December 26, 2013; a day which seems pretty regular to most people as they prepare for gift returns, spending more time with family members if they aren’t too busy with work, eating leftovers, finding activities to keep the children busy during their holiday break from school…the list goes on.For my mother, December 26th will be a day she will always remember as she bears new fruits and embarks on added journeys which God and time have been so kind to bequeath upon her. Because it was on this very same day back in 2012, she received a new liver and ultimately; her new life.
Christmas Day was a completely different experience for us this year because during the previous holiday, my mother was basically a zombie as her soul shadowed around us. Most of her energy had already abandoned her body and left it to fend for itself. My mom struggled to walk, speak and eat with us on that bitterly cold, desolate and borrowed Christmas Day. Unable to smile and laugh because liver disease numbs one's facial expressions, my mother was already a memory. She should have been dead by this time since the doctors had given her a year to live in November of 2011.
As her soul danced around us, an angel must have been parading throughout the house with our memories; trying to find reason to keep my mother alive. This angel must have felt the energy in the house that day; an energy strong enough thanks to the determination and gratefulness of my mom’s soul. This angel must have rushed up to God’s mercy and put in a good word for her as our family quietly sought out more time for our irreplaceable mother.
And God did just that. He granted this angel his or her wish (I’m still not sure which one of our beloved ancestors was there day) and sent a liver to Lady of Lourdes hospital for my mother on December 26th, 2012. We don’t know where the liver came from or who the donar was but one thing is for sure, as God granted one angel’s wish, He welcomed another into His Kingdom. I believe in doing so, He knew my mother still had work to do here for Him and since this angel was so convincing, a priceless exchange was made and the fate of my mother was changed in the favor of God’s gracious and merciful hands.
My mom’s work has begun as her story has already changed the lives of people who have been struggling with alcoholism. She is helping people to understand that this isn’t just something one decides to engage with each and every single day. Alcoholism is a disease; it’s an entity which takes control of one’s mind, heart and soul. It engulfs you, takes a hold of you, and ultimately, defines who you become.God has a plan for each and every one of us. However, when we allow certain demons and false freedoms to get in the way of our work for Him, the plan withers away with every drink we take or ungodly mistake we choose to make. For a long time, I wished that alcohol didn’t have such an incredible hold upon me. Every morning I woke up after a night of binge-drinking, I told myself I wouldn’t drink that day. Inevitably, the disease won every single time as I found myself succumbing to a bottle of wine each night.
Consequently, seeing my mother healthy and filled with love and an unexplainable newfound energy is more than I could have ever imagined this Christmas. The Christmas spirit is about giving to others and helping mankind as we love and support one another (it took me sometime to discover the spirit this holiday only because I witnessed so many not celebrating its true meaning).
So our Christmas gift to you is our story which we can only hope and dream will help change the lives of people who are struggling with this disease or striving to understand that it is in fact, a disease. There are many people out there who don’t think alcoholism is a disease. Hell, I didn’t think it was until I saw my mother bleeding from her veins, bruised, blown up like an elephant, as yellow as a banana, and STILL DRINKING. I didn’t think it was a disease and heck if I had a problem or would even admit to it if I did because I thought I had everything under control. The thing is, nobody has this illness under any kind of control until they realize it is a sickness and they need to get rid of the sickness to understand they desperately need help.I recently shared with you my step-father was remarried this past summer. Over the holiday, my mother and I spent some time with my dad’s new wife. My dad is still struggling to understand how the disease works but his wife, Lovely L, had the same internal fight as she watched her own mother’s rise and fall with alcoholism. She watched her mom suffer and fall into a coma from liver failure. Lovely L also confided in me that she knew exactly what my mother had struggled with. God works in mysterious ways and because my mom hurt my dad, just as I disappointed one of my own past loves and best friends, he has laid out our work for us and plotted certain people within our paths. People who will continue to help us rise to the occasion and surround my family with the love, beauty and strength it needs to conquer whatever obstacles lies ahead. I believe Lovely L will eventually help my dad to forgive my mother someday; a forgiveness which can only manifest in his own understanding.
Even though I was given a gift which was well worth more than anything a person could receive, my soul still wasn’t completely satisfied because of the disappointment it had found in what it thought to have been its counterparts. However, I was quickly reminded that the Christmas Spirit comes in all shapes and sizes. This year, it was a simple understanding of the work my mother and I have to do here for others. The Christmas Spirit lies within the simplicity of the world, the kindness in gestures, and the engaging with new and incredibly understanding people. It lies within people like my dad’s new wife who even though has the privilege of taking on the added baggage of a new family and all of its problems, sees past all of this and welcomes everyone with open arms. The Christmas Spirit is giving love to one another which is one of the most beautiful things God has always asked us to do. And in doing so, we, as human beings, are capable of carrying the burdens of others as we help to eliminate prejudices, hatred and misunderstanding which come from the days that lead up to Christmas.
On this day and every day which lies ahead, I hope to take what I’ve learned and carry it with me for all of the days to come. Not just on Christmas but on every single occasion here on after. We are all brothers and sisters here…mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. There is no room for adandonment and even less time for misunderstanding. Get it right and if someone isn’t going in the right direction, take their hand and show them the way. I love you all! And have a Very Merry After Christmas!