A Story of Tough Love (part 2)
A Story of Tough Love (part 4)

A Story of Tough Love (part 3)

Ileana and Eduardo were happy for a short amount of time. Love kept them connected until  Ileana’s illness took over her life again and this time in a more dramatic way.  She became aggressive towards herself and other people, including Eduardo and she just stopped being the woman that he had married in the beautiful ceremony. There was a major problem and that was that Ileana refused to take her medications and she insisted that she didn’t need them at all. This was a real problem, we knew that the consequences were going to be extreme and that’s exactly what happened.

 After a serious suicide attempt my sister ended up in the hospital. This time the Doctors were not sure if she was going to survive so my Mom started preparing herself,  my brother Alex and I for the worst event possible. I can’t even tell you how afraid I was, how scared and confused. I could not imagine our lives without Ileana and all I wanted was a miracle to save her. All I did at school was to look at my classroom door. I imagined the principal showing up and asking me to come outside because she had some terrible news to tell me. Every time when that door opened I almost had a heart attack. Thank God Ileana did survive, but her life was not going to be the same anymore because around that time a new kind of therapy started for her; one of the most extreme, painful and polemic kind of therapy up to this day: Electroshock. The word describes exactly what this treatment is all about.

 My Mom had to make a serious decision between letting my sister keep going without medication, which was going to be for sure the end of her life, or start electroshock therapy to keep her alive. She decided to keep her alive no matter what and I think that every mother in her situation would have done the same thing.  So my sister started her series of ECT soon after that. Those electroshocks were something terrible, not only for Ileana who had to experience them in her own body, but for my Mom who decided to stay in the room in order to hold my sister’s hand while she was going through the treatment. I am thankful that I never had to see that in person but I suffered it anyway through my Mom who came home devastated after every session and through my sister who didn’t recognize my bother Alex or myself until her brain recovered from the electric impact, this took hours and sometimes days. But the treatment did help her. She slowly recovered and found herself in a safer place.

 Ileana got divorced and started some new relationships but each one was difficult for her to keep. Each partner was patient and loving but they left as soon as they realized that the relationship was a real challenge.  Then one day she fell in love again, deeply in love, with someone special. He was an English teacher from Havana, the capital. He was doing some work in a province where Ileana happened to be at the time and they met and fell in love. Then, some time after being in this relationship something unexpected happened:  she got pregnant. We didn’t know how to take this news. Was she going to be able to take care of a baby? Was she going to be a good Mother. Was the baby going to be healthy? Before we even had time to process the idea of this pregnancy Ileana and Irmino decided to keep the baby. Her tummy started growing and a beautiful, healthy baby girl was born.  My niece Graciela, this tiny girl that I loved with all my heart from day number one when I saw her little face. 

(I will continue tomorrow)

Have a great Tuesday my friend,