I can't find the right words right now to express how deeply moved I am by your donations for my niece Graciela and her family. You have opened your heart to someone that you have never met and that says so much about your human quality. Your love and support means the world to us right now and specially to my niece who has asked me to send you a big hug and a huge THANK YOU. She will be forever grateful for your support. I also want to send a very special THANK YOU to Amanda Soule for linking my donation post to the sidebar on her blog. Thanks a lot my friend!
In this post I'll help you get to know my niece better so you can feel closer to the person that you're helping right now. I will tell you about her not only from the perspective of an Aunt but also as a person who saw her grow and go through life since she was a tiny baby.
Graciela came to the world in one of the most difficult circumstances; because she was born from a Mom (my sister Ileana) that suffers from Zchizophrenia. This condition made of my sister not exactly the Mom that we all dream about. Not because she was a bad person but just because of her condition. Ever since she was a baby, Graciela suffered from chronic Asthma and other complications that had to do with the amount of pills that my sister took when she was pregnant.
My sister loved her baby but she did not know how to take proper care of her and how to do the basic things that a mother does. She didn't even know how to take proper care of herself. That's when Graciela's Dad came to play an important role. He did the right thing at the time by taking the baby away from my sister, moving to Havana and raising her by himself with the help of his parents and later his wife Adriana, from Chile.
Graciela grew really close to her Dad until the age of 8. After she turned 8 Graci's Dad decided to take her to see her Mom again, he thought that she was ready as well as my sister, for this encounter. Irmino (my niece's dad) knew that there was a risk in doing this, because my sister was going to do anything to convince Graciela to stay with her and not to go back with her Dad. And that's exactly what happened.
Graci's Dad was heartbroken, he had to leave my niece with her Mom and go back to Havana by himself. My niece was heartbroken too because she wanted both, her Mom and Dad to be close to her, but she had to chose one of them at that time. What a big decision to let her make! (a huge mistake), but we're human and life cannot always be the right way, we just keep doing our best.
That was the hardest time in my niece's life. My sister was fine for a week maybe but then she started behaving in ways that didn't do any good to her daughter. At this point Graciela became almost her Mom's mom instead of the opposite. She had to take care of her 2 little brothers, cook, clean the house and do all the chores. Around this time she was already like a small adult, responsible and always looking after her brothers and Mother.
Graciela kept growing up and became a teenager. She went to study in the countryside which was the only thing to do for a girl her age in Cuba at the time. Over there she got pregnant and decided to have her baby (Amanda). She was about 18 when Amanda was born. Graciela had a good relationship with the baby's Dad as well as with his family. Around that time the financial situation in our whole family including Graciela was the worst. That was the time when Adriana, (Graciela's stepmother who had already divorced Graciela's Dad) did something huge, she adopted Graciela legally and took her and the baby to Chile, with the baby's father approval. With my small savings I payed for her plane ticket.
Chile was a big step in my niece's life. I will always be grateful to Adriana for doing what she did with Graciela and her baby. This change was difficult though, because Graciela had to work so hard to support her baby. But life gave her a beautiful gift: Fito. The man who has done so much for her in the last years. Fito loves her very much and together they have been doing everything to create a beautiful family. When Graciela got pregnant with their twins we were celebrating big time over here. Because they were going to be the first twins in our family. And Amanda was going to finally have no one brother as she had been dreaming for so long, but two brothers!
Then, the tragedy happened. One of the twins died in Graciela's tummy, his heart just stopped one day unexpectedly. They did everything to protect the second baby, he was so strong. Graciela gave natural birth to him (them) and 7 days later, when everybody thought that he has safe, he died of some typical complications that often happen to premature babies. We were all devastated as you can imagine. Specially Graciela. That day we got the most beautiful and deep letter from Fito where he wrote the most beautiful words about how strong Graciela was.
Mourning a loss takes time and lots of love and support. That's the process that Graciela was going through when the earthquake hit them. I can only imagine all the feelings that are going through my niece's heart right now. But she's not alone. Graciela has lots of people that love her, I am just one of them.
I really admire my niece. Even in the middle of the hardest time ever she always keeps a positive mind and she knows how to let the universe keep going on its own pace. Graciela is always going to be fine no matter what, because she values life and love and human connection so much. In a recent letter she said that she was so extremely grateful for two things in her life right now: one, having been able to meet her two twin angels, even for such a short amount of time, and second for having survived the earthquake with Amanda and Fito. She feels that she's such a lucky person. Graciela could be saying the opposite, but as you can see, she prefers to focus on the positive.
I think that we can all learn from Graciela.
I would like to finish this post by saying that the universe is something beautiful and we're all a part of it. Your donations have been an amazing way to see how the universe gets together, one heart at a time, to make make a difference in a person's life. Your support to Graciela means a lot to her as an individual, but it also means a lot to human nature as a whole. Your gesture teaches us that we're all brothers and sisters. We're all under the same "roof": the stars, and we all share the same home: planet Earth. We're all a big human family. My love and appreciation goes to all my brothers and sister out there.
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much again!
(I will keep you updated on my Niece's situation. The communication with Chile has been a little difficult lately. But lots of people are working hard to improve this)