A lot has happened in the past few weeks. I am awaiting yet another cancer check after a scare, which I am convinced, is work/stressed induced. Without disclosing too much information about my work environment, I can say this… I am grateful I have met leaders like General Mattis and Major General Hertog who taught me you can still achieve mission success without stepping on anyone in the way and your number one priority should be to take care of your troops, as they are the vital parts of our military operation. Without them, we are nothing. Despite the attempts to belittle me, express lack of appreciation and blatant disregard for my self-worth, I chose to be professional, drink water, press on, count my blessings, and look forward to change.
With that being said, something extremely powerful happened last Wednesday morning. I heard the floor creaking as though Mini Me was walking in my room. I was sleeping on my left side and pushed my self up to see. I have a cable box in the room that illuminates the room ever so slightly with a faint bluish tone. I looked over to my bathroom door and saw a dark shadow that did not seem to touch the floor. I violently shook my head trying to focus on the area again and said, “Livi?” Still nothing. I began to feel calm and peace…then I glanced at the clock and saw the time… 5:55 AM. It was him! My Dad! For those of you who do not know, my Dad’s favorite number was 5 and he died when I was 14 years old of colon cancer at 5:55 AM on 7 Nov 93.
I wondered why he visited me so openly. I see the sequence of 555 everyday. Whether it is in a phone number, on a billboard, or the clock. Sometimes it comes as a warning or it is him just letting me know he is there. This day would be different. After dealing with rude SNCO’s for the day and trying to lay out my appointments for the following day, I received a phone call from my Mother (Joe C.) that my Step Dad (Keith) had a heartache while driving one of the trucks for work. Thank God Mom was with him. Well this was a first. I have never dealt with the Red Cross before. I know my brother (John) received the same message from the Army and they planned to assist with purchasing him a plane ticket to leave from California. Mind you, this same weekend would be my Grandma’s (Ana) 85th birthday and I already told the family I could not make it due to work. Of course she was devastated but understood. I cannot tell you how many times I have placed work before my family. Keith’s situation was just another example of me immediately choosing Service Before Self. It killed me to have to ask my leadership for time off to be there for my Mom, mainly because of previous experiences I have had. There would be no way my Mom would have been able to handle another spousal death. I thank my SMSgt who understood and said the right thing….”Anna, do what you need to. Take care of your family. This (work) will be here.” Man I felt so guilty leaving. I believe my Dad was letting me know he was there to help me, guard and protect me for what was to come.
I took leave, got Mini Me and headed to Florida. 12.5 hours later we arrived at the hospital just before they began to prep Keith for surgery. Keith had to have four veins replaced in his heart and one on the right side of his neck. He spent almost 6 hours in surgery and all went extremely well! Thank God! He had to rest all day Saturday and most of Sunday.
Now…switching gears. So, remember my Grandma, Ana? Yup! The party goes on. I left in such a hurry Thursday night that I forgot….wait for it… my freaking make-up! Nope, I am not lying! I had to spend a ridiculous amount of money on stuff from Sephora. Love them! Anyway, so as a make-up artist, my family thinks it’s a free rein to book make-up appointments with me and not tell me just before an event. Of course Grandma is an exception! She trumps them all! Well, thank goodness my Godmother (Maria) packed Grandma’s make-up bag full of INK… products and some of her must-have items from Lancôme. Love them too!
John (left), Grandma (center), and Luis (right)
Well, as Keith rested and my family gathered for a huge family birthday bash for her, I raced to Grandma’s hotel room just in time to do her make-up. Everyone was so happy and surprised that both John and I were able to make it. There were cousins there that I had not seen in 15+ years. And then… the bomb surprise.
Apparently, Grandma had a daughter who was kidnapped when she was a baby. For almost 40+ years, Maria spent her time and money with private investigators trying to find this long-lost sister and my aunt. On 15 Nov 13, Maria found Milie! YEAP! She was there.
The room filled with tears of joy as Grandma made her way around the room hugging and kissing all her family who came together to share this glorious day.
So… back to Dad. I honestly believe this week’s events happened in order to provide Keith with another chance at a healthier life and for all of us to be together to celebrate my Grandma’s 85th birthday.
God works in mysterious ways! Keith, we wish you a speedy recovery and we know you were devastated you missed Grandma’s birthday. Somehow this weekend was a gift from God in many ways! It also allowed us all to slow down, reflect, and take some much-needed time with family and provide me time with mine! We are all so blessed! I am grateful for all my family and all the joy God has brought me this week. Now, I brave the rest of the week. Prayers and blessings to you and yours!
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