Maria Sifuentes Personal Column: Becoming stronger through tragedy


Maria lost her Godfather(right) in January.

Maria lost her Godfather, Juan(Johnny) Manuel Trevino(right) in January.

Complete anxiety rose up inside of me as I waited for the worst. I watched my godfather lay there with IV needles in his rough withered skin, looking fragile yet peaceful. They finally took the life support off him. Everyone was just waiting for him to move on. In my head I thought I was keeping calm, but instead I was shaking without one ounce of control.

I wrapped my arms around myself and tore my eyes away from my godfather and looked to my godmother who was sobbing in just small breaths. I couldn’t help but comfort her. I held on to her like my life depended on her while she cried on my shoulder. Her tears continued to flow down my shirt for what seemed like hours. We stayed together sobbing until my Tia Betty asked if I wanted to leave. I didn’t really want to, but I felt a hand tug at the hood of my jacket. It was my cousin Micah and the look in his big stressed eyes told me that he wouldn’t go anywhere unless I did. I look at my godfather one last time to take it all in, then I gently unlocked my self from my godmother and took my cousin by the hand and walked out the door. The rest was just stories for me at this point.

Jan. 26, 2012 my godfather, Juan (Johnny) Manuel Trevino took his last breath as an aneurysm removed life from his feeble body. He was a great husband, brother, best friend and godfather. He was the man everyone turned to for a laugh or even just a smile. Even though he had an illness that could kill at anytime of day, my godfather lived life like every day was his last. He didn’t hesitate to do something daring or fun. He loved everyone and made sure they all knew. He could have had surgery on his brain when he had the first seizure, but he told my godmother that he would rather live his life with the aneurysm instead of being crippled for his remaining days.

While others told my Godmother she should have chosen the surgery for him. But I knew my godfather better. He would not want to be alive when he was dead inside. My godfather was like my second dad, but I would rather have him go away with a smile instead seeing a frown on his face everyday. So we gave him what he wanted. Now the sun is gone and rain is pouring harder and harder. Everyday I keep on living.

Losing my Godfather was the second of tragedies to strike our family this year within one month. Jan. 4, 2012 my great grandmother Elida Alonzo died in her sleep. She was a mother, grandmother and a great grandmother. I didn’t know her that well, but I have heard many things about her. She seemed like a very positive person. When I would see her I always saw a smile on her face.

Even though she was blind she always smiled and laughed at simple mistakes. She also worried about others. And when you messed up she wouldn’t look at you any differently. My freshman year she had a stroke that was so massive she had to be put on life support to stay with us. But we couldn’t leave her in this state of mind.

Maria Lost her Great Grandmother,Elida Alonzo(left) at the start of the year as well.

My grandmother and her siblings had tough decisions to make. The lingering question was whether waiting or let her go. They finally decided to remove the plug. When they let the life support go, she began to breath again. A miracle. But some miracles have some prices. She still couldn’t see and to add on to it she couldn’t move or hear.

She laid there with tubes of antibiotics under her pale fragile skin. These tubes gave her all the nutrients she needed while she was with us. The sight of this hurt my family. We all felt sad and shameful. She wasn’t living the life God wanted her to. She stayed crippled for two years, but that didn’t mean she didn’t stop being herself. She tried to make sure we all knew she was happy. She would occasionally squeeze our hands as we individually held hers to let everyone know she was still with us. All the way until the day God told her it was time to go she kept her beautiful smile.

After all the tragic events beginning the year, I’ve watched movies of loved ones dying and I would just cry crocodile tears. Although it was painful to lose my family members, I am stronger now and I want to help the rest of my family mourn over the two most magnificent people ever to be a part of my life. These two people were one in a million were gone. They brought happiness to each of my families and they were the meaning of the word ‘tolerance’. They tolerated so much bad in the world and for that I will remember their name forever. I believe God is challenging my families. He wanted to see how we could live without these wonderful people. Now, he wants to forge us into stronger people and I am ready to withstand the test of life.