Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Mom, E. Nydia Soracco-Godone -- Four years after God called her.

I won’t say that today was a harder day than any other one. It is equally hard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. On September 1, 2012, my Mom met Jesus and His Blessed Mother in Heaven. There is not one moment we can stop thinking about her. My Mom, E. Nydia Soracco-Godone, was not an average person. She was better than above-average. She was the personification of selflessness, of compassion, of love and care. She was kind to everyone, always trying to lift other people’s spirits and to boost their self-esteem. She always had words of praise and encouragement—but if someone made any thoughtlessly insensitive or purposefully sharp comment that could carelessly or intentionally hurt someone else’s feelings, she’d immediately reply on behalf of the victim with an even sharper response to give the wrongdoer a taste of their own medicine and a lifelong lesson against making any nasty remarks any more.

She always lived up to the strictest family values, and yet was open to and ready to help people from all walks of life. She was used to a privileged lifestyle, and yet she always saw Jesus in the homeless and the hungry. In the light of the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, she always defended, and campaigned and stood up for, equality and social justice. She cared about the physically and mentally challenged, about the unborn, about the sick, about the poor and the oppressed. She always welcomed the immigrant and tried to break the ice for the sake of any newcomer anywhere.

She was a professor of literature. Starting in her early twenties she would deliver some talks on literary issues on a radio channel. Nevertheless, she happily gave up everything, including teaching and public speaking, as soon as she learned that her most cherished dream had come true—as soon as she learned that she was carrying me.

In her opinion, which my Dad also fully shared, once people become parents personal goals no longer matter any more, and the only important dreams from then on are the ones they have for their children. Yes, my Mom and Dad truly believed that becoming parents meant dying to themselves and living only for their young. And, even more strikingly, they didn’t find that difficult at all. In their eyes, that was not a sacrifice, but a loving commitment wrapped in hope and joy. They went so far as to think that even those potential life vicissitudes that people tend to fear the most, such as facial disfigurement or loss of bodily function or of limb were not that terrible after a person’s dream of parenthood had come true and provided that it didn’t interfere with ongoing parenting tasks.

Legoland, CA. Can you see the love in her face as she looks at Thomas and Nicholas?

One day when she was in her early thirties, with no training or weapon at all other than her own valiant heart, my Mom stopped the abduction of a seven-year-old child. That meant confronting a kidnapper with blood-shot eyes and a knife in his hand. Whatever that little boy grew up to be and wherever he is today, he owes his life to my Mom.

I must admit that even with a license to practice law I never had a Midas’ touch. So, after a total reversal in financial circumstances, spontaneously and happily my Mom sacrificed her own mobility and eyesight for the sake of my international adoption expenses, first from Haiti and then from Bulgaria, with two failed ones from Russia and Uzbekistan in between, which were more expensive than the five successful ones together. Even though entitled to Medicare, as she had never worked in U.S., coverage wouldn’t have been without a premium—for which she amply had the funds, but still did not want to pay. Bringing her new grandchildren home was far more important to her. That’s how in a five-year period I went from being a biological mother of three to becoming a mother of eight through international adoption.

My Mom's amazing generosity outlived her earthly journey. With all that my three older children, now adults, do for their five younger brothers, which surpasses anything that words can say, it’s only too obvious that the three of them fully inherited that total, absolute, unconditional selflessness, self-abnegation, self-denial that my parents and grandparents had. That's something I must admit I don’t have. I am devoted to my children and do many things for them, but still cannot give myself so entirely as they did and do. Regarding my five younger sons, despite their physical and academic challenges, despite still unresolved adoption issues, despite many years of past abuse and neglect to heal from, their older sister and brothers’ example is slowly showing and teaching them about sharing, caring, and compassion.

Every time there is any problem, every time I feel the whole world is crashing down on me, I do what I have been doing all my life: I ask my Mom for help. And, no matter how easy or how hard you may find it to believe, I can state and prove that help always comes. Always—to the point that I’ve learned to ask for her help and wait for the storm to dissipate—and it does dissipate. Just waiting for help to arrive is actually against my nature as I am the kind of person who likes to be proactive and keep things under control. But I've learned to trust in help that is so much more powerful. By the same token, back in 2008, it had been my Dad’s intercession from Heaven what had saved the adoptions of Thomas and Nicholas from Haiti after the U.S. Consulate in Port-au-Prince had made a serious mistake that could have jeopardized the whole process. I can prove that help had come from Above and not from any earthly political intervention, which had not even arrived to materialize before unexpected resolution of a seemingly unsolvable problem. At the time my Mom was called, in the online communities where I belong there were three children fighting for their lives. One had been in a near-drowning accident, another had suffered serious traumatic brain injury, and a third one was battling leukemia. A little before my Mom went into a comma, I whispered their names into her ears. I knew she’d be near Jesus very soon. I knew she’d ask the Miracle Worker for them—and all three of them made it with almost miraculous recoveries despite their much less optimistic prognoses.

After my Mom had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and given only a few more months on this earth I would tell her that she had never let go of me and that I would never let go of her—but I had to. Jesus was calling her. Angels were carrying her soul to the eternal dwelling beyond the skies. I had to let go of her. My three older children had been by her side at all times, even after she had slipped into a comma. Actually, I had wasted much of that precious time on my computer, writing about her--even though I knew that it was not what she wanted. She had never cared about publicity and prestige---but I do. I couldn't avoid doing for her what I'd have wanted for me.

We very well know she’s still near us, protecting us from Above as she had always protected us on this ground. We can still feel her presence comforting us every time, lifting us, comforting us, strengthening us, encouraging us. My daughter dedicated her doctoral dissertation to her. Yet, it is so difficult not to miss the sound of her voice, her advice, her kisses, and her hugs. Mom, we all miss you so very much!!!

My Mom kissing the photos of Maximilian and Philip when their adoptions from Bulgaria were still in process. Despite all she had given of herself for them to be part of our family, she knew she would not be physically here by the time of their homecoming.

Easter 2012--the last Easter my Mom was physically with us. She enjoyed every second of it, and poured out so much love as to last for an eternity.

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