A Hint of Wisdom Through A Dream (IMPORTANT: Please Read)

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I had the strangest dream..

Often I overlook these things and not pay any attention but this one was different. In it I revisited the hospital my uncle had been in while he was in critical condition, he was there for what seemed such an eternity..  Becoming familiar with an Intensive Care Unit setting and recognizing all of the nurses is by far the worst thing to ever happen to a person, at least in my experience. 

In this dream though, I walked towards the ICU room and upon entering I immediately looked at the bed my uncle had once been laying on before. I remember for a minute and I  have the clearest image in my head of the vital signs monitor placed to the right of his bed, his heart rate usually elevated side by side with his blood pressure, the medicine lines running from the IV to his veins, at the very least: a sedative, antibiotics, pain reliever, supplemental food, blood thinners.. On the opposite side of the bed, the respiratory machine leading into his trachea, at ease because a sedative would mean his numbers would remain normal for a bit. Just thinking of what was going on on the outside made me afraid of his ongoing state on the inside. I recall having to wear a mask, gloves, and a yellow gown to prevent the possibility of spreading any more infections as his body was becoming resistant to the antibiotics. 

As I finished staring at the empty sheets, I walked past his bed and I saw a familiar face at the end of the room, a friend’s mom. I had known who was in ICU but I had to see for myself. Getting closer I could hear far cries become more prominent and  I noticed they were all wearing gowns and masks. I gathered my set and put it on as I walked closely to the bed. I had grown apart from this friend due to circumstances and I felt an immense guilt as I saw their body laying on the bed motionless… With the same vitals machine and the respirator on their face, It brought back familiar feelings.

And I realized I had forgotten.. Just how easy it is to unintentionally ignore important people in our lives, unwilling to take a spare moment to ask how their day is going, it might not seem of higher significance but it makes all the difference. You may as well be the person to give them life altering advice, if anyone had asked or pushed my uncle to get those headaches checked at the doctor, his story might have been different with given medication. Ultimately who knows really? But I did want to share this, because once you see a loved one laying on a bed, vulnerable weak and fragile, connected to several machines……It becomes a situation out of your hands, out of your reach, a moment where you wish if only you had taken a different action beforehand-K

 

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The end of one life but the beginning of another.

It’s been a while since I have written anything. So much has happened and my family has gone through so much.. When I even start to progress everything I remain in disbelief. If you would have told me all this that would happen last year, exactly today… I wouldn’t believe it. I had looked upon 2012 as the year of new beginnings, 2011 wasn’t exactly a good year for me but now come to think of it, things were better off. My uncle was still among us..

It’s hard to imagine what my father must be going through, I’m reluctant to even try. All of that hoping, praying, that somehow my uncle would improve, even by just a bit. When his eyes would meet ours and he would blink in approval, we had a sense of hope. We knew that this was far from improvement but it was something nonetheless. I can’t get it through my head, the way we managed to get our hopes up and just like the snap of a finger, crushed. It’s so sad. So unfair… The way he had to suffer, being trapped within your own body, unable to communicate, not knowing when it was all going to be over and if it should ever end. For what purpose did this happen? 

I am aware our family is dysfunctional in its own ways, but what family is perfect out there? I’ve not heard of anyone who has perfect brothers, sisters, cousins, a perfect mother, or a perfect dad. There always will be a minor flaw at the very least. Our family is very distant from one another, communication is scarce. Due to circumstances we all managed to bond but all under difficult matters. Not the right reasons. 

If it’s anything, I am at least glad that my uncle isn’t suffering any longer. Those last days at the hospital were extremely horrible. I felt so useless as I am sure everyone in my family did, being unable to do anything to help him. It is such a terrible, empty, and painful feeling. So magnificent in the horror that it is why we even thought of the idea of letting him go. At that moment I was sure of it, 110% that I would follow through and support my family however a small part of me didn’t want to, a small part of me was still hoping that somehow miraculously he would improve overnight. We called everyone and let everybody know what the situation was and due to paperwork it would be done the next day. Well come that very next day my uncle was being more responsive to the the medicine and we were glad that we had waited. This was good. This was real good. 

On Thursday the 8th of November, It was my boyfriend’s birthday and I had planned all week long to visit him, bake a cake, have a special time with him on his special day. I spent the whole day looking for something to buy him, I didn’t have sufficient money so I was making sure I spent it wisely. My older brother who came from San Francisco was with us at the house and he asked me before I left “What about your grandparents? Are they at the hospital alone?” Without putting any thought to it i said “Yes they are, they’ve always been alone with him.” He said, “I don’t think they should, what if god forbid Marcelo dies? What is going to happen with them? Who will be there with them? They’re old and they shouldn’t be alone.” I was thinking about everything I had planned beforehand and I decided to listen to him, my boyfriend would understand, so I told him I’d just stop by to run some errands and then I would leave. That’s exactly what I did. I was about 15 minutes away from the hospital when my brother called asking where I was, he said that Marcelo had gotten way worse and that they were going to leave soon, my heart dropped, this can’t be? I live about an hour away from the hospital so for now I knew it would only be my grandparents and I. As soon as I walked in to the waiting room and they saw me I could see the sadness in their watery eyes. It was such a terrible feeling. I told him I would go talk to the doctor and see what was wrong with him. “They’re doing an exam on him, we can’t go in.” grandma said. I said “okay then, I’m going to go to the restroom real quick, I’ll come back.”

As I exited the restroom I turned the corner to walk down the hall and I saw the security guard, a doctor, an interpreter, and my grandparents standing. I rushed over as quickly as I could and I immediately put my full attention. “Marcelo has been very bad, very sick, his body is extremely tired and weak, his heart… is pumping extremely fast, his blood pressure dropped very low, and his heart stopped…he suffered a cardiac arrest..   …. we were able to resuscitate him and we have a pulse again. However he is extremely sick, I don’t think he will make it through the night, we are giving him medication so that his pressure doesn’t drop again, but he is very sick, I don’t think he will make it through tonight. You make sure you tell them that. I’m sorry.” I was so relieved to know he hadn’t passed away then, with both of my grandparents and just me, I don’t think I’d be strong enough to have that happen then. I called my brother immediately and let him know, he told me to call my dad but to not tell him about the heart attack until he was at the hospital. Oh dear… what was going to happen?

I know that my uncle was able to hear us while we were next to him and I know for a fact that he could understand us. I noticed this by watching the way he reacted while the nurse and my dad had a conversation inside the room he was in. My dad would say that Marcelo no longer understood and that he wasn’t there with us anymore. I never liked them having such conversations inside with Marcelo. I saw his blood pressure rise and he would get agitated. It is almost like saying you’ve given hope on them and I never liked to do that. To have to argue with nurses, doctors, everyone that would say he didn’t understand us, it was painful. But that last night I saw him, my heart ached and I didn’t know for the very first time if he was indeed with us, he was so sick, breathing extremely fast, eyes wide open, sweat all over his face and his body, his stare would break my heart, to not know what he thought or the pain he could possibly have that we were unaware of. It’s hard to type this because I had never felt so many emotions before all at once. 

My dad had gone into ICU with my grandma, we were all in the waiting room and everyone was there, well at least everyone that had to be there, all except my cousin and my aunt. My cousin was at work and he was desperately trying to get someone to cover for him. My aunt on the other hand, my mom had called her, telling her it was very important and crucial that she was there with us. My grandparents needed her, my dad needed her, I don’t know why she wasn’t there… Her brother was at his last breaths and she was not there with us. I have no idea why, but that’s her business nonetheless. And then it happened, the security came asking if we were the relatives and he said for everyone to follow him into the ICU room. We started walking and as we went my brother who was ahead of me looked back and stared at me. As we walked into ICU I could see my grandma sitting on a chair, my dad stood up walked towards my brother and began to cry. I had never seen him cry so hard, I looked over and the nurse was standing next to my uncle, the machines were all off except the ventilator. My grandma started sobbing, everyone started tearing up, all except me. For some reason I just couldn’t, It’s not that I didn’t feel sad because I was tremendously sad but I wasn’t able to. I went to my grandma and I hugged her, I let her cry on me. I was trying to comfort everyone else, but why wasn’t I crying? Was I in shock? I’m not ever going to forget that moment of complete sadness. I would watch over my uncles body…”He is no longer with us, that’s just the ventilator breathing for him.” His eyes were still open and his chest was still pumping, my mind wasn’t able to comprehend that he was no longer with us. Not then, not now. 

There are so many things I am unable to understand, many things left unsaid, and too many emotions happening all at once but I will never forget that night, I won’t ever forget everything that happened, and I will never forget my uncle. He was such a charming, young man, so active, intelligent and eager to help his own people out. I always looked at him as inspiration and I regret not ever letting him know. He would always smile no matter what and that is how I’m going to remember him, I have no idea why things happened the way they did. I sure as hell don’t think he deserved that, and I sure as hell don’t think it was time for him to go. He was so healthy too. My grandparents are so strong, my dad is immensely strong, if anything I know we have to unite more as a family and stop taking people for granted because you truly don’t know when your last breath will be or how much more time you really have to spend with that someone special. We get so accustomed to the way things are that we start to think they won’t ever change, but that’s all an illusion we make for our own peace of mind. I just hope I am able surpass my own battles in order to help out my family, but that will be another post. Uncle, I hope you are much better wherever it is that you are, everyone loves you, and we will miss you an incredible amount, I still can’t believe you’re not here with us. An interesting thing… the week after this all happened, my younger brother who studies at San Jose University was unable to attend my uncles viewing. And as I’m looking at my uncles body at his viewing my cousin started telling me that my brother had a dream of my uncle. In the dream my uncle was laughing, walking, and he looked so happy.. he told my brother that everything was alright, everything was going to be okay, and that he was in a better place now, that he loves us all. For what its worth, through everything that had happened, when I heard those words coming out of my cousin’s mouth, my heart warmed up…I looked at my uncle again and that day I let all of my feelings lose, every single emotion out, I was one with everyone of my family, connected through all of these intense feelings, and we weren’t alone at all because we had each other. And no matter what, we will always have each other until the very last days. 2012 is a year we won’t ever forget, not from what he had hoped to remember of, nonetheless I have trust that things happen for a reason and I want to believe that my uncle’s death will not be in vain. I will make it my mission to bring my family together. And I won’t take my parents, brothers, relatives for granted, I will make the best of the time that I have and I won’t waste my own time anymore. This is the time for the growth I’ve long been running from, and it is the time now before anyone else gets hurt. Beginning 2013 I will make every effort towards a new outlook and a new way of life, I promise that to you… uncle<3

Rest In Peace Uncle Marcelo

04/26/1968-11/08/2012

Your beautiful soul will never be forgotten, but it will instead live within all of us, everyday…. for as long as we live uncle, and every time we see a light shining through the darkness, we will think of you, always there watching over us and guiding us, we love you Marcelo. Image