Thursday, January 26, 2017

PREPARING FOR THE DEATH OF MY CHILD--by Guest Margie Mijares


Alex, Margie Mijares's little boy
My guest today is Margie Mijares. She is not a writer, but a woman who shares her story with courage. I am honored by her sharing it here.


PREPARING FOR HIS DEATH by Margie Mijares

Cesar Alexandre was born on March 5, 1980 and to all appearances, he was a normal, healthy baby.  He was the son I had seen in my dreams with his head full of dark hair, olive skin, and eyes so blue they looked black.  He was exactly as I had seen him except for one thing. 

Alex was born with Friedreich’s Ataxia.  FA is a degenerative spinal cord disease which is caused when both parents carry the same recessive gene trait.  It occurs in 1 in 50,000 people in the population of the world and can lie dormant in families for generations…until it passes from memory…which is what happened in our case.
Alex was 13 when he was diagnosed at Duke Medical Center.  On the day of his diagnosis, I read Psalm 139 to Alex and it became his life scripture, the one he strove to pattern his life after, and his faith was unshakeable.  He accepted that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made”, that God knew he would be born with FA and that He could have changed it, but chose not to.  Alex said he didn’t understand why FA was in God’s plan for his life but he was going to accept it and do the best he could for as long as he could.  And that is just what he did.
Alex with his brother Erik, and dad Cesar
In September 2005, Alex was hospitalized for the last time.  The doctor told us his prognosis was awful, take him home and make him as comfortable as possible because he didn’t have much time left.  We were stunned because we had never been told his heart condition had gotten so bad…but Alex was optimistic because he said “God still has something left for me to do.  It’s not time yet.”
How do parents prepare for the impending death of their child?  No one had ever told me the answer to that question, nothing in my life experience had prepared me for it, the pastor didn’t know, and there were no easy answers.  Hospice came in, I took out my worn Bible, and I prayed.  I moved into the room with Alex and stayed with him almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  His siblings and Dad took turns sitting with him when I had things that needed to be done.
Alex with his mom, Margie Mijares
Things were up and down for the next four months.  Some days he was up and others he was down but always he had that big, beautiful smile on his face. 

On December 13th I had called in our good friend and pastor, Vernon because Alex said he knew he was saved but he wanted to know that he knew he was saved.  They spent a long time talking that day and part of that conversation would become Alex’s eulogy less than a month later.
On the morning of January 10th, Alex wanted a bath because he was tired of sponge baths and all his life he wanted to be clean.  I asked him to wait until his Dad got there to put him in the tub. 
Cesar got home, put him in the shower, and I bathed him and shampooed his hair.  I told him I would shave him later because I could see that even that little effort had tired him.  Cesar got him out of the shower, laid him on his bed, and we were drying him off.
I was drying his feet and legs and Cesar was doing his back and chest.  I saw Alex trying to lift up his head and thought he wanted to tell me something so I looked into his face, he had difficulty speaking and it was hard to understand him.  His lips were moving but no words came out, I saw the light leave his eyes, and I knew that my sweet boy was gone.  It was 1:10 PM on January 10, 2006.  He was less than two months from his 26th birthday.
My son was gone and I couldn’t even cry, everything inside me had shut down.  All the long years I had cared for my son, I always laughed, to the extent that Alex questioned why I laughed about everything.  I told him I laughed because if I ever started crying, I didn’t know if I could stop.  I wasn’t laughing now, but neither could I cry. 
My heart was gripped with such a depth of sorrow as I had never experienced before, not when I lost my grandparents or even my father.  I prayed for nearly 13 years for a miracle of healing for my son and my prayer had finally been answered, but not in the way I expected. 
We planned his funeral, went through the visitation at the funeral home, and then the funeral.  It rained so hard that day it was if the very heavens were shedding the tears that were locked away deep inside me.  I wrapped my grief around me like a heavy woolen overcoat and did the only thing I knew to do. 
I got out my Bible and I read the scriptures. I searched them for comfort , peace, understanding.  I begged God not to let me grieve as one who has no hope. When I asked God why this happened to my son, His answer to me was always the same, “Look at My Son.  Look at Jesus.”  And I did.  I read every passage about Jesus in the Bible and as the days, weeks, and months stretched out into a year, and then another, and another, God met me in such an incredible way. 
He walked with me every step through that long valley of grief, He was my comfort, my sustainer, the One who lifted my head, and restored the peace and joy to my spirit.  I could not have survived that journey into grief without Him.  I don’t know how anyone can.  January 10, 2017, marks 11 years since my Alex stepped into eternity.  I still miss his brilliant smile, his sense of humor, and his hands, those hands I held onto for almost 26 years.  I am comforted by the knowledge that one day I will see him again because Alex does not live in my past, he waits in my future.
Alex Majares, a sweet young man his family will see again one day.

My guest Margie Mijares says, "There's not an awful lot I can say about myself.  I am the second of seven children, the mother of nine, grandmother to fifteen, and well into my sixth decade.  I am just a simple woman whose highest aspiration in life was to grow up to be someone’s mother. 

I often prayed for that even as a young girl.  God saw fit to bless me with three sons by birth, a daughter of the heart by my marriage to my husband, and five adopted sons and daughters.  He also gave me the privilege of being a foster parent to more than twenty children and a mentor to scores of others who came into my life through my children. 

To say that I have had a blessed life is an understatement!!  I have been married to my husband Cesar for almost 39 years.  I am retired from my job as an accounting clerk and a full-time, stay-at-home Nani.  My hobbies include reading, sewing, reading, my mule, Lucy, reading, spending time with my grands…and did I mention reading?  I love nothing more than spending time with my family and my extended family, so I guess a “homebody” best describes me. 

I was pleased to share the story of our son, Alex, when Christine asked for volunteers to write for her blog...but what I shared was only the tip of the iceberg to the powerful testimony our son left behind him.  I hope that someone who is hurting over the loss of a child or a loved one will find some comfort in these words and the peace I found in Jesus. 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of my sister Margie. She has been thru much and has remained strong by Faith and Love of family! I am Proud to call her sister and Love her so!!
Mary Swearingen Basden

Rebecca Whalen said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing, Margie.Love, Rebecca Whalen

Christine Lindsay said...

Thank you for those comments. I too am so proud of Margie. What a brave and loving family. Only their faith in God could take such a sad ordeal and turn it into something of joy and expectation for the future. Thank God, we serve a loving God who will one day reunite this family in His kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this opportunity to share, Christine. I hope that my story brought a touch of healing to a hurting heart. Grief is a process without a time limit and I don't believe it is ever the same for any two people. God has always been that strong tower in my life that I could run into and be safe...I am sure He will prove Himself faithful to all who call on Him.

Blessings....Margie