One of the most popular thoughts that I hear from people is, “Do you” or “Worry about yourself” or “Do as you will.” I see it all over on social media. While I do believe that we need to focus on the self for physical and mental health, I think we need a balance. How can we think simply about ourselves all the time? We pick and choose who we want to make happy. I think that’s pretty easy. But what if we offer our time to someone we don’t love, such as a stranger? What kind of other worlds or other people can we open up to? Who can we reach out today?
About two years ago, one of my uncles died. He lived in the U.S while his wife lived in Guatemala. They arranged to visit a few times a year, and they took turns. His wife, or my aunt, was a literature and history professor in her country, Guatemala. Now, this is the interesting part, I’ve never met her. She claims that she met me when I was just a child. But I don’t remember her at all.
My aunt recently visited, and she was a complete stranger to me. My family and I tried to make her feel welcomed. I had an instant connection with her. The conversations flowed without friction or tension. Oh, the conversations we had! She challenged me, and I learned a lot from her—a brilliant woman.
She’s advance in age, mid 70’s. Her mind is a treasure, and I feel very lucky to have a relative, other than my immediate family, that I can relate to—mainly because I like to learn. She opened up a new world of authors and fiction. I thought, “So much I don’t know.”
At some point, we had a family gathering, and this time it included my aunt. My dad read a few chapters of the Bible, and then we prayed. By the time we opened our eyes, my aunt had cried. My aunt said that she hadn’t felt so much love in a long time—this was a few days before her flight back home.
She also admitted that she had given up on life and wished for death. Of course, we all felt concerned at such confession. She quickly promised that she didn’t feel the same way because we had given her a reason to live again—to want to go out on walks and join a yoga class.
I was also shocked when she declared that we helped expand her mind, opening up a new world. I thought, “On the contrary! I’ve learned a lot from you.” I believe her mind expanded because we embraced and appreciated her brilliant mind.
By the time she needed to go back home, we all promised that we’d be there to say goodbye, so we were up early before the sun. Once again she cried and told us how much she loved us. When the sun began to peak while she stood by the doorway, I stared at her. She looked about thirty years younger, and she moved a lot faster than when I first saw her. Her face shined, and she looked healthier as a whole. We have exchanged numbers, and we promised to keep in contact.
My aunt stated that she wondered what she would do about her book collection once she dies. Now, she knew exactly who to inherit the valuable collection—me. This filled me with mix emotions of joy and sadness. Also, for personal reasons, she needs to visit the Unites States twice a year for two months. But she no longer has to worry about feeling alone when she visits.
She does live by herself back home. Her only son lives in Spain. And she says her friends have forgotten about her. But she and I have a deal; we’re going to mail each other books to have more talk about over the phone and when she visits.
Depression and stress can deteriorate a person. But when we offer love and our presence (make time) instead of pushing a people away, this is the best way to bring a person back to life—because people can live and be dead. There’s no better feeling than to see a person completely surrendered to depression come out of it. I’ve seen it before. I’m eager to see what else I can learn from my aunt. I also can’t wait until the end of the year when she returns.
Good day, all!
©Ana P. Rose & Anaprose 2017.