Embracing the Circle of Life
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Just the other day my children celebrated National Grandparent's Day at school and it was so sweet to see the children honor their grandparents on this special day. Some crafted and others sat around and shared stories all the while making beautiful memories together. As I ran around from classroom to classroom, (I have three children), taking pictures of these memorable moments, I realized how extremely grateful I was to have my mom there to share these precious moments with my children.
My mom is 88 years young so everyday is a blessing! My mom had me later in life and it wasn't until I was in kindergarten that I realized that my mom looked, "different", than my classmates moms. When I asked my mom why she looked, "different", she very bluntly responded, "I look different because I'm old mija." I can't tell you how much her response scarred me. After all, I was only 5 years old and the word old meant...death. And just like that I spent almost my entire life in constant fear of losing my parents. I know this sounds a bit dramatic but believe me when I tell you that I was absolutely terrified of the thought of my parents dying! As a child I was haunted by terrible nightmares of losing my parents and my mom's response to my failed attempts to speak to her about this sore subject only reinforced my fear. For some odd reason, my mom thought that I would feel comforted if she reminded me that we would all die some day but far from feeling comforted my fear only grew stronger.
As an adult I spent my life living as close to my parents as possible. This meant choosing to study locally and not moving out until I married. Which by the way, I never moved out even after getting married because I inherited the house I grew up in and continue to live in it with my family. But let's get back to the married part. I recently discovered that avoiding getting married was also part of my plan to halt time and keep my parents around longer. Sounds crazy huh? Truth is, it WAS crazy but it worked for me at the time. Well, many years have since passed and I have finally come to the realization that I carried this fear with me for almost half of my life! It wasn't until 8 years ago with the my father's passing, (he lived 89 years), that I was able to face this haunting fear that I had so much embraced as a part of me.
I was pregnant with my son Diego and feeling emotionally vulnerable however; I was able to find the courage that up until then had not been able to find. I remember looking around the hospital waiting room filled with family members and wondering why I wasn't able to feel what they were feeling? They all looked so much at peace with the situation and despite the fact that they were sad about my father dying they weren't devastated or upset like I was. I wanted to feel that peace but I didn't know how. My mind accepted that my dad had lived a beautiful long and productive life but my heart rejected the fact that his time had come to an end. My dad had been very healthy and full of life but after several back surgeries his health began to deteriorate and the last 5 years had been filled with challenges. We all knew that my dad's time was coming to an end. I had replayed this moment in my head repeatedly thousands of times before and had made it very clear to God that although I had to accept that my dad would soon die, I would Not be there to see him breathe his final breath because that was my way of rebelling against death. So, there I was sitting in the hospital waiting room trying to take it all in as I watched my family go through the motions. I don't think I handled the situation very well because it was then when my sister Becky asked me to take a walk with her and we ended up taking a walk down the hospital hallway. She prayed for me and told that everything was going to be ok and that I should be grateful for my dad's life. She continued to pray for me and told me that God wanted me to be present when my dad gave his last breath and that he
would honor my obedience with blessings. "Really God? You're gonna make me go there even after our conversation? I thought I told you that I was ok with this death thing as long as I didn't have to witness it because I wanted to remember my father alive!" My sister wasn't aware of my previous conversation with God so I was certain that he was speaking to me through her. I had perfectly planned out my reaction to my dad's final moments on earth, at least that's what I thought, but God had other plans. I broke down and cried as my sister continued to pray over me. My heart shifted completely and moments later I experienced my breakthrough and was able to face my fear of death and bear witness to my dad's final breath. It was a glorious moment that I remember vividly just as if it had been yesterday. My dad lay there with a peaceful expression on his face as his wife, children and grandchildren gathered around the hospital bed to wish him off to a better life. We cried, sang and let him know how loved he was and how proud we were of him and told him not to worry about us because we were going to be fine.
My blessing came a few months later with the birth of our son Diego and have continued to pour over my life since. I am no longer subjected to the constant terrorizing thoughts of losing my parents nor am I a prisoner of the fear of death. I honestly never thought that I would ever get past my fear but....God had other plans. Today I am able to face life full circle and enjoy and appreciate my mom every day without the fear of losing her. For this, I am beyond grateful.