A Very Important Appointment
I HAVE a very important appointment. Let me explain what led me, a young Spanish mother, to make that appointment.
Peace and harmony were lacking in my parents’ home. Our family was devastated when my younger brother died in a tragic accident at the age of four. Furthermore, my father’s bad habits made it hard for my mother to find much happiness in marriage. That difficulty, however, did not prevent her from inculcating moral values in my older brother and me.
In time, my brother married, and so did I. Soon thereafter, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually led to her death. But before dying, she bequeathed a treasure to us.
One of her acquaintances had spoken to her about the Scriptural hope of a resurrection, and my mother accepted the offer of a Bible study. During the final part of her life, the Bible’s message of hope gave her life meaning and helped her find happiness.
When we saw the positive effect of the Bible’s message on her, my brother and I also began studying God’s Word. I got baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses a month before the birth of my second child, a beautiful girl whom we named Lucía.
The day of my baptism was very important to me. One reason was that I now belonged to Jehovah, having dedicated myself to him to serve him forever. Another reason was that I could share my faith with my beloved son and daughter.
That second cause of my happiness was soon interrupted, though. When Lucía was four, she began to have severe stomach pains. After several tests, the radiologist explained that attached to her liver was a mass the size of an orange. The doctor explained that Lucía had a neuroblastoma, an aggressive, cancerous tumor. Thus began Lucía’s seven-year battle against cancer, which included lengthy hospital stays.
A Self-Sacrificing Spirit
During these difficult years, Lucía often uplifted my spirits with warm hugs and reassuring kisses. The way she coped with the disease also impressed the hospital staff. She was always eager to cooperate with the nurses, helping them to deliver yogurt, juice, and other items to hospitalized children in nearby wards. The nurses even gave Lucía a white coat and a lapel badge identifying her as a “nurse’s assistant.”
“Lucía touched my heart,” remembers one hospital worker. “She was an active, creative child, and she loved painting. She was expressive and mature, very mature.”
Lucía drew strength and balance from God’s Word. (Heb. 4:12) She was convinced that in the new world, “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore,” as God’s Word promises. (Rev. 21:4) Taking an interest in others, she used every occasion available to share the Bible’s message. Lucía’s firm hope in the resurrection helped her to maintain her composure and cheerfulness despite a grim prognosis. (Isa. 25:8) She kept that attitude until the day that the cancer took her life.
It was on that day that I made the very important appointment. Lucía could hardly open her eyes. Her father held one of her hands while I held the other. “Don’t worry, I won’t leave you,” I whispered. “Just breathe slowly. When you wake up, you will feel fine. You will not suffer pain again, and I will be with you.”
Now I have to keep that appointment. I know that the waiting period will not be easy. But I also know that if I have patient trust in Jehovah and maintain my integrity to him, I will be there when she returns in the resurrection.
Lucía’s courageous example, as well as the wonderful support of the congregation, made a deep impression on my husband, who did not share my faith. The day Lucía died, he told me that he had to sort out his thoughts. A few weeks later, he asked an elder in the congregation for a Bible study. Soon my husband began to attend all the meetings. With Jehovah’s help he stopped smoking, something he had not been able to do before.
The sorrow I feel because of the loss of Lucía has not completely disappeared, yet I am so grateful to Jehovah for the legacy Lucía left. My husband and I comfort each other with the wonderful hope of the resurrection, even imagining the time when we will see Lucía again—her expressive, round eyes and her cheeks dimpled with a smile.
My daughter’s tragic experience also affected one neighbor in particular. On a rainy Saturday morning, a lady whose son went to the same school that Lucía had attended came to our home. She had lost another son, then 11 years old, to the same disease. When she learned what had happened to Lucía, the lady found out where we lived and came to visit us. She wanted to know how I was coping with Lucía’s death and suggested that we form a self-help group to comfort other mothers in similar circumstances.
I explained that I had personally found true comfort in one of the Bible’s promises, one that is far superior to any that humans could ever offer. Her eyes lit up as I read to her the words of Jesus recorded at John 5:28, 29. She accepted a Bible study and soon began to feel “the peace of God that excels all thought.” (Phil. 4:7) Often when we study the Bible together, we pause and picture ourselves in the new world, receiving our loved ones back in the resurrection.
Yes, Lucía’s short life has left a lasting legacy. Her faith has helped to unite our family in serving God, and it has increased my determination likewise to remain firm in the faith. Without doubt, all of us who have lost loved ones who may be resurrected have a very important appointment.
[Picture on page 20]
Paradise as drawn by Lucía