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Dora Moreno, my mom, would love it best to tell her story by directly speaking to her from my heart….. Mom, I remember you telling your 8 children 4 important things: 1. I hope to die before my children because I never want to you suffer; 2. bring me roses while I am alive and not at my burial; 3. come together as family during painful times; and 4. have faith in God. Covid-19 entered our lives so unexpectedly and we hoped, as did the entire world it would not touch our lives. It did! Belinda (sibling) responded quickly, as she did with so many others, to get you to the hospital and stayed with you as long as she was allowed. Life, as never experienced, would unfold with mystery, yet filled with a hopeful spirit from your children. You became a greater focal part of our lives. At 81 years of age, you took great care of yourself by taking your medication faithfully and keeping the oxygen tank nearby. Belinda would keep us abreast of your status and would be your voice with the physicians, nurses, and others. I remember calling you and the last time I heard your voice, “Mijo, I’m not feeling good so I’ll talk with you later.” I responded, “take care, I’ll be praying for you, and I love you.” I can see you placing your trust into the hands of these new friends, similar to the way you trusted God. Mom, your journey was not easy for you physically even though the medical team stayed at your side. Why did I keep seeing you as a strong person laying in the bed, unable to speak nor open your eyes. Having to medicate you to rest your tired body we never left your side.? Knowing you were carefully listening, nurses loved you and found joy in your children patiently waiting for the next Zoom gathering. We continued to give you roses… playing music and singing (your favorite, Tennessee Whiskey), praying your loved prayers, moments of silence and most importantly, talking. We did as you instructed by giving you roses, coming together during difficult times, and expressing our faith in God. You always loved us and I am happy to know our return of love has no end. As we patiently remained present, the medical team (now, our trusted friends) never gave up, as they did with all patients. Beginning June 10, 2020 and nearly 38 days later, the decision to move you to hospice became our reality. Belinda, your stubbornly faithful daughter, entered into a dialogue with the doctors to advocate for your return home. You were the first person from that hospital given permission to come home. Now we began the new journey. On July 18, Rick (brother) and Belinda took part in the place you loved the most, home. Due to the restrictions, most of us, with a few grandchildren and friends, were able to welcome you home and a somber excitement filled the room. And mom, from my heart I say, “ the Holy Spirit was present.” The room was nicely arranged with photos and a prayer space with your bible, prayer books, rosary, blessed water and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We gathered to pray with you and after blessing the water, each of us laid our hands on you and gave you our blessings. Afterwards, we left the room so the hospice staff nurse could do her work. You were home!!! and no more than five minutes, God called you to a new life in heaven. I remember you sharing with me, “the day of your (all her children) birth, I handed you over to God.” You lived as a true and faithful servant and, now, we had the bittersweet and humbling gift of handing you over to God. Similar to dad’s death, of new life, I took the blessed water and each of us, blessed your forehead because you were knowledgeable in faith and life, your lips because you spoke and lived the scriptures, your heart because you loved others as called by faith, your hands because you molded us to touch life with love and service, and your feet because you walked a journey on earth and now you will walk in heaven. All things you asked of your children was given to you. With our gifts and limitations, we are more bonded than we’ve ever been. Knowing you are proud of us, I hear your voice clearly, “hey guys, this isn’t only about me because there are a lot others out there having worse times. Help them out!” You are, and will always be, God’s humble servant hope, faith, and love. Mom, this story is your life and every day you are in my prayers and heart. our time together and I share with you one of our favorite times together.

Robert Moreno (Texas)