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What does it take to keep someone alive?

What does it take to keep someone alive? Measurable amounts of resources, time, and energy, but also unmeasurable amounts of faith and love. The love is so unmeasurable that it spills over and is caught by other people around. Then there is the faith, strengthening day by day. We find it as a responsibility to never allow our faith to be reduced – its natural course is to continue growing. My family’s faith has been tested day by day for the last 14 days. One day harder than the last, but we found the strength in our community and family to keep the faith going.

As the demand for measurable resources significantly increased, our unmeasurable resources of love and faith also needed to be elevated. The need for oxygen rapidly grew from 6L to 50L in the span of five days for almost all the family members affected. They also required stronger antibiotics, and the medications turned from tablets to injectables. Most of our loved ones remained at an average of 70% oxygen saturation. We were still waiting for the sudden miracle. Our loved ones’ spirits were so incredibly strong that we were so sure their soul would bring healing to their physical pain. On Friday evening, we shared words with each of our affected loved ones via Zoom. We showered them with love and support. With high-flow masks on, they smiled and used their hand gestures to communicate how peaceful they were via the pixelated barriers of our phones. On Saturday morning I was in silent prayer when I got a call from a cousin letting me know that my beautiful, loving, tía Consuelo had passed at 10:30am. The morning and afternoon hours were spent in a blur of bittersweet sentiments: we lost a matriarch of our family, but we needed to keep fighting. On that same Saturday evening, I reunited with my sisters. We were outside in the balcony, breathing in the atmosphere of a warm evening in Chicago when we get a call. Our father had passed at 9:35pm. It rained tears and sorrow inside our house. Thunders of guttural mourning broke any discernible silence in the house. One could only hope this was the worst and last of our April showers. On Sunday morning, we woke up as different beings. By the afternoon we saw a miracle happen for the family: we met with all of our cousins, uncles, and my incarcerated brother all through a Zoom call. People that hadn’t seen each other in ten years met once again. Love was being transmitted via video, and our faith continued strengthening. We invited the nurse taking care of our tío Javier into the call, so we could again shower him with love and reassurance that we were there for him. The hypoxia had taken his waking consciousness, but through a miracle of love he responded to the name of his beloved wife: Liliana. All cousins had the same message in our agenda: to let him know that we were taking care of his wife. On Sunday evening, my noble, kind-hearted, and tender tío Javier passed at 6:55pm. We had just buried his two siblings. Our world was crushed once again, and my heart ripped apart knowing that his wife, Liliana, still battling the virus in a different room, would soon have to learn of the news that her beloved husband would not be coming back home to her. It was just a week ago that I had called them to tell them how meaningful their marriage was to me. They taught us all that love endured everything. Each of our three family leaders taught us something different. Their spirits were so perfectly complementary to each other, and we now carry their best qualities. Their lives were fully defined so that we could find ourselves in them, and so that we could rush to care for the rest of our living uncles and aunts.

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