with an unwavering dedication – but all at a heavy cost. She was totally devoted to her mother up to the day Violeta past away. And today she is totally devoted to her father – she is by Angel’s side everyday – all day – even when he pushes her away and strikes her and makes a tear fall from her eye. It is beautiful to see how God works through her. Her dedication, vigor and love for humanity is undiminished even thought humanity has failed her on many occasions. See, she assumed certain things from humanity. Things that we all take for granted. She was expecting a soothing hand to wipe her tears the day her mother died. She was hoping for a strong shoulder to cry on, the day her spirit faltered. She was praying for the soft voice of a friend to be there the day she realized that she would never again hear her mother’s soft voice. But humanity was not there. I guess I am spoiled with all my brother and sisters – they were always there for me and my family. But Mercy is an only child. As such life has a way of getting in the way of our humanity.
Our lives are so full and so busy with things like careers, car pooling, children, and the search for better jobs, bigger houses, and nicer vacations. It is the way life just is! I’m sad to admit that I too was wrapped up in that excuse. I was busy with my career, with paying bills, with raising my son and with fighting with God – questioning how can He let this all happen to such a wonderful soul. I was stuck behind excuses and hiding behind my fear of death. We all do that – we all protect ourselves from the unpleasant. We do not want to see the sick at the hospital, nor want to deal with the smells of death. We do not want to hear the howling cries of the suffering nor the banging sounds of their frustrations. We shelter ourselves from these horror, we shelter our Egos from pain. Yes our Egos don’t allow us to deal with soiled diapers, or stool in between Angel’s fingertips. Who wants to see this loss of dignity in his eyes. Who wants to deal with turning him every two hours to prevent bed sores. My ego wonders why Mercy & I should have to put up with Angel’s illness day after day.
But, let me tell you, Mercy was there day after day without questioning why; without faltering. See we have lost sense of what is really important. Have we forgotten summers spent at grandma’s house, holiday meals shared with several generations sitting at the same table. We have forgotten to look up to heaven and realize that we are just small specks in this overwhelming universe. We have forgotten what unconditional love really is. We have forgotten how much of a miracle life really is. Yes we feel the pain of a loved one getting sick & dying. It hurts and we all grieve together with the family, but do we really know what has just happened? Do we really realize that death leaves behind broken hearts and downtrodden spirits. Death not only takes away our loved one, but leaves many wounded in its path of devastation. Do we take the time to see who is left behind and in what condition? I’m sorry to say that life just goes on and tries to deal with tomorrow’s problems. The mortgage is due and the cell phone is ringing – gotta go!
Back then, seeing Violeta in the nursing home, I realized how short and precious life really is. See I would see Mercy go to the nursing home every morning and every night, I would see her wash Violeta’s tired face with the soap of life – hoping to keep death away from her. I would see Angel go to serve Violeta’s breakfast every morning with a plate of love on the side, I would see him serve her lunch with a sprinkle of sunshine and I would see him feed her dinner with an added spice of life – so that she could live another day. To this day Mercy did the same for her dad. At the nursing home, my eyes showed me that this was normal – all families do that – right?? But once my eyes were opened and I took a real look around, this time with my heart and soul, I realized that many residents there are not only love-deprived but are completely forgotten about. I would see old ladies sitting in their chairs all alone and forgotten. Sure daughters & sons would call & ask “how is my mom? Fine? perfect, thank you – gotta go now!” Life has just continued around them. Maybe they made their lives that way, but nobody deserves to die alone and forgotten. Our careers are taking up too much time, the house demand too much attention. Is this excuse really worth it, will your loved ones be there tomorrow when you do find the time?? Or will it, one day, be YOUR children calling the nursing home, in between their busy schedules, to see if you are – fine?
Please make the time now! Take the time now to see around you. See not only with your eyes but with your heart and soul as well. Use your eyes to survey the surface of your existence, but use your heart to really feels the depths of its surroundings. Even better, see the possibility that your soul has the freedom to transcends its boundaries. See your loved ones and feel their day to day struggle, with your soul. Provide a spiritual helping hand to heal the wounded heart. Transcend your boundaries and answer prayers. Even something as simple as showing up at the hospital when you have an hour to spare will help someone who is overwhelmed with the anchor of sorrow and pain. Lifting the load of that anchor, even only for that hour, would do wonders – more than you can ever imagine. Forget your fears and quarks just do it – do it for them. We are all God’s family and as such we need to consider each other as brothers and sisters. Transcend your boundaries and feel the possibility of love for your brothers and sisters.
Thank you Lord for never letting us fall far from your side and Lord help Mercy recover from her loses.