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We’ve been publishing a series of posts from the DREAMers of the Campaign for an American DREAM. In March, they set off from San Francisco to begin a 3,000-mile, 8-month walk to Washington, DC to call attention to the DREAM Act and the need for immigration reform.
Today’s post is from Lucas Da Silva, one of the first walkers to join the campaign. Lucas is currently taking time off the walk to care for his mother.
Two weeks ago, I awoke at 6:30 AM to a phone call from my younger sister, who told me that my mother was at the hospital with a ruptured aneurysm on the right side of her brain. My heart dropped as my sister explained to me what was going on over 1,500 miles away. Immediately, I called the hospital to gather more information, and was told to wait for a call from the neurosurgeon for consent to proceed with the operation. The woman who gave me life was potentially lying on her deathbed. I was scared and worried beyond anything I had ever felt before in my entire life.
At this point I have to thank Jonatan Martinez and Timothy Farrell for placing me on the first available flight back to Orlando. I was so lost that I couldn’t see beyond the present and perceive what I needed to do next. When I received the call from the neurosurgeon scheduled to operate on my mother, I was getting ready to head out to the airport. As he went through the details of the procedure he was about to perform on my mom, my eyes welled up with tears. He explained the complications of her high blood pressure and the risks involved in such an intricate surgery. My mind was in constant prayer and I thought about how much I loved my mom.
The surgery lasted about three hours and I waited anxiously for news from the doctor and my sister. When I finally received a call back from the hospital, I was fidgeting nervously in my seat at the airport in L.A. for my flight to Orlando. I answered the phone and breathed a tentative sigh of relief when I was told that the procedure was a success and she was stable. The aneurysm had been sealed off with a coil and she would remain hospitalized for the next couple of weeks to monitor her recovery. The first hurdle in my mother’s battle had been surpassed, but there was still a long road ahead.
I arrived in Orlando early the next morning, at the same time as my grandmother, who had taken an international flight from Brazil the day before. My sister and a family friend picked us up and immediately took us to the hospital. I was traveling light since I had left in such a rush–my Nike duffel bag was my only piece of luggage. When we arrived at the hospital’s neurosurgery ICU, my mother was in an induced coma with tubes sticking out of her body everywhere. As I looked upon her swollen face, I fought hard to hold back the tears that were building up. I didn’t want to elevate my grandmother’s anxiety or worry my sister. I needed to be strong for my family and for my mother.
The next two weeks went by agonizingly slowly–there was little to no progress the first week, but still, she was alive. That first week was nerve-racking because she slept a lot and was not very responsive when she was awake. However, there was never any doubt in my mind that she would pull through because I know my mother is a very strong woman. Here we are at the end of her second week, and she is at home recuperating. My grandmother is here along with my two uncles, bringing my mom’s side of the family together completely for the first time in a decade.
This Mother’s Day is the best one I have ever had because my mother is alive with no signs of permanent brain damage. I am forever grateful to God, and grateful for the love of all the communities that prayed for my mother so that she could be here today with me. I remember sitting in the sweat lodge in Elko, Nevada, breathing in hot air, sweating from head to foot, and praying for wisdom, patience, and my family. My prayers were heard.
Give thanks for all moms and all families not only this Mother’s Day but EVERYDAY. I feel like a lot of us lose sight of what is really important in the buzz of our daily mundane routines. I almost lost the most precious jewel of my life and my best friend. I will never forget the mercy God has shown my family nor will I ever forget to appreciate my mother. Don’t forget to enjoy life, but most of all don’t forget to enjoy family. We all live on borrowed time.
I love you mom. I dedicate this blog post to you and all your love.