Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One Year Later

     This past October 29, 2011 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of my sister Mary Magdalene Rodriguez.  The weeks prior of this anniversary my home felt eery, it felt like the 29th was creeping up so slowly and yet rapidly.
The phone calls started to come from siblings,
     "What are you guys going to do for Mary's anniversary?"
     "Are you guys going to do anything for Mary?"
     Every time some one would ask what we were going to do for Mary, the more anxiety seemed to fill my heart.  I know the intentions were in good faith but it did not subside that pain still lingers in one's heart.  I would look at my mom, try to smile then ask,
      "Well, what are we going to do for Mary mom?"
      "I don't know," as tears filled her sad eyes.
      "Neither do I," I said as I wrapped my arms around her and just hold her until the tears stopped.
     Death is a void that seems can never really be filled, the numbness is finally gone but the pain still lingers.  I guess it will always linger, even though I know she is not suffering anymore, no more fears for Mary Magdalene because she's in heaven.  No more round the clock morphine, no more feeding tubes, no more infections, changing diapers bed baths,visits from hospice staff, pressure sores and worries of feeling scared and helpless.  I should be happy that my sister is in a better place but my heart still aches, I can't feel her familiar bear hug embrace, her smile are only captured in priceless pictures.
      I get so angry and guilty at the same time, angry because she is gone, guilty because why would I want her here if she was just suffering.  The scar of losing my sister may be healed on the outside of my heart but it's the inside of my heart is were the scar that is so tender is painful.
     On the 29th of October 2011, my dad, mother, brother and I went to the cemetery for a prayer vigil and rosary for the intentions of Mary Magdalene Rodriguez.  We left some whit e roses with little purple flowers, I sang to her the Sleepy Time Song that I used to sing to her when she couldn't sleep.
My mom got off her wheel chair and gently touch her plaque as tears ran down her face with trembling lips she said,
      "I love you Mary, mom loves you very much.   I miss you but I know I will see you one day," as she sat back down on her wheelchair, my dad looked up at Mary's plaque he said,
       "Bye Mary, I'll see you later," as his voice cracked.
On November 2, 2011, is All Souls Day in the Catholic Church. Which happens to be Mary's birthday, she would have been 36 years old. We went to mass to pray for all who have passed away but my heart was only praying for my sister.  After mass my dad, mom and I went to a bakery where Mary loved their birthday cakes.  Later on that day we all sang Happy Birthday to Mary and as a family, we all blew out the candles that were lit on her cake.  The cake just didn't taste the same with out having Mary there with us.  I know she was with us in spirit and her memories in our hearts.   However, we are still trying to come to grips with the reality of her being gone, I guess we will never get use to missing the one we love.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Father's Day 2011 for my dad was bitter sweet, bitter because his daughter Mary Magdalene was not here to share it with him along with my other brothers and sisters.  Sweet, because my parent's home was filled with love from all their children and grandchildren who came or called to wish my dad a Happy Father's Day.  He got cards, electronic picture frame and gift certificates as gifts to celebrate the occasion.
 My dad rarely talks about his feeling about Mary Magdalene's passing and if anyone would ask how he fells about Mary Magdalene not being here,
"Mary is gone, she is with Our Father in heaven," is the usual answer he would reply .  However, I know it's much more than a one liner that shields him from actually feeling pain and loss.  All of Mary Magdalene's clothes have been given to charities along with most of her medical equipment. Two plastic containers in the garage are filled with Mary Magdalene's keep sakes.   We have one Eeyore coffee cup and glass that we keep in the kitchen  cabinet belonged to Mary Magdalene.  One morning I made coffee and served my dad his traditional cup of coffee using one of  the cups that belonged to my sister.  At first my dad didn't  notice what cup he was using until he finished his coffee.  Once he realized it then came an explosion of emotions,
"What the hell is wrong with you!  This was Mary's cup, Mary's!  I could have dropped it and it could have broken!  Don't you ever give me this cup again because I don't want to be the one that might break it!"
"But you didn't Dad, it's still in one piece. I knew it was Mary's cup and that is why I gave it to you, to keep Mary alive in our memories of her and to not keep her things just locked away," I replied.
"No!  It's Mary's cup! I lost my Mary!   I never ever want to use this cup again, do you understand me?!" as he walked into the kitchen held Mary's cup  with such care and  proceeded to wash Mary's cup, dried it  with a dish towel and  slowly placed it back into the cabinet.
"Okay Dad, but I know Mary wouldn't want us to keep her memory in a cabinet," I said as I watched my dad closing the door of the kitchen cabinet.
He turn to me and said,'Every day I think of my Mary, every day my heart aches so much!  I thought when I lost my mom I experienced grief and sadness  but that was nothing compared to losing my Mary.  I hope none of my children who have kids never feel the pain of losing their child, it doesn't matter if they a small or adults, the pain is just too much,"
I walked up to my dad and gave him a gentle hug and kissed his cheek then said, "I'm sorry  Dad, I didn't mean to get you upset, maybe with time the pain will lessen but we both know it will never completely go away,"
He looked at me and with tears ready to fall he said, "No, the pain will never be gone, it will never go away but I know one day I will see my Mary again and I am looking forward to that day,"
So remembering this year's Father's Day holiday I think of an old cliche to be true,  "Every day is Father's Day".  It is all year round ,rain or shine, in good time and in bad and even in death.   Just because my sister has gone to heaven, her memory will always be in my dad's heart.
I love you Dad and I know Mary Magdalene is with us every single day, regardless if it is a holiday or not.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Does anyone remember jigsaw puzzles?  I remember my parents bought  many boxes of them through out my childhood.  Some jigsaw puzzles came in very small pieces and some have large ones. I remember the vibrant pictures of  landscaping mountains or the crashing of the seashore against the rocks,  the forest always had the colors of the Autumn season as my family would work together in completing the puzzle on the dining room table of our home.  Sometimes the worst thing about completing a jigsaw puzzles can be when it come to the end of it and the last piece of the puzzle would be missing.  We would look all around the dining room for the missing jigsaw piece and sometimes we would find it and sometimes we wouldn't. While we would be working on the puzzle, my mom would give us our own section to work on and when we finished our section and placed them all together, we would get such a great sense of accomplishment as we all gazed at the finished puzzle. Sometimes  a jigsaw piece from the box would already be bent or broken apart in two so  my mom would always find a way to mend it with some clear sticky tape.  After my mom would fix the broken jigsaw piece she would say, "Look, it's good as new," and place the puzzle piece in it's proper place to complete the jigsaw puzzle.   
Reflecting on these memories reminds me of how Mother's Day 2011 may have felt like to my mom.  Most of my brothers and sisters who lived local came to visit my mom, we are all the different pieces of my mom's heart.  All of us sat together and talked and laughed with stories from the past, just like placing different parts of a jigsaw puzzle that comes together as one.  My mom received beautiful flower arrangements, colorful Mother's Day cards in the mail and in some cards where given person by her children, the array of  the different colors of the cards and flowers reminds me of the many different colors of a jigsaw puzzle. My mom received phone calls for her sons and daughters and that would make her happy because she always loved to hear from her children.  However, this was the first Mother's Day without my sister Mary Magdalene and I knew my mom's heart was sadden.  Even though my mom  darn well knew that her daughter Mary Magdalene is in heaven, I know that my mom longed to see her and wished things may have turn out differently.   Mary Magdalene is my mom's missing piece of her heart's jigsaw puzzle and it has been a painful one.  My mom knew that her daughter is no longer suffering or in pain but the pain in my mom's heart will always remain and as time goes on it may lessen but will never be completely gone.   At the end of the day, I asked my mom about how she was feeling about Mother's Day without Mary and she said,  "I miss her very much but I know one day I will be with her again," and smiled.  I hugged my mom and said,"Your right Mom, you will,"   One day my  mom will finally find the missing jigsaw piece of her heart that is waiting for her up in heaven.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Six Months Later...

On April 29th it has been six months since our sister Mary Magdalene went back to heaven to live with God our Father, Jesus Christ his son, the Holy Spirit and all  the angels and saints;  I know she is in very good company in heaven.  Yet my heart is still healing for the pain of loosing my sister even though I know she is in a much better place.  Here is a picture of the Mary, our sister Irene and myself at the last family gathering celebrating a birthday of one of our brothers and meeting our newest nephew for the first time.  I remember posing for this picture as all three of us just looked into the camera and smiled. Now when I look at this picture,  it strikes me with the most remarkable feelings of love.  Mary's warm smile and her familiar streak of the natural silver highlight on her dark black hair that God placed  especially on her head,  just reflects the love she has for her family.    When my sister Irene would come and visit us at home, Mary would always gleam with excitement and say, "Renie's coming," and just be so happy to see her come over for a visit and would be looking forward to spend time with Irene.  My sister Irene has been living on her own for years and Mary loved every-time she'd come over for a visit.
 Today is the sixth month anniversary of Mary's passing; this morning I was on our computer when I read on a social network that my sister Irene had dreamt of Mary the previous night.  In this dream she told Mary how much she loved her and Mary's replied "I love you more,".  As I sat at the computer after reading my sister's comment and I was just in awe as it brought me to tears because I too had a dreamt of Mary yesternight.  In my dream I was calling for Mary though out our home and did not get any reply from her,  "Mary where are you?  Where are you ?" I said in the middle of my sobs, I couldn't find Mary anywhere.  As I started to feel myself coming out of my dream when I suddenly felt someone hugging me just the way my sister Mary used to give a hug.  Then I heard Mary softly say, "It's okay Emils, it's okay".  I woke up so startled and yet  had such a sense of peace, as I swiped the tears from my eyes. In reflection on what my sister Irene and I dreamt the previous night, I just want to say, 
"Thank you God for allowing our sister Mary Magdalene to comfort us."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mary's Traditional Easter Dish

Every Easter my sister Mary Magdalene would make a Easter tray of  goodies and every year we would eat the candy she placed on her tray.  It had all kinds of Easter theme candy but Mary's favorite were the marshmallow Peeps.  She loved Peeps and every year she looked forward in making her tray and sharing it with her family.
She would place plastic green grass has her base on a tray and lay the chocolate foil eggs and pastel color jelly beans and Peeps all around the grass filling the tray.  She would have my dad or I drive her to a Target so she could get all her supplies of candy and Peeps in order to make her Easter Tray.
On Palm Sunday we would come back from church and my sister would ask,
     "Can someone take me to Target so I can get my tray ready for next Sunday?"
     "Sure Mija, I'll take you," said dad
     "Thanks Pops, I need to buy my stuff for Easter," said Mary
 So my dad and Mary would head to Target and come back home with bags full of Easter candy.  As they walked into the house my mom said,
     "Oh! I see somebody is ready for Easter,"
     "Yep!" Mary replied wearing a smile from ear to ear as she headed to her bedroom for a nap.  Shopping was always fun for Mary but after shopping she would always need a nap to regain her strength.
On Easter morning, after we came back from church and my mom and I were busy in the kitchen working on our Easter ham, Mary would go into her bedroom and come out with Easter candy  and grass ready to make her Easter tray.
     "Mary, you gonna make your Easter tray?" I asked
     "Yep," said Mary
     "Do you need any help with it?" asked my mom
     "Nope" answered Mary
I think my mom was trying to help my sister so she could try to sneak a candy or two from Mary.
      "Okay Mamas, but if you need any help, just let us know and we will help you," I said
      "That's okay, I don't need any help; I like to make this by myself," said Mary
You can hear all the candy being spilled over the dining room table and the crumbling of the green plastic grass coming out of the bag.  We would already have the tray out for Mary so she could start making her Easter master piece.
So in a few minutes, my mom and I would hear,
      "I'm finished!  Do you guys want to see it?" ask Mary
     "Of course we do Mary, bring it over," said Mom
Mary would carefully stand up and place the Easter tray in her walker and roll it towards us so we could see what she had done,
      "It's beautiful Mija!" exclaimed mom
      "Yeah Kiddo, it look good enough to eat," I said
Mary would gleam with pride and placed the tray in the middle of the dinning room table, and that would be our center piece for our Easter feast.
    This year will be the first year that Mary will be celebrating Easter with us from heaven.  This year I will be making the Easter tray in her memory and my heart at time feels so heavy with grief because I miss her so much.  My parents and I are going to give Mary flowers and will add some different color Peeps on wood skewers and add them in the flower bouquet because we all know how much Mary loved her Peeps.
Note to Mary: I know Mamas you are in heaven and I will make your Easter tray because I know that is what you would want us to do.  I love you, I miss you but because Christ rose on the third day and destroyed death forever, I will see you again.  Happy Easter Mamas love Emils!



Monday, April 11, 2011

Beautiful Surprise

     On March 22, 2011 we received a letter in the mail from the Arcadia Mental Health Center.  My sister Mary Magdalene went there on a monthly bases after her nervous break down when she was diagnosed with MS, she went for monthly counseling and medication.   However, it was odd for us to receive a letter from the center since Mary passes away on October 29, 2010.    The letter was from the Clinical Program Head and it notified us that an employee who worked with Mary Magdalene in the Creative Minds group was changing positions and as she was getting ready to transfer, she found some painting that were done by my sister Mary Magdalene.  The Creative Minds group was a support group for women with mental illnesses and would make all kinds of art and craft items.  This is the group that got Mary to make her priceless bracelets and go on an occasional field trip.
     Part of the letter read, "These paintings are a beautiful creations that reflect Mary's artistry and wonderful spirit."  the paintings were going to be kept in Mary's councilor's office and invited us to pick them up.
Needless to say that when we read this letter, I shot out of our home and speeded right down to the center to retrieve the paintings in my parent's car.  As I drove to Arcadia, I felt the the car couldn't go fast enough and if I was able to fly, I know I would have flew.
     When I got to the center, I parked the car, walked in through the metal detector and went directly to the front desk.
     "May I help you?" asked the receptionist,
     "Yes, I am the sister of Mary Magdalene Rodriguez who was a patient here, we received a letter
       today informing us that two paintings that were done by my sister  and they are here, may I have them?"
I then proceeded to show her the letter we received in  the mail,  the young woman
read it and said,
       "I will go and check to see where I can find her paintings, if I find them I will give them to you,"
       "Thank you very much," I said
A few minutes later, the woman came with to painting and handed them over to me,  I looked at them in awe and started to cry.
       "They are pretty, very colorful," said the receptionist.  
       "Yes, they are; I can't wait to show them to my parents; thank you for your time," I said.
       "Your welcome, have a nice day," smiled the receptionist.
I walked out with the painting and speeded back home; as I drove up the drive way of our home, I looked down at the painting and said,
        "Welcome home Mamas!"
I walked into the house and my mom and dad were waiting patiently,
         "Let's see them, how do they look?" asked dad
As I displayed them to my parents, I could see the joy in their eyes,
         "Their beautiful!  What a beautiful surprise!" said my mom
The paintings are now framed and are ready to be display at home, it's nice to know that Mary had so many talents that we are able to cherish them forever; we are also thankful to the Arcadia Mental Health Center for notifying us about these painting.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Starting On The Road to Hospice

My migraines had started to come back and I knew it was because of stress so I made an appointment with my doctor.
The next morning I had appointment at eight with my doctor and was able to leave Mary for two hours knowing that my parents would be home to care of Mary. 
         As I sat in his examination room I was on edge because I didn’t want to be gone from home for too long.  It was just a couple minutes that felts like hours when my doctor came in and said,
         “Emilia, what’s going on?”
I looked at him and just broke into tears and just started crying.
         “Emilia, what’s wrong?” asked the doctor
         “I’m getting migraines and they don’t go away,” I cried.
         “Again I ask, what is going on Emilia?  What do you think
         are causing these migraines?” questioned my doctor.
         I don’t know,” I answered.
         “What is going on at home?  How is your family?”   
        “Mary’s MS is getting worse, she had a G-Tube placed
         because she kept vomiting but the problem is she is still      
vomiting  and no one can give us an answer on why it’s happening. My mom and I have been talking about hospice but we don’t know if we should,” I answered.
“If your family is thinking about hospice, maybe it’s time your family should consider it since your sister doesn’t seem to be improving over all in her health,” said my doctor.
I just started to cry even harder, the thought of my sister passing away was unconceivable to my parents and I.  We kept hoping that Mary would get better or get to a point to where Mary’s downward spiral of her health would just stop.
         My doctor then gave me a business card and pamphlet to a hospice company that he referred to his patience's.  Hospice, the word didn’t seem real to me, I always heard other families dealing with a family member being in hospice but never imaged it happening to us.  I took them information home along with a prescription for my migraines.  Driving back home all I could think about was how am I going to bring the subject of Mary being in hospice to my parents and even more so how to talk to about with Mary.  
         When I got home and parked the car in the garage, took a deep breath and walked into the house to find my parents in the living room, sitting on the lift chairs, drinking their morning coffee and watching television.
         “How’d it go Mija,” ask my dad
         “Okay,” as I walked into Mary’s bedroom.
         “Hi Mamas, I back from the doctor, are you okay?”
 I walked up to her bed and gently took her hand, Mary
 just looked at me and smiled and looked at my with her huge brown eyes,
“Oh Mamas, I love you so much.  You know that right? You know how much I love" I said
Mary smiled as tears ran down her cheeks and she tired to blow me a kiss.
         “I just wanted to let you know that we love you very much and mom, dad and I will always be here for you know matter what,” and I laid tenderly my head on Mary’s chest and softly cried.  I could her her heart beat so slowly, her chest rose gently up and down to the rhythm of her breathing.  I wanted things to go back to where Mary would have her independent back to the point were she would be, talking, walking, just being her old self.  I wanted to hear her laughter and see her living life the way she used to be but I knew she couldn't and it killed me inside, this pain of helplessness was truly unbearable  that it pierced right through my very soul. I lifted my head off Mary's chest, kissed her cheek and then wiped the tears from my eyes and Mary's too.  
Before I left Mary’s bedroom I make sure I Love Lucy was on television and told Mary that I would be back in a little while,
Mary just smiled at me and  then turned to look at television.
         I walked into the living room determined to show my parents the business card and pamphlet my doctor has given me.  I think this was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.
         “What are you guys watching on T.V.?”
         “The news,” answered my mom.
         “How’d it go with the doctor, did he give you anything for 
         your headaches?”
         “Yeah but he also gave me something else,”
         “What did he give you?” asked my dad
         “A pamphlet,” I said
         “Is it a pamphlet on migraines?”
         “No dad, it’s about a hospice service, it’s for Mary.”
A dead silence filled the living and all you could here was the sounds coming from the television when    my mom said,
“What the hell do we need a hospice for Mary? She’s going to get better,” insisted my mom,
“Is she mom? Really, is she?  How much more are we going to put Mary through?  She doesn’t want to go back to the hospital and our options to fight MS are running out; what choices do we have?”
“ No!  I’m not ready for hospice, Mary is not ready for hospice!” said my mom.
My dad just was silent as his eyes started to fill with tears.
“I’m not ready either but if we truly love Mary, we need to do what is best for her, no?  We tried plasmapheresis treatments, the only two other options are too high of a risk of side effects because Mary’s stage of MS is so advance.”
My dad final spoke and said,
“What does the Catholic Church say about hospices?  We need to call Father Larry or Sister Susan and talk to them about it then we can have a family meeting about  this hospice.”
“Your right Tony, first we talk with either Father Larry or Sister Susan,” answered my mom
“That’s fine, I just think that it’s time for us to think about quality of life for Mary because I have no idea what to do next,” I said and broke down crying,
“I love Mary but what I hate  to see her suffer, if hospice can ease her suffering then I am for it,”
“You don't think it's hard on me?  It’s hard for a mom to see my child suffer and not be able to do anything to help her, to ease her pain!” cried my mom.
“Then, Emilia you call the church and make an appointment then we will have a family meeting on where we go from here.”
I walked into our kitchen to get the phone and spoke to Fr Larry, he told me that he was willing to come to our home and talk to us about placing Mary in a hospice program.
The following day, Father Larry came to our home and talked to us about the Catholic Church’s view on hospice.  As we all seated at the dinning room table, you could feel the tension in the air.  Father Larry told us he knew all what we have done for Mary and he understood that medically we had done all we can for her.  However the Catholic Church will support our decision in placing Mary in a hospice program.  We all started crying, Father Larry had known my family for over 20 years and he knew what a hard decision it was for us to come to this conclusion. 
“We just don’t want to do anything against the Catholic Church teachings,” said my dad
“Your not Antonio, this decision is being made from love, the love you all feel for Mary.  I understand that and so does God,” said Father Larry,
Father Larry got off from the table, as did we and walked into Mary’s bedroom.
         “Hi Mary, do you know who I am?” smile Father Larry
         Mary’s lips mouthed, “No,” and started to cry,
         “Mary, my name is Father Larry and your family invited me
         to come and pray with you, is that okay?”
         Mary’s lips read, “O.K.”
 We all gathered around Mary for the Anointing of the Sick Sacrament.   As he prayed, it was so hard for any of us to respond, our voices cracked with emotions but half way through we focused on Mary and kept praying with Father Larry.
After the sacrament was given Father Larry was ready to go back to the parish; he said good-bye to Mary and my parents; as I walked him to his car he said,
         “Emilia, do you believe Mary is going to heaven?”
I looked at him as tears ran down my face, I answered,
         “Yes. Yes, I believe Mary is going to heaven,”
         “I believe that God has a special place for Mary and her 
name is written on it.  Please don’t delay it from happening, don’t deny Mary from her rightful place in heaven,” said Father Larry,
He said this with such conviction and I knew he was right.
“No Larry, we won’t delay in any way from keeping Mary from going to her rightful place in heaven.  We just wanted to know what the Catholic Church’s teaching were on hospice,” I said,
“Good,” he said and
He gave me a hug of support, smiled at me then got into his car and drove off.
It wasn’t easy going back into the house; I didn’t think I had the courage.
As I walked in I heard my mom ask,
         “Did Father Larry leave?”
         “Yes mom, he’s gone,”
         “Well then we need to have a talk with Mary about this
         hospice and if it’s okay with Mary, we will call her
         doctor about placing Mary in hospice,” said mom.
So my dad, mom and I walked into Mary’s bedroom and we found Mary just looking at a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that hung in her room.
         “What’s cha doing Mamas, looking at the big JC?” I asked
         “Yes,” mouthed Mary
         “Mary, dad, Emilia and I want to talk to you about
         something important, okay?” ask my mom
Mary’s bedroom was silent for a second as my mom started the conversation the about hospice program.
         “Mary, you have been through a lot in the past couple years and the MS, no?”
         “Yes,” mouthed Mary
         “We were wondering if you wanted to try a new drug that
         might help you but you will need to go to the hospital.  We
         would need you to have an MRI done because the side
         effect is you might get a brain infection.  If you got a brain    
         infection, there could be a possibility of you passing
         away or get worse than you are right know.  We all love
         you very much Mary and whatever ever you want to do, we
         will support your because we love  you so much. Do you want to try this medicine?”
My mom just started to break down and cry as Mary did too.
“Mary, did you understand what mom was asking?” asked dad.
         “Yes, “
         “Do you want to try it?”
         “Are you sure?”
         “You do not want to try a new medication?”
         “Is it okay for you went to the hospital just for a little
         while just so you can  try the new medicine or get an
         MRI done?”
Then Mary mustard all her strength and softly whispered,
         “I don’t want it any more, I’m tired dad,”
My dad just broke down and started to cry, and then it was my turn,
“Mamas, if there was a way for you to be home all the time and not go to the hospital or take anymore new medicines, would that make you happy?” I asked
“There is a program named hospice, hospice will make sure you are okay because a nurse will come and check you every week.  The hospice program will also get all your medicines liquid so we can put them in your G-tub and another nurse will come and help me give you a bath, it that okay?”
“Yes,” mouthed Mary.
“Okay, Mamas.  You don’t want to go to the hospital anymore and you don’t want to take anymore new medicines, right?” I said,
“Right,” answered Mary as tear started again to run down her cheeks and land on her pajama top.
"Aye Mamas, why are you crying?  You won't be going anywhere, you'll just be home with us and we can get someone to help take care for you.  We just want to make sure you don't want to try any new medicines because if you do we will call the neurologist but if you don't want to that's okay. Can we call hospice to help you. It's okay if we call hospice for you to help us?"
“Yes,” answered Mary.
“You’re tired Mamas and you just want to be home, right?”
“No more hospitals, no more poking with a needle, no more being away from home, right?”
“Right,” answered Mary
Then I started crying because I knew Mary was saying the truth, she was tired and just want to be home.  Home in her own bedroom with her purple stars shining,  holding her Eeyore pillows and surround by the people she loved so dearly.
“Well Mija,  thank you for helping make the right decision for you. We are going to take care of you the best way we can, okay?” asked my mom
“Okay,” smiled Mary.
“Well, I’m sure your tired from all this talk and Father Larry’s visit so we’ll leave you so you can take a nap, okay”
“Okay dad,” answered Mary.
We all kissed Mary and each of us told her how much we loved her.  Mary just smiled and closed her eyes, as she was so ready for her afternoon nap.
As my mom, dad and I walked back to the dining room table and sat back down, we all had such solemn faces and just stared at the family pictures that hung on the wall in the dinning room. Remember better days when Mary was a baby, when she was in elementary school and pictures of her when she was an adult, family pictures that reflect better and happier days.
         “Well, where is that hospice pamphlet?” asked my mom
I walked to the computer desk and took the pamphlet from a stack of papers and handed it to my mom.
“How do we do this? How do we start this? How do we know we are making the right decision!?” cried my mom,
“We are making the right decision, Mary wouldn’t have it any other way, you heard her answers Mom,” I said
“I know, we all heard them Emilia but it’s still not an easy decision to make.  We never thought in our furthest dreams that we would have to be in this situation,” said my dad.
“I know dad, I’m sorry mom; it’s not easy for me either.  Mary is my younger sister and I thought even though she has MS, I always thought Mary would always be around,” I said,
“Emilia, can you please call Mary’s primary doctor and talk to him about our family decision. I just can’t bring myself to do it even though I know it’s the right decision to make; how about you Tony, do you want to call the doctor?”
“No,” answered my dad.
"I'll I call him and we will see what we need to do to get the process started for Mary,” I said.
I got the phone and spoke to Mary’s doctor about a hospice program for Mary.  At first he wanted to talk with my mom or dad and after a few minutes the phone got handed back to me.
I put the phone to my ear as I heard the doctor say,
         “Yes doctor, it’s me.”
         “I just want you to know that I admire your family’s love and
         courage it must have took to come to this decision about
         Mary.  Your parents told me that Mary is fully aware if this
         decision.  In my experience, most patient’s family keep
         putting their family member through so much pain and
         agony just so the patient can live a little longer.  They
         just think of themselves and how they would not be
         able to live without their family member. I know it was
         not  an easy decision to make but I feel it is the right one.  
         Give me theinformation on the hospice company of your family’s
         choice and I will get the process going for you. However, I want you to know
         that I will no longer be Mary’s doctor once she enters
         hospice because they have their own doctors.  However,
         my thoughts and prayers are with Mary, your parents and  
         you.  Please keep me updated if you don’t mind, okay?”
         “Yes doctor, I will keep updated and thank you so much for   
         your understanding,” I said
         “Your welcome and God bless you all.”