A Spark of Hope
Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD
This past month has been full. The kids are back at school in full swing, working on projects and enjoying after-school activities. Work has been busy and demanding. I’ve had writing deadlines and speaking engagements, guests staying at our home, and conferences to attend. And in the midst of all these worthwhile endeavors, life keeps going. Stuff happens. Curveballs are thrown. I am grateful that those unexpected curveballs often bear blessings, too. When tough times come, I am thankful that grace is in the mix as well.
In the past six weeks I lost an aunt and an uncle. But beyond the deep sense of loss, I have experienced something precious about each of them in their dying that fills me with hope and life. As I ponder their lives, what I remember most is not their suffering, but their courage, and those qualities that helped them stand. I am also grateful for all the people who surrounded them with loving care when it mattered most.
Titi Myriam was one of my Mom’s older sisters, and the one whose laughter so often filled our home. That same laughter now seems to rise in my heart as a geyser every time I think of her. What a gift! I shared about Titi Myriam in August’s Health & Hope Corner, A Cup of Joy.
As a tribute to Tío Ahmed, I posted a Christian song by Chris Tomlin (I Will Rise). My uncle fought in Vietnam and came home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a time when little was known about it. A dentist by trade, he went back to work upon his return, striving to recapture a normalcy that proved elusive after all he’d witnessed and experienced at war. I always admired his humility and gentleness while grieving with him the loss of his previous simpler life.
As I reflect on my loved ones, I admire their untold resilience in enduring tough challenges. Joy was my aunt’s strength, and she spread it effortlessly wherever she went. My uncle’s anchor, I think, was hope. A spark in his eyes seemed to say, “Believe!” In that spark I saw something greater, like his eyes were the door to a world full of possibilities and life. Something deep inside him seemed to break through the pain of his experiences and point to the goodness within and around us. His gaze irradiated hope, and my aunt’s laughter exuded life. What gifts!
Though we all experience the curveballs of life, they are one part of the bigger experience of living! I think at times we forget that, feeling as though that is all there is. I am learning to embrace life every second, whether working or playing, rather than waiting for vacations to do so! We can enjoy the gifts life brings now – like sunsets and waterfalls and songs. Like holding a newborn child and petting our dogs. Like dancing, falling in love, and laughing ’til we cry.
Life! It is a gift. We have it now. Let us live life to the fullest right now!