I have never been with anyone at their final hour...I wonder what it's like?

By Maria Reyna
Published on LatinoLA: April 7, 2006


It?s been raining all day

Got back from a trip to Arizona

Feeling raw today

Spent some time with family-that usually does it

Friday morning I received a call from my sister-she informed me that my eldest sister Lupe was in the hospital-very sick-could die.

My daughter was going to Arizona. For a baptism-where my sister Lupe lives.

I had the weekend planned out-Marsi was going to take the boys for the weekend and I was going to go to Tia Chucha's to meet Sandra Cisneros and to check on my Art exhibit.

Was also planning on spending some time with my Man. Some much-needed time!

But even the best plans can go astray.

Change of plans-sometimes for the best?or for a Reason!

I went to AZ with my daughter, my two boys and Dan?my daughters boyfriend of almost eleven years.

It seems just like yesterday: We were living in San Pedro on Thirteenth Street, my Angelo was four months old and it was Christmas 1995. We had the most amazing Christmas Tree that year-all white lights and decorated with little angels of all types and colors-and a new child in our home that warmed up our lives-hmm time fly?s) Marsi and Dan had their first date that New Years Eve 1996.

On the way to Arizona we were listening to music, chatting, singing, taking pictures-even stopped at one of those disgusting Porto-potty pit stops and even that didn't seem so bad.

On this particular day the guy that has the wonderful job of cleaning the stalls was doing his job.

I made a remark ?What a job.? He replied? I've had worst.? What a great attitude, I thought. Here is this guy with one of the crappiest jobs and can see a bright side to it.
He was wearing a T-shirt with the Superman logo! I had to take this guy's picture.

We got to the border where California and Arizona meet at 11:00 A.M. Saturday.

Stopped at the store to get some flowers and a card for my sister. Then went straight to the hospital Yuma Regional Medical Center-where my mother worked as a housekeeper and my daughter was born! Immediately feelings, memories, emotions rush through me!

So many memories-some good-most bad.

Everybody was there: my sisters, nieces, nurses, and doctors-with bad news. The prognosis: A tumor in her spine and Cancer in her bones. Making it worst, pneumonia, and a bladder infection, blood poisoning and out of control diabetes.

Good Lord!

I noticed she didn't look so good when she came down for my Art exhibit in March. But she made it to my art show and I was honored and was so happy to see my sister Lupe that day.

I live on the second floor?she could not even walk up the stairs and I had ask a neighbor that lives at floor level if she could use their bathroom.

My Sister Guadalupe-is so unusual: I think of her every time I sweep the carpet-She is the only person I know that sweeps and mops her carpet. She doesn't own a vacuum cleaner, an answering machine or a hair blow dryer.

It?s fascinating to visit with her! Now in her sixties and lives alone-She knows the scoop on everyone in town and will whip you up something good to eat. And always has a grand child to keep her company.

She has smoked cigarettes most of her life, wears glasses, overweight and gets these perms across the border-that fry her hair. She has almost no education, speaks English with an accent, has children from three different men. Is a diabetic and eats what ever she wants. Did I mention a rat pack..

My sister Lupe has high blood pressure, Diabetes, has had breast cancer and both breast mastectomies and now a tumor in her spine and the Cancer is now in her bones. And can't walk from the pressure of the tumor.

?Dios mio!

I really though she was going to die! And I wanted to see, talk to her and spend some time with her before she passes away from this life.

She might have something to say to me, some words of wisdom, some family secrets? Memories, Who knows?

The resident Chaplin came by to see my sister when we were there.
Lupe said something that touched me profoundly!

She said ?God gave me four children and took away one..because I was not able to take care of him- I was not able to care for four children?. Wow! When she said those words?I began to cry! I had never heard the loss of a child put that way.

I can't even begin to imagine what it feels like for a Mother to lose a child or losing one of my little angels.

Her son Gaby died at the age of sixteen in a motorcycle accident. Gaby and his best friend Tony ran a red light and hit the back of a semi-truck-both of them died instantly.

My mother gave birth to eleven children-six of them died-five lived
I was the youngest of eleven children. Perhaps she could not take care of eleven children ?only five.

I have never been with anyone at their final hour...I wonder what it's like?

Only then will we know it all.

If there is life after death?

The Woman is tough and pulled through this one.

Her doctor-A man with his Hope..Dedication..Enthusiasm and a Light that radiates through him-illuminates a room with his presence!

Dr. Greco: has her now on a new medication-that is like Chemotherapy without the side effects. Dr. Greco says that he can slow or reverse the cancer-reduce the size or remove the tumor, rehabilitate for her to walk and give her more time to spend with us.
Lupe has to do her part!

My sister looked much better when we left.

The mood was much different coming home.

I felt as if though someone had taken a razor and roughened up all my insides-raw.

So much for one weekend-it was like a roller coaster ride-first the news was bad then good. So many mixed feelings and emotions.

You see-When I was fourteen I was rapped by a man that was ten years my senior. I married that person for all the wrong reasons! The abuse got worst and continued for three years.

When I turned eighteen I decided that I could not live this way anymore!
My daughter and I deserved better.

It took all the courage I had in me to leave and divorce this person that was beating me down. He was older-physically stronger and violent.

By the time I was eighteen I had been married, divorced had lost both my parents and now a single mom. I grew up very fast!! ? My childhood took the elevator?

So those little trips down memory-lane sometimes trigger unpleasant memories!

That is one of the main reasons I moved away from my home town-where I grew up.

I'm at the point now where it almost doesn't bother me anymore. I can go months, years without even thinking about it.

On the drive back-something triggered one of those memories. It?s hard for my daughter to understand-caught between her father and I.

I was in the front seat and my daughter was driving-I'm a very sensitive, emotional person.

I turned my head to my right side looking out the window and cried in silence..my daughter noticed and put her hand on my knee to comfort me. I got a headache from not being able to cry out-loud-then I got nauseous and asked my daughter to pull over on the freeway.

That?s how I use to feel when I was in that bad situation or before he would come home from work on Fridays. Payday usually meant drinking, an argument-violence.

Or maybe it was the shots of Tequila the night before, or the spoiled milk or the Peanut Buster parfait from Dairy Queen or a combination of things? That made me car sick.

The night before I had spent a wonderful evening with a dear close friend, whom I had not seen in years.

I had a phone number that didn't work. I had an address but I thought the nine was a four.

My son and I went for a walk and decided to look for the address. Then I figured out the four was a nine. On the way there I picked a rose, some eucalyptus and some orange blossoms for my friend.

As it tuned out my friend Patricia lives less than a block from my niece's house.

P.S. Don't stay in a bad situation: Find help-You deserve better!

About Maria Reyna:
Maria Reyna:Varied Artist- Painter, Poet, Storyteller.


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