|Alex, Margie Mijares's little boy
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 with his brother Erik, and dad Cesar
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
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.
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.