It's been a few weeks since we've posted... and this was definitely not a post I'd planned on writing. For those of you who may not know, my father had a major stroke on January 2nd. In the last two weeks, my family has put their lives on hold to take care of my dad and focus on his recovery. In this time, I've thought again and again about what this post might look like. I've decided the only thing I can do is focus on gratitude.
Experiencing something like this (at this particular time in our lives, with a grandbaby on the way) brings up a million different emotions... anger, shock, sadness, frustration... it's true for all of us affected. I honestly feel that the only way for me to cope and get through, sanely, is to focus on all of the things, big and small that I can be grateful for. Are there any?... Well, let's see....
We were all together when it happened... This was the first time we were all together (all 4 of us siblings) in Mexico for the first time in 15 years. This allowed us to be there for him and for each other. I can't imagine having been back home and only hearing about this.
We made amazing memories on this trip alone... We climbed pyramids, we danced, we laughed, we ate, we heard stories, we made plans....
Family was quick to act... my family rushed to his side and got him to the closest hospital as soon as physically possible. The entire family ran with him from the ring to the car... calling out his name, letting him know we're all here with him.
He got the best care possible... once we got him transferred to the major hospital, we knew that he was in good hands... they kept us updated, remained positive, and helped my dad make huge initial strides.
His hands... in those first hours once he was transferred and I saw his hands wave... I knew that he was ok. I knew that he was fighting. ...That he would get through this.
The positivity from my cousins... hearing encouraging stories from my cousins about people they knew who'd suffered a stroke, hearing the certainty that my family had in my dad's recovery... those positive words, vibes, and prayers started within minutes of this all happening, and I think it's the only way that I got through it. They kept me positive, and they continue to be that voice of hope and faith.... I still go to them for that reassurance. Thank you, thank you, thank you....
He gets excited to see me.... the first time I saw him back in California, I popped into the doorway, and he sat up as straight as he could and instantly began fixing his hair and face to make sure he was presentable.
My mom... She is strong. She is focused. We will all be there for her to help her with this new part of her life and make sure she doesn't have to face it alone.
Friends, strangers, and family are giving... of their time, of their ears, of their prayers, of their hearts.... Not only did people donate to our funds to help pay for the medical expenses, but they made us dinner, they helped us put away Christmas decorations, they listened to our stories, they texted and called, they let us voice our worries, they reassured us of the good things to come....
My dad is here. My dad can laugh. My dad can walk. My dad can smile and make the faces he's always made.
I can hear my dad's voice; my dad can hear me.
Tina... She is probably one of the world's best listeners. She has a prayerful heart and genuine compassion. She has been taking care of baby through all of this, giving me all the updates which I've been able to relay to my dad. Now at 20 weeks (half way point!) I am grateful to be this much closer to meeting baby. Our little one will be here soon. I think "baby therapy" will be amazing. :)
2015 had taught me many things, but the biggest is how out of control we are in this life. 2016 started with an undeniable reminder. There will be miracles and setbacks in this new journey that we're on. And as sudden and as shocking as this has been I know that it's completely in God's hands and I have no choice but to put all my faith in Him. All I can do is have hope that things will be better, and understand that it's a new day every morning. The mantra I have repeated for years and the one that I share with others (especially new mommies to be) is "Breathe in Faith, breathe out fear...." And so, I do. More so than ever.
|My mom sent me a picture of my dad holding the slipper.|
Usually a New Year brings hope for changes, new starts and a quick look back at the year that was. It was the first time in a long time since the entire Dominguez family had packed their belongings and headed down south to Mexico City to celebrate the New Year. We had spent several days enjoying meals and family celebrations. It was in these moments of joy that an unexpected stroke struck Pachu. No time to think just act. As fast as a Matador has to make a split second decision as a bull glides towards him, the Dominguez family organized and moved a fallen Pachu out of the ring and to the nearest hospital. No disagreements, no hesitation, just action.
In those following minutes, hours, days our mind goes through all of the possibilities of what may come. The worst of what can happen dominates our minds. In these dark times, this family showed what it means to be one. Not just in words, actions and generosity, but most importantly in spirit. The overwhelmingly positive outlook on such a devastating moment powered the safe return of Pachu back to the United States.
Everyone played his or her part. Those who talked, talked. Those who touched, touched. Those who organized, organized. Those who listened, listened. Those who gave, gave abundantly and those who prayed, prayed relentlessly.
Being a couple of weeks removed now, this experience has begun what I will call the year of the Family. Not just for our growing family with baby coming, but for the Dominguez family who now needs each other more than ever to see what their journey with Pachu will be. I smile and thank God for He is faithful to those who seek Him and He is Gracious to those who listen. We are going to raise a baby with a family who are fighters, not fearful at the bull coming their way.
|The only picture taken of Pachu in the ring. Minutes before the stroke.|
"Baby... I want you to know that I believe, with everything I have, that Papa has been fighting for you. When he was in the hospital, you had just started kicking a couple of days before.... New Year's Eve in fact. Your kicks were super strong on the right side for the next few days... and that happened to be the side that Papa needed to work on. I told him how strong you were and how much you were kicking around on the right side and that he needed to focus on his right side too. I prayed that he'd even feel you kick. Within 2 weeks he was not only kicking his right leg... but by day 10 he was walking! Baby we love you and cannot wait for you to meet your "Papa." He loves you very much, and has been looking forward to meeting you and finally getting to hold you in his arms. And with any luck, he'll get to dance with you and show you how to fight a bull."
---excerpt from a letter to our baby