Family is the single most important influence in a person’s life. Research has proved that having a support system has many benefits, such as higher well-being and recovery, better coping skills, and a healthier life. In times of either depression, or loss of a family or close friend, or perhaps a disease, or even going into a surgery, you may have the best support system, yet still feel all alone. With their best of intentions and all of their love, you may STILL feel all alone. But, are you?
It was February of 2008 when I decided to go to see a doctor, regarding an annoying, sharp-shooting pain in my left breast. This had been going on for quite a few months, but I paid no attention to it. The sharp pain started from my left axilla, down to the center of my breast. It was a strange kind of pain that would only make its presence from time to time. My decision to go see the doctor, was only after noticing that my left breast was starting to look alot larger than the right, and was weighing down.
At the visit, the doctor performed an ultrasound that revealed what appeared to be, a large mass. He said that the mass looked like it had been there for quite some time and appeared benign, but he could not be certain of that until he remove it. Now, as important of a situation I knew this was, I was also thinking that I had just given birth to my beautiful daughter, and the hospital bills were still coming. The Doctor recommended that I should not wait any longer than 6 months to do the surgery, as this could make matters worse. So, I went ahead and scheduled my surgery for…6 months later. I know, I know, what was I thinking right? My nerves were eating me alive, and just the thought of the possibility of having breast cancer made me just shut down. I had never felt so alone! Now, my husband is such a huge support system, as are my parents, however, I felt that if I told them right away, they’d be worrying for way too long and in turn, would only make me more nervous.
Fast forward a few days before the surgery, I revealed to my husband and parents what the were really searching for. I had asked the doctor to fully reconstruct and search, both of my breasts, just in case there was something overlooked. Now it’s August 15, 2008, and I’m being prepped for surgery. I say my final goodbyes to my husband and my mother before being taken to the operating room. I remember the fear in the pit of my stomach, because I didn’t feel the sedatives working. I remember everything from entering the O.R., to where the doctors and nurses were standing, to the very end of my surgery. I aslo remember seeing my maternal grandmother, which we called abuela Flora, standing always, at the end of my bed. The surgery lasted about 6 hours.
The next day, I was home in my bed falling into a deep sleep. In dream state, I found myself in my parents house, having dinner with the family around the dining room table. Suddenly, the doorbell rings and my mother got up to answer the door. Upon opening the door, I hear my mother gasp loudly, as if she had seen a ghost. There standing was abuela Flora. Abuela came in quickly and said a general, yet warm, hello. She came directly to me and sat beside me at the table. Her inmense love had entered that room before she did. I miss her so much! Abuela began to say how she didn’t have much time to chat, but that she wanted to see how I was feeling. I started explaining to her how the surgery went, when she interrupted my sentence to say that she knows, because she had been there the whole time. Abuela said, ” I knew how nervous and worried you were and I wanted to comfort you.” I hugged her and thanked her repeatedly! I noticed that there was a priest with her. He waited for abuela at the door. I asked my grandmother whom he was, and she responded with Father Pio. Father Pio would perform miracles of healing, of conversion, of bilocation, and the stigmata. His miracles brought many people to Christ and illuminated God’s goodness and love for us. My grandmother says that he healed me. With that, she said her goodbyes, kissed me on my cheek and ran out the front door.
Feeling sad at such a short visit, I ran after her. When I stepped outside, everything looked totally different. There was no driveway or street, everything was gravel. I saw an old Cadillac Eldorado Coupe, in which abuela had hopped into. Quickly, I rushed towards the car to see inside. In the car was my maternal grandfather and great grandfather, one of my mother’s aunt’s and uncle. I was so incredibly happy to see them! I was so overwhelmed with joy! Everyone in the car had been transformed to a more youthful version of themselves. And with that, they drove away.
I will never forget the level of comfort and love I received from my family throughout that time. It reminded me that even when loved ones have crossed over, they will still continue to love and support you, no matter what. I am blessed beyond belief and am so thankful for my beautiful family, both with me in the physical world as well as those that have departed.