I want to dedicate this post to my aunt who is battling COVID-19.
The last week of January has been a roller coaster of emotions for me as I recently found out my aunt was battling COVID-19.
I was just told on Sunday, January 24th that my aunt was admitted into the hospital and would probably stay there for a couple of days. That Sunday, I had so many emotions, I was angry, sad, disappointed, desperate…
Not only did I have to deal with the fact that my aunt lives in another country, which I can’t travel due to this pandemic, but even if I did travel, I could not go into her house or the hospital and be beside her due to the social distance restrictions.
Distance, once again becomes an obstacle for me in trying to reach those family members I want to connect with.
In my previous posts, I have discussed distance as a major obstacle for those of us who have to leave behind our relatives and country in order to better our lives. Distance and being far away are not new to me, I have had to deal with this since I moved to another country.
This time, it’s different, almost everyone in the world right now is experiencing what is like being far away from those who we love. We do this to keep them safe.
I was really emotional when I found out my aunt in Mexico had COVID-19, I had been praying for protection for everyone in my home, including my extended family who live far away in Mexico and other parts of the country. I was so grateful this past year, that no one in my family had been seriously affected by COVID-19.
This past January has been a difficult month, it’s almost like December was not the end of the year, but perhaps January should’ve been added to the year 2020. What an eventful month we had in the U.S. in January!
I had just talked to my aunt over the phone right after Christmas Day, and she asked me to call her on New Year’s Eve to say “Hello” to everyone, including my cousins and nieces and nephews whom I had just seen last year when I traveled to Mexico.
I had meant to call her, but one thing led to another and the events that have transpired in the U.S. within last month had everyone on edge. In Mexico, January 6th is a special holiday, it is Three Kings’ Day or Epiphany Day. I had planned to call my aunt that day since I knew she was going to be celebrating it.
Instead, the news got my undivided attention as I watched in horror how the U.S. Capitol was under siege in an attempted coup. I knew that was not a good day to call my aunt, I was emotional. The following week was more of the same, all of the sudden I was waking up every morning to watch the news and find out what was happening to this country.
Two Wednesdays after that, I was watching the Presidential Inauguration.
I figured I would call my aunt that weekend after the Presidential Inauguration and I figured it would be the right time since it was getting close to her birthday, which was on January 29th.
Unfortunately, that weekend I found out that my aunt had to go to the hospital as she was really ill and was battling COVID-19 for some days now.
That week had been very emotional for me, I spend most nights praying for my aunt and trusting that God would not abandon her. This past week I was a little bit calmer, but I have been doing a lot of reflection about my relationship with my aunt.
I was not close to my aunt when I was a little girl. She was the aunt that everyone “disliked” and almost no one in our family got along with her. I grew up in my grandmother’s house and my aunt lived with her, as my grandmother aged, my aunt was the one who took care and looked after her until my grandmother passed away in 2015.
My aunt was not the nicest person when she was younger and there was a lot of animosity between her sisters and brothers. I always saw my aunt as the most unpleasant aunt of all my aunts and as I grew up, I never really made an attempt to keep in touch with her.
When I left Mexico in the 90’s my aunt was not one of the family members I said good-bye to. I had no relationship with her.
It wasn’t until my grandmother passed away five years ago that our initial relationship began.
At first, I started calling my grandmother’s house to inquire about my grandmother during her last days before her death, then after a while I started calling my aunt to ask her about my grandmother’s cooking recipes.
God is the only one I have to give credit to for the reconciliation between my aunt and I.
About two years ago, God revealed to me that I was to go and visit my aunt and her family, I was very hesitant at first because I didn’t have a relationship with her. I remembered that my aunt had invited me to visit her the year my grandmother passed away in 2015, but I had declined the invitation.
As I went through the difficult process of grieving from my grandmother’s death, I was also studying the Word and learning more about the ministry of reconciliation. God began to minister to me about reconciliation. I knew then that this was my journey.
One of the people I had to reconcile with was my aunt from Mexico and I knew that God was guiding me into starting a new relationship with her.
I called my aunt over the phone and let her know that I wanted to take her up on her offer and go and visit her during Christmas.
In 2019, my husband and kids traveled to the place where I was born and they met my aunt face to face for the first time.
We were all very excited, but at the same time not knowing what to expect, I had no relationship with my aunt before, and didn’t know how this trip would turn out.
I spent Christmas with my family in Mexico for the first time!
One of my most memorable experiences from that trip was when I went to the open market, Mercado República from San Luis Potosí.
My aunt, cousin, my daughter and I went to Mercado República to buy ingredients for the special Christmas Eve dinner, which was the following day.
I have shared about this particular trip in one of my previous blog posts, A Very Special Christmas in San Luis Potosí.
We spend a very nice afternoon, going shopping for the first time together to prepare a special dinner for Christmas Day. I never thought I would get to do something like this with my aunt, never thought I would get to spend time with her at all.
When I think back about the time, we spent together during Christmas 2019, I am amazed to see what God has done in our lives. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do this on my own. I definitely thank God for bringing reconciliation between my aunt and I.
Christmas 2019 was one that I will never forget. Not only was the first time that I took my family back to the place where I was born, but I took a leap of faith by obeying God and accepting my aunt’s invitation to spend a Christmas at her house.
We spent twenty-one days in Mexico during that Christmas, celebrating Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Epiphany Day on January 6th.
We left Mexico tired from the traveling, excited about these new experiences, and hoping to go back in the future to spend more time with my aunt and her family. We thought perhaps in a year or two we would go back to Mexico to spent more time with them again.
Little did we know that a world pandemic would soon take over and turn our world upside down. The year 2020 had just began when we started hearing the news about COVID-19 cases in the U.S. I never thought this pandemic would get this serious to the point that not even the government in the U.S. would be able to control it.
Despite all the chaos and panic that this pandemic created in the entire world, the one thing I am able to appreciate now going on almost a year since the pandemic started, is having traveled to Mexico to see my extended family while I had the chance.
I don’t think my family and I will be able to travel back to San Luis Potosí the same way we did in 2019, at least not for a few years.
Too many things at stake, the pandemic is still out of control in the U.S. and in Mexico, the airports have become a hub of infection for COVID-19, the new protocols required to fly have changed and it’ll be more difficult to travel with kids internationally, but the most important thing that it’s at stake is my aunt’s health condition, especially now that she is recuperating from COVID-19.
My aunt is considered a high-risk individual, which is why COVID-19 sent her to the hospital. Thankfully, my aunt spent just a few days at the hospital and has recently been released and is at home recuperating.
I am just very thankful that my aunt is alive and was able to go back home with her family, even though she’s still struggling with minor problems and her body is slowly recuperating, she is still alive and she gets to spent more time with her family at home.
Unfortunately, not everyone who battled COVID-19 can say the same…
We are currently dealing with a lot of COVID-19 cases, which were expected because of the Christmas holidays.
I recently heard of at least two classmates of mine who attended High School with me back in the 90’s, who have lost their father due to COVID-19. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Many people have lost a parent or family member due to COVID-19.
Finding out that my aunt has COVID-19 makes me realize how important it is that everyone takes this pandemic seriously, particularly younger people, who when infected can become asymptomatic, but they can infect other family members who can end up in the hospital.
I also have been doing a lot of reflecting on my new relationship with my aunt and every day I am grateful for the opportunity to have traveled to Mexico, while I still had the chance, before this pandemic turned our world upside down.
I am grateful to God because He put in my heart the desire to go back to Mexico and reconcile with my aunt. I am grateful because He made that desire a reality, and even though I didn’t quite understand why I had to go back to Mexico to spend time with my aunt, I still went ahead and took that leap of faith.
Sometimes we don’t understand why God asks us to do something we don’t really want to do; we want things explained and questions answered before we say “yes” to God. God is looking for obedience, this is the way He helps our faith grow.
It is my wish to be able to see my aunt again in the future, I pray that God heals her and that we continue this new relationship that God initiated. I hope that in a few years, this pandemic subsides and for those of us who have relatives in a faraway country, that we are able to travel again with confidence so we can go visit those relatives we are yearning to see.
I thank God for His goodness and all the blessings He has given me.
I also pray for those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 this year or last year. That God helps you cope with this loss and brings comfort to you and your family.
During these trying times, I have grown closer to my aunt because of our reconciliation, but now that she is sick recuperating from COVID-19, I have become more compassionate with people who are sick with this virus or who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19. Every day I pray for my aunt, I have spoken to her once through video call, but because she’s still weak, I don’t want her to struggle.
This is the perfect time to show what God’s love is all about, there are many people in need right now who need comfort, love, resources, or just someone that cares. People are hurting right now, and unfortunately, many people have turned a blind eye to the people who are hurting. This is not the time to be indifferent or ignore what is going on in the world.
I am hopeful that we will get through this pandemic and when we all come out of this experience, I hope that we all have learned something valuable that helps us to become better human beings.