Fernando holding up a food gift card

I thought that I wouldn’t be posting anymore this week since our summer retreat begins tomorrow. Take a small step back from the usual mishigas of life, appreciate morning sitting, afternoon sitting, evening sitting. Feel floor under my feet (I sit in a chair), meditate with the birds (they do theirs in song).

But last night Jimena got in touch with me to tell me that one of our friends, Hilaria, was in the hospital because of seizures. I’ve always admired Hilaria, with her red hair worn in a big floppy bun on top of her head and lots of freckles on her face. I met her last summer when Tim and I brought her some furniture for the apartment she had to rent quickly when she was forced to leave after squeezing with other families for a while.

She’s from the Dominican Republic and deaf from birth. She was married and raising three sons, but when her husband started abusing her she managed to get across the border with all three sons (now 15, 13, and 8) and came here ,where she has a sister. She works in a farm to support her boys, and when she landed in the hospital her first concern was what will happen to the rent, the phone bill, food for the boys, etc.

Jimena wrote me last night: “Hi Eve, do you think we could help Hilaria instead of  doing the [food] cards because she is at hospital with seizures?”

Jimena came today with her husband, Byron, to give an update and also for coffee. She loves my coffee. They’d gone to visit Hilaria and the seizures don’t stop for long.  When she walks to the bathroom or even sits on the toilet, she loses control of her body and begins to flail. They are still doing tests but so far have been unable to diagnose what is causing the seizures (Hilaria has no history of seizures) and are therefore considering sending her to one of the Boston hospitals.

I know the hospital she’s in right now, Bernie spent a long time there when he had his stroke, they took excellent care of him. In Hilaria’s case there are more challenges. She is completely deaf but can lipread. They bring in a Spanish-speaking translator, Jimena explained, but regular translators don’t know how to work with her. They talk quickly without making sure she could see their lips and give lots of information instead of slowing down.

“She needs information in small chunks because it takes her much more time to understand what they’re saying,” Jimena said. “She keeps on nodding as if she understands, but she really doesn’t. She can’t go home because she has no one to take care of her there, they need to get to the bottom of these seizures so she must stay in the hospital and get good care. But because she can’t follow what they’re saying, she says yes to everything.”

I gave Jimena some cash I already had, but we’ll need more for rent, utilities, food, etc. Jimena will help with the boys. It’s that kind of community here; they may be illegal, but they are there for each other. Money isn’t everything, but it can really help.

If you, too, can help this lovely, always smiling, deaf mother at this time of deep trouble, please do so by following the link below Support Immigrant Families. Many, many thanks.

You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.