Faith is a strong belief and trust in someone or something. This belief is not justified by scientific theories, but this does not mean it doesn't exist. Faith is the assurance of things we hope for, but we have not received yet. It doesn't have to be religious, anyone can have faith in anything. It can be brought up through life experiences. I was raised in a very Italian Catholic family, and still practice Catholicism today, whether it is attending weekly mass, or praying before meals. As a child, I never realized the significance of praying, or going to church. I didn’t know what to think of it.
It wasn’t until this year, that I fully believed in the idea of faith and how powerful it can be. On September 8th, my immigrant grandmother from Italy suddenly suffered from a fatal illness that would take her from our world in little time. She was given just two days to live by the doctors, as a family, the decision was made to take her home from the hospital and enjoy our last moments with her for as long as we could. Everyone in the family, including her four children and 11 grandchildren, took time off from work and school to stay by her side. At first, the energy of the room was very low, and the sound of sniffles filled the house. I recall walking through the different rooms, each filled with those who loved her. The smell of my grandmother’s homemade lasagna, which she taught her children to make, wafted from the kitchen all day. We stayed at her house, singing her favorite Italian songs and giving her the love she needed and deserved.
At night, we would leave, while some family members would stay overnight watching over her. Laying in bed, I thought of all the greatest memories I had of Nonna, and asking for the chance to see her again. The next day, the whole family would return, and the entire day would repeat.
On the day she was supposed to die, she didn’t. Every night, I left her house saying goodbye to her as if it was the last time, but every morning we would celebrate another day as a family. For the entire day, the sounds of great memories being relived brought smiles to everyone’s faces, including Nonna.
Everyday, each room filled with more and more family coming to pay their respects. Cousins I had not seen in years arrived, and the energy of her house increased. The smell of homemade tomato sauce and chicken cutlets frying in olive oil spread through her house. The feeling of love between each person could be felt with every nerve in my body, especially my heart. Seeing my Nonna smiling on her deathbed brought joy to all who could see it. That night, the grandchildren said goodbye to her again. Nonna had told us of her late father, flooding her thoughts the entire day. I unknowingly got to say goodbye to her for the last time. Nonna died peacefully in her sleep, on the same day her father did many years before. She well outlasted any of the doctors’ predictions, living on just water and medication for many days.
Aside from the grief of her passing, I realized this wasn’t a coincidence, but a miracle. Nonna knew exactly what she was doing, hanging in there just a couple more days to unite a strong-bonded Italian family.
Faith increases gradually over time. It builds up with the soul and remains with the soul forever. Faith heals the mind and heart, and cools down any fire-burning desire. Tonight, before going to bed, think of what you're grateful for because these days, we cannot take anything for
granted. Think of your family and friends, and how much they mean to you. Because faith is miraculous. Faith is Love.