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Twinkle, Twinkle, Grant Me A Miracle

Author : Maricruz Ferrari LCSW

He kissed me on the forehead, hugged me tight and said goodbye. I remember his face so kind, so sweet, wanting to stay, but needing to go. Little did my nine-year-old heart know that was the last time I would see my father alive. At that time we lived in my country of origin, Colombia. My parents knew there was a chance dad had a severe illness so mom decided to take him to New York hoping their advanced medicine could do something for him. The trip only lasted three days. He passed away suddenly with no chance to fight. His autopsy revealed his cancer was so advanced that treatment would’ve been meaningless.

Anger and frustration invaded my soul just like it happens to a lot of people who lose a loved one so unexpectedly. Why him? Why us? Miracles happen. How come the universe overlooked my family and denied us our miracle? It took a long time to shed negative feelings and understand that life happens and you need to adjust. Deserving or not, different situations will continue to unfold, and you will have to deal with what’s in front of you. If you don’t, resentment and emotional pain will hold you hostage forever.

As the years have passed, I have met countless families who have experienced that same emotional pain but have simultaneously embraced the beauty in the process. This has taught me that beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder. There will always be room for sadness when our loved ones leave us, but we can also open a space in our hearts to accept and embrace the blessings. When I think of my father now, I don’t think he was cheated out of life or robbed of a miracle. I believe the way he left us was a miracle. He never knew how sick he was, he never had to experience the pain of a terminal diagnosis, he never had to suffer through any meaningless treatment, and we never had to live through that experience. Almost until the end, he lived life on his terms always happy, active and smiling. His life was short, but every bit of it was sweet.

Families sometimes avoid making health decisions waiting for a miracle to happen. However, when I visit them to discuss end of life decisions, and we talk about their loved one’s life, together we identify many miracles, blessings or life gifts in their journey. A while ago I met a 95-year-old gentleman who sustained a hip fracture after falling at home. Unfortunately, that fall was the trigger to unstoppable health issues that led him to the end of his life. Up until his fall, this gracious, kind and friendly man had been living at home alone, caring for himself, actively participating in family and social activities. He enjoyed taking care of his garden every day and often spent time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His son was not ready to let go as he was waiting for a miracle. After a long conversation in which we recounted great events in his father’s life, he clearly understood that every day before admission was a miracle in itself. A 95-year-old able to do all those fantastic things independently was pretty remarkable. We all knew that is not the norm. A person who had lived life to its fullest would probably consider that dying peacefully was the miracle, not extending life artificially.

Over a year ago, I met a couple with teenage daughters. Dad had advanced cancer, and the end was rapidly approaching. He had been diagnosed 5 years prior and through treatment had managed to extend his life all those years. Meeting the family was enlightening. There were pain, sadness, and anger, but there was also gratitude. Gratitude because when he was first diagnosed things were not promising. However, through treatment, he was able to give his family more years of beautiful memories. So when the time to let go started approaching, they were all about making sure he was comfortable and surrounded by love and laughter until the end. The miracle was on that peaceful, beautiful goodbye, not on insisting on what couldn’t be.

As we face painful situations, negative emotions can cloud our thoughts and our judgment. We can easily fall into a pool of anger, sadness, and frustration, especially when a loved one is approaching the end of his/her life. At that moment, try to remember the beauty in your loved one’s life. When you do that, you will start redefining miracles, and your heart will experience a sense of peace and clarity. Storytellers talk about miracles in a very magical way. If you take a closer look, you’ll know that true miracles are already happening in our daily life and acknowledging them can help you experience difficult moments in different ways.

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Maricruz Ferrari is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in healthcare for multiple years. During the most recent stage in her career, she has provided supportive services to people at the end of life journey. Along the way she has learned there is a significant unawareness in the community about end of life choices. It is often people go through intensively difficult medical experiences due to lack of knowledge. Maricruz wants to create more awareness over end of life issues and choices with the purpose of helping people be more prepared for the last chapter in their physical lives. Maricruz’s email address is

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Tags:   end of life, death, dying, advance care planning, end of life wishes, social work, hospice, Clinical Social Worker, healthcare, life choices, medical choice, end of life care, end of life care options, end of life care hospice, end of life planning, end of life planning, end of life decisions, living will

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Submitted : 2019-02-20    Word Count : 809    Times Viewed: 1194