I had a serious conversation with my mom today. We lost my father to a degenerative disease in January, and miss him dearly every day. EVERY day. During the past year my aunt, the sister my mom is closest to, has also been battling disease, cancer that has spread through out her body. She lives in Bolivia where the medicine is very limited. It takes 2 bus rides and a 6 hour wait to get pain relief medication that will last for 2 days. We heard today she is no longer eating and medicine that used to mute the pain for 4 hours now only has an effect for 1.
She is in and out of consciousness. We expect she does not have much longer here on this earth. My aunt has 2 young kids, ages 10 and 4. It’s hard to think of that four year old little girl not knowing the wonderful woman my aunt is. I struggle with the idea of my aunt not being there for her son’s mission farewell or wedding. I only remember the little time I had with her when we were in Bolivia when I was 10, but she was a riot! Always joking. Always smiling. So encouraging. I see pictures of her still smiling, a cap covering a head that will never grow hair again, in this life.
These situations aren’t fair. They aren’t. It’s not fair that my mother is losing two of her closest family members this year. It’s not fair that so many people who want to live, can’t. But there is still beauty in these moments of frailty. I imagine my aunt, barely speaking now, still sharing parting wishes. She’s asking her husband to look after her sisters. Reminding him to make sure they are OK. She is in this diminished, pain-filled, weak capacity and yet she is still strong in the soul, thinking of others.
Those of us who get to witness such selflessness are viewing a window into heaven. There is no other word for it, but heavenly. I am honored to call tia Claudia my aunt and I know she will make a beautiful angel. Right now though, she is a beautiful mother, wife, sister and aunt. And even so many miles away from me, I am thinking of her and her example of love fills my heart. I am proud of her. I am praying for her. And I am thankful for the magnificence she is bringing to this world with her simple, beautiful soul.