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Seconds were flying unmercifully fast, when a well-trained Rescue team rushed along the hospital corridor with the terrifying sounds of a loud siren. The heart of a ten-year-old girl had stopped on the operating table and did not want to restart its pumping.
The Rescue team began its work. They were working so quickly that you could hardly see the hands motions of the life savers. Short commands of the doctor followed one after another, and they executed them with immediate responses. The heart of a child made 3-4 beats and stopped again. The fight was on. The orthopedic surgeon Dr. Branz stepped out of the operating room, being deeply disappointed. The clinical death was recorded. The surgical procedure interfered with the life of his patient, as well as his work, diminishing the chances for the 3-rd posterior and anterior spinal fusions to be completed. The fourth child of the experimental group failed to succeed.
The excessive bleeding started unexpectedly in 35 minutes from the beginning of the surgery, causing the heart failure and complete stop of the heart. Doctor Branz was not ready to fail after two successful operations. Both Tatania’s previous surgeries went smoothly and were successful. He went to talk to Tatania’s parents, who waited for their daughter in the Waiting room. Then he changed up his mind, thinking, “What can I say to them? The fight for her life is still on.”
When the emergency siren rang, John mentioned to his wife,
“There is something wrong with Tati.”
He pronounced that out loud and was sorry about it. His wife looked at him, and he saw horrible fear in her eyes. Tammy got up and exited the Waiting room. She was staying in the second-floor atrium of an impressive, recently built St. Christopher Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, looking helplessly at the people passing by.
John followed her. He wanted to calm Tammy down and gently touched her elbow, saying,
“I could be wrong…”
She sensed that he was right. From the very beginning, they were given one chance out of a hundred that their daughter could survive the very first surgery. She was good with two. Tammy thought, “What had happened there with my child? What had happened this time?” At that particular moment, she wanted to be near her daughter and cuddle her tiny body with multiple scars and today’s new cuts. Tammy wandered along the endless corridor in the direction of the surgical block. She bitterly cried and prayed in a low voice,
“Dear Lord! Save my child’s life, and she will serve You and those who You want her to serve. Bless the Rescue team with success in revival of Tati’s life. You know better than anybody else, how terribly my daughter suffered for so many years. Please, be merciful to my child and do not allow the death to win. Do not ignore the appeal of her mother, my Lord.”
The sobbing interrupted mother’s prayer. Tammy caught her breath, and in a minute, she continued with a new strength,
“Do not make Tati to pay for the sins of her ancestors. I know that 12 generations pay with different adversities, difficulties, misfortunes, dangers for mortal sins of the ancestors. In our family, we had the revolutionists and military officers. The revolutionists took lives of people for their utopic ideas of “economic equality” through abolition of personal properties under the dictatorship of the proletariat. My father participated in WWII. I ask You, my Lord, cleanse the sins of the ancestors from my children. Being a mother, I love my children so much, that I am ready to pay for my father’s and grandfather’s sins with my life but protect my son and daughter from adversities and health problems.”
Tammy stopped at the window and asked,
“Oh, my God, look at me, please. Please, listen to my request. I am Tati’s mother, who is ready to die for her child. Please do not take my sweetheart away from me. If even You do not keep in Your plans her walking, I agree to carry her in my arms, as I did it for so many years after the polio vaccination. Please, leave my angelic child with me.”
The tears were pouring on Tammy’s sweater. She did not pay any attention at them and did not try to wipe them up. Distressed mother could not notice anybody around. The personnel passed by, thinking that the crying woman talked on the phone, so she continued her communication with the Divinity without any interruption.
Tammy stopped at the doors to the surgical unit. The misfortunate mother pulled the door. It was locked. She could not see, where else she could go in order to be closer to her daughter. She leaned on the wall near the doors and stood quiet for a while. Tammy pronounced repetitively, “I believe in Your mercy, my Almighty Father. I believe in Your mercy, my dear Lord! I believe in Your merciful intervention, our Savior!”
Tammy heard the steps behind the doors. She quickly stepped aside before the automatic doors were opened. Tammy recognized Tati’s surgeon. He looked at Tammy and said,
“Don’t cry, please. She is okay now. They moved her to the recovery room. The Rescue team was successful to stabilize her heart condition.”
Tammy asked, “Doctor, what had happened to Tati?”
“Excessive bleeding. We’ll finish the surgery in a day or two,” Doctor Branz promised.
“Doctor, when can I see Tati?”
“After they hook her up to devices,” Doctor Branz explained and walked away.
Tammy whispered, “Glory to You, oh Lord! Accept the deepest gratitude of the annoying mother for the miracle that You blessed us with. You’ve heard my supplication. Who else could bless the Rescue team for redeeming my daughter’s life? I have my trust only in You, I lean only on You, and I praise only You, my Lord.”
By Angelic Tarasio
(Tikhon is my husband)
“Awakening of Faith Article Series”
It was not an easy day for Kimberly. Two clients in beauty salon did not keep their scheduled appointments. They were late. It made Kim’s work chaotic. During the rest of the day, she had to listen to the complains of others, as if being late was her fault. She felt sorry but could not change anything. She comprehended well that nowadays, people live in tight time-schedule.
Due to shift of the schedule, Kimberly was half an hour late for dinner with Jim in their favorite restaurant. He nearly finished his meal when she arrived. He was in a hurry to pick up his sons from sport club. As he explained to Kim with anger in his voice,
“The coach is not a babysitter to wait for parents to take the kids after the game.”
Then suddenly, he blamed her in all the faults that she could not even imagine. The worst was his conclusion,
“I cannot deal with inconsiderate woman any longer. You care only about yourself and your job with crazy clients. One year was enough. Good-bye.”
Jim flew out of the restaurant, leaving Kimberly in complete shock. She noticed a month ago that Jim was not himself. He did not look at her the way he used to look, and there was no more warmth and joy in his house. Instead, Kim watched persistent irritability that changed his soft voice and pleasant facial expression. Even his boys noticed changes in father’s behavior that affected his relationship with his sons and Kim. Jim explained his new attitude and easy-exploding behavior by stress and fear of losing his job at the company.
Kimberly tried to comfort Jim, calm him down, reminding his unemployment for three months a year ago, when they just met each other. On that time, she saw his difficulties of transitional moment after the divorce and loss of his job. Kim supported a single father and two kids with everything she could.
After Jim left to pick up his boys, Kimberly was sitting quiet for a while, trying to analyze and apprehend what had happened with Jim. She was deeply in her thoughts, when the waiter came up with the traditional question,
“What did you choose to order?”
Kimberly looked at him and said,
“Please, bring me a cup of hot green tea and a sandwich with roast beef and leafy stuff.”
She chewed her sandwich while paying zero attention at it. One question after another appeared in her mind, “Why did he decide to break up? What did I do wrong? What was inconsiderate in my attitude during the year together?” Kim did not finish her meal, paid and left. The tears were running out of her beautiful eyes when she left the restaurant. She tried to pull herself together, looking for excuse for her boyfriend’s behavior, “Everything will be alright. Jim is stressed with work. Wait a second! The separation can easily happen in any relationship, when another person is involved. He did not mention any changes in his private life. But who knows, what is the true reason of this sudden brake up. Tomorrow, he’ll wake up and call me with apologies, if there is no anybody new in his life. He’ll miss me and his boys will also miss me. Jim’s boys are always happy to see me with my gifts and foods. Poor kids, they definitely need a mother.”
Kimberly recollected, how Jim’s sons liked different fruits, and how last year, she purchased for them a beautiful fruit basket for Thanksgiving. The kids placed it in the middle of the dining table. Since then, Kim always filled it with the variety of fresh fruits and grapes. She considered fruits healthy sugar and nourishing snacks for boys.
Kimberly sat in the car with the thought, “The boys are good. They always thanked me for the foods I cooked for them. My daughter is already in collage, and I enjoy seeing Jim’s kids every other day.” Kim smiled to her thoughts about Jim’s sons and sensed that she missed them very much. “My separation with Jim will affect kid’s comfort,” Kim thought.
Kimberly turned the key to start the car. The car was dead. It was the last drop of disappointment, when Kim’s old Honda did not start near the restaurant. The woman put her head on the steering wheel and burst into tears, saying out loud,
“Why cannot I start my car? Why did it happen with my car today? What a day!”
Since last year, Kim thought about changing her Honda for a new vehicle. However, she did not save money for down payment. She helped Jim, keeping his family on her budget of a hair-stylist.
The devastated woman called her mechanic and asked him to tow Honda to the shop. Kim hid the key between the seats, as he suggested, took an umbrella, and got out of the car. She decided not to call Uber and walked home. It was drizzling, and Kim opened her umbrella that nobody could see her crying. She was in her memories, when she met Jim after his divorce.
On that time, Kim purchased and moved into her condo. Kim went to change the address on her driver’s license. There, in DMV, she met Jim, who moved with children out of his ex-wife’s house into a rental apartment. He lost his job a week before they met, and it made him depressed. It took three months to find another company that hired him, and for three months, Kim was the only financial support for Jim and his kids. Then his alimony for two sons came and a new job was found. As for Kim, they had nice relationship from the very first day.
It did not matter that the relationship was “costly” for Kim. She was compassionate to a single father and two boys. She did her best to restore joy and happiness in their lives. It seemed to her that all of them enjoyed her company. She did not consider that she waisted money, bringing something good into the house that made everybody happy. Frugalness was not a part of her personality.
Kimberly admitted with light disappointment for herself that Jim had never had money for the gifts or flowers for her, but once a week, all of them ate out. Frequently, it was Kim’s treat and she paid for their lunch or dinner. Nevertheless, all of them were sincerely happy which made Kim happy, as well.
Kim was in her memories and nearly stepped on a kitten that was standing in front of her, shaking from cold and rain. The cat was soaking wet and his eyes were nearly closed, covered with dirt. The can was so thin that Kim could see his ribs sticking out of a wet fur. She stopped and asked,
“Where are you from? Where is your home? Go home.”
The cat answered in a weak voice and did not move from his place. Kim walked around and continue walking. Her building was in a block. She looked back and noticed that the cat was following her. Kim went faster and looked back again. The cat was running. She sensed how difficult it was for a hungry and wet cat to run. Kim turned to the grocery store in the corner of the street. The cat sat down near the door of the supermarket. Kimberly went to buy some cheese and meats for her lunches and snacks. Then she went to get some cat foods, planning to open one can near the grocery story. When Kim walked out, she did not find her follower near the door. The cat disappeared. Kimberly continued walking. What was her surprise when she found the cat near the entrance door of her condominium building!
He was waiting for her to open the door. Kimberly thought, “Maybe, he ran away from home one day and could not get back? The entrance door is always locked.”
Kim opened the door, and the cat rushed in front of her. Kim’s condo was on the second floor, and she went to the elevator. She was waiting until the elevator came down, but the cat went to the stairs. When the elevator brought Kimberly to the floor, she noticed that the cat was laying on her doormat. Kim was surprised and asked the visitor,
“Why are you here? Go home.”
The cat answered her with long tirade in cat’s language. The intonation was begging. Kim looked at his dirty face and realized that she cannot leave him here. When she opened the door of her condo, he was the first to get in.
“Is this what you ask me about? You want to be my guest, don’t you? Oh, no. Your dirt would not match with my white furniture upholstery. Stay here.”
Kimberly went to the kitchen and the cat followed her, leaving the imprints of his wet paws on the floor. She put cheese and meat cuts in refrigerator and turned to her guest. He was looking at Kim, waiting for her decision. Kim went to her freshly made bathroom and the cat followed her. She picked him up and placed in a big sink with the words,
“If you want to stay for a night, I need to wash you with my shampoo and conditioner. Trust me, I use good products. You’ll be shiny after the bath. Tomorrow, I’ll take you to the Animal clinic, and the doctor will find what to do with you.”
The cat answered briefly in his language and sat quietly, waiting for Kim to proceed. Kim changed her cloths and stepped into the bathroom in her sport suit. She gave the cat an advice,
“Be patient, please. Don’t even think to scratch me. I need to wash, brush and dry you. If you look and behave nice, maybe, I’ll leave you with me after the doctor’s appointment.”
Kim smiled for the first time in this stressful day, watching how attentively the cat listened to her. She added,
“Well, your chance is in your paws. Let’s start.”
Kimberly made the water warm and her guest laid down in the water with pleasure. Kim smiled again. She was massaging the cat and the water became dirty in a minute. Kim changed the water several times before she added her shampoo to it and began to wash the cat. The visitor completely trusted her hands. He was patient even when she washed his face, eyes and head with shampoo and rinse the whole body.
After drying the cat with a towel, Kim could not recognize her guest. His color was bright carroty, and he had huge perfectly shaped white heart on his chest.
“My Lord!” Kim exclaimed. “You are so beautiful. Your heart has perfect shape. I must admit that in my life, I haven’t seen anything alike. My daughter will love it.”
Kimberly set the dryer flow on medium/warm and began drying the cat’s fur. Her guest became fluffier and looked even more beautiful. The washing procedure was over, and Kim put the cat down on the floor. The cat did not move, waiting for her. Then she went to the kitchen to make her light supper and open the can of food for her guest. Kim smiled, when they had their supper together, watching how the cat was pushing his can closer to her. Kim recalled that she did not buy the litter. She interrupted her meal and called her friend, who lived in the same building.
The question that Kimberly asked sounded very strange for her friend,
“Lily, can you share some litter with me?”
Her friend asked,
“What should I share with you?”
Kim tried to explain,
“We cannot stay a night without a litter. Usually, you have an extra bag for your cats. Tomorrow, I’ll bring the litter from Pet store.”
Lily was surprised to hear that Kim brought a homeless cat in her condo. She agreed to bring a bag of litter with the plastic platform for it. When the litter was delivered, the cat’s life was established.
Kimberly arranged the basket with soft towels for her guest to sleep. The moment she switched off the lamp, the cat jumped on Kim’s bed and laid near her feet. Kimberly did not push him away. She was dozing, when she recalled Jim and his braking up with her. The respond to the memory was calm, “That’s okay. We’ll survive. Wouldn’t we, kitty?” Kim raised her head, watching how her guest was slowly moving to her hand. He licked it twice, as if he said, “Thank you, Kim for everything. We’ll survive.” Two of them fell asleep right away after a long and stressful day.
The alarm awaked Kim at 6 a.m. She wanted to take her guest to Animal clinic for check- up. She thought, “The cat was homeless for a while, and it’s necessary to examine his condition.” The thought that somebody is looking for him was the second reason to take him to the hospital. Kimberly remembered that she does not have a car, and it disturbed her a lot. Her first client in salon was scheduled at 11 a.m. Usually, she starts at 9 or even 8:30 a.m. However, that morning was different. Kim made her bed and took shower. After fast breakfast, she packed the cat in her Lui Vuitton tote, and they rushed to the Animal clinic that was five minutes of drive but rather far to walk. Kim walked not often for long distances however, she was surprised that they reached the destination rather fast. At 7:40 a.m., the vets took the cat for check-up and promised to call Kim when the test results were ready.
Kim had enough time to get to salon. She called Uber and made a stop at Pet Store to buy cat foods, beautiful food station for food and water, and a litter house for her guest. She smiled to her thought looking at the litter house, “Certainly, he needs privacy.” The Uber driver bought some huge bags of dry food for his dogs and helped Kimberly to pack her purchases. Then he concluded,
“I must say that you are a good cat mother. How old is your cat?”
The answer of a good cat mother confused him.
“The cat is not mine. I don’t know the age of the cat. Yesterday, I picked him up, and today, I took him to the clinic for check-up.”
The driver asked a reasonable question,
“Why did you purchase all those things? Maybe, they will contact the owner, who is looking for the cat.”
He looked at Kimberly and understood that the idea of giving the cat back did not make her happy. She answered with sadness in her voice,
“Then I’ll return whatever I can return, and the rest I’ll give to my friend Lily, as a gift. Now she has two cats – a mother and a daughter.”
The driver smiled. He assisted her with bringing the purchases to the apartment and took her to salon. Kimberly was 15 minutes prior her first client’s appointment, however the lady had been already waiting for her. Kim was happy to start her work right away, because she expected an important phone call from the Animal hospital. While working, Kim caught herself thinking more about her guest with a big heart then of Jim and their brake up. “It’s strange, I do not have any regrets regarding Jim. It happened and happened. I wish the cat with big heart can stay with me. I’ll give him a name Murre and make a beautiful collar pendant with his name and my phone number. In case he runs away, people can find me easily.”
The day moved fast. At 3 p.m. her mechanic delivered the car. There was no time to talk to him. Kimberly asked just one question,
“It’s time to change my car, isn’t it?”
The mechanic responded with a smile, “Only for a better model. Nevertheless, this one is not bad at all. It required some maintenance.”
The doctor from the Animal clinic called Kimberly when she finished her workday and was cleaning the room. He pronounced distinctly,
“Mr. Kim is ready to go. He has a chip. It helped us to find his owners.”
Kim heard that somebody of the hospital personnel interrupted their conversation with a “quick” question to the doctor. Doctor put her “on hold”. Kim was disappointed, “My guest with incredible heart has his owners.”
Then doctor continued,
“He is a healthy cat. All the test results are good. His owners moved to North Carolina six months ago and left the cat outside with the hope that he’d find a new owner. The people like them just abandon the animals. The previous owners kept the cat for two months after purchasing and left him homeless outside.”
Kim interrupted with impatience in her voice,
“Doctor, can I be the owner? Can I adopt the cat?”
“Mr. Kim will be happy, I think.”
“Why Mr. Kim? I am Kim, doctor.”
“He is too, in accordance with the chip information. Isn’t it funny? When can you come?”
Kim answered with joy,
“In half an hour, doctor.”
“Very well. He waits for you. Let the front desk personnel know that you need to fill out papers for adoption. We’ll see you soon.”
Kim was grateful to hear this news,
“Thank you, doctor. I’ll be there ASAP.”
The happy woman sat in the car and praised the Lord for unusual gift. The cat completely removed the disappointment of her brake up with Jim. All Kim’s sadness evaporated, and instead, joy and happiness filled her heart. She was smiling the whole day while working, and even now, in the car, she caught herself smiling and praising God for unexpected joy that He sent to her at the right time. Kim thought, “The brake up could be a disaster for me. My guest healed me in one day. Thank God, I am not alone, but with a wonderful healer.”
The cat was sitting in a small cage on the top of the front desk counter, waiting for Kimberly. Kim noticed in a distance that a child was talking to him. The cat noticed Kimberly and called her loudly. He sounded, as if he complained that she brought and left him here for all the tests and exams. He raised up and the boy noticed the heart. He attracted his mother’s attention with loud exclamation, “The heart! Mommy, look at the heart! I want the cat with the big heart. Mom, I want the cat with the heart.” His mother was on the phone with paying zero attention to the cat’s heart.
Kim was scared that they can take her cat from her. She came up and asked for adoption papers. The cat stopped screaming. He sat down watching Kim. The boy could not attract cat’s attention any longer and went away. The cat was patiently waiting for Kim to release him from the cage. When the papers were signed, the doctor came up to Kim and Mr. Kim and said,
“I hope Mr. Kim, you’ll be luckier this time with your owner. I wish both Kims patience and mutual love. To my mind, two of you have big hearts.”
Kim thanked the doctor, collected the adoption papers with the copies of the test results, and went to buy a cat carrier and some more foods for her Mr. Kim. She experienced real joy. Kim put Mr. Kim in a beautiful carrier and took him in it to the cashier. The cat did not like staying there, but Kim talked to him, as if she could talk to the child, and the cat stopped meowing. Instead, he began purring so loudly that other customers paid attention and smiled.
When they arrived home, Mr. Kim checked his new restroom. Kim watched him and understood that he liked it. Then he went to the kitchen and found his fresh food prepared for him there. Two Kims had their late dinner at the same time. After dinner, they spent some time in the living room, watching TV. The cat sat on the sofa near Kim for a couple of minutes, and then he jumped on her lap with purring. Kim sensed his pleasant warmth and patted him. She recollected Jim’s braking up with her. It happened just yesterday, but Kim did not feel any regrets. She hugged the cat and said out loud,
“Mr. Kim, it was not me who saved you yesterday. It was you who saved me from unfair accusations, despair and loneliness. You are my knight with a big heart.” The cat mowed in response.
“To tell you the truth, I was so scared to hear that the Animal clinic found your previous owners. I believed that you were sent to me, as God’s gift, in one of the most challenging moments in my life. I love you, Kimmie, and I hope that you’ll be more loyal than any man.”
Since then, Kim recognized that Mr. Kim came in her life, as her best companion. They travel together in Kim’s new convertible Mercedes. They visit together Kim’s daughter in collage. They walk in the park, when the weather is nice. They like to do shopping together. The years passed, and they are happy together ever after.
By Angelic Tarasio
“Awakening of Faith Article Series”
The call from the hospital was alarming. Doctor tried to calm mother down, but the information he revealed worked in an opposite way.
“Mrs. Tarasio, your daughter was transferred to ICU half an hour ago in rather challenging condition.”
The scared mother tried to understand,
“My daughter is in critical condition, isn’t she? She was better yesterday. What had happened during the night?”
“Pneumonia inflamed the second lung, and high temperature did not want to slide down even with two strongest antibiotics. You know that her immune system is not strong after five spinal fusions.”
“Tati was never sick at the orthopedic hospital. Doctor, what should we do now? I am at work. It’s fifty miles away from home. I’ll be in Philadelphia not earlier than in an hour. Everything depends on traffic.”
The doctor answered,
“Mrs. Tarasio, we’ll see you then.”
Tammy was driving fast. On her way to the hospital, she tried to analyze Tati’s situation. Tati did not attend the regular school for three and a half years, while she stayed in the hospital in the group of children for experimental spinal fusion surgeries. She was isolated from infections and viruses that were normally present in kids surrounding.
“My Lord, You know that I have signed her for that experimental surgical treatment, as her last chance to survive. My nine-year-old girl had total stage four S-shape scoliosis with the life-threatening compression of the internal organs. You were merciful and helped her to undergo all the surgeries with miraculous result. Dr. Branz called my girl his ‘masterpiece’.”
Tammy tried not to cry, but it was difficult for a mother, who went with Tati through so many challenges, unexpectedly interrupted surgeries due to excessive bleeding and recorded clinical death on the operating table, or organ failure during the first hour after a long surgery.
“We were so happy, when at her 13 years of age, Tati returned to regular school and became one of the best students after her hospital and homebound studies. And now she is …”
Tammy picked up the words “dying from pneumonia” but did not want to pronounce it out loud. She shook her head and continued her usual conversation with the Lord, “It’s nonsense, she cannot die after everything she went through. Then why did You let her successfully survive all five spinal surgeries? My Lord, if you kept in your plans to take her from me, you could easily do it years ago. Don’t do it now. Please, not now! My girl just started to live her normal life.”
The tears were running, and Tammy could hardly see the edges of her lane. She pulled herself together with the thought,
“Tati waits for me. I should not get into the car crash just because of crying. She needs me, and I’ll be their ASAP.”
Then Tammy caught another thought,
“My Lord, it’s easy to say not to cry. My child again is on the sharp edge between life and death. Dear Father Almighty, keep Tati alive and send her Your miraculous healing through experienced doctors.”
Tammy comprehended well that after more than three years of isolation from viral infections, everything was opposite at school. The first serious contamination resulted in pneumonia.
The distressed mother found Tati in a very weak condition. Tati’s general physician, pulmonologist and infectious disease doctor started the treatment with high dosages of antibiotics and steroids. Tammy stayed with Tati days and nights. The temperature dropped from 102.8 to 101.2. However, in three days, the adverse reaction caused the interruption of conventional approach. The body could not accept antibiotics and steroids. The antibiotics caused allergy with irritable bowel reaction. The adverse effect could not be calmed down even with Benadryl injections. The steroids elevated all Tati’s liver enzymes to critical levels. The treatment was stopped. Tammy was frightened with the conclusion of the specialists,
“The untreated pneumonia could result in lung failure and death, nevertheless, in her case, we cannot proceed with our traditional protocol. Her intolerance of medications is so severe that the liver failure can happen any moment.”
“The condition is too advanced, and traditional medicine is helpless to bring any improvement. What should I do?”
The concerned mother paced the ICU room back and force, repeating the same question ‘What should I do?’. Every time, she stopped near the window for a minute, as if she was expecting there the answer. The answer came. She found it completely irrational but clear.
“Take Tati home out of the hospital, get into the van, and drive to Holy Trinity Monastery upstate New York.”
Tammy knew the monastery very well. For years, the family supported the monastery and convent that were in the same area in upstate New York. Usually, the family went for pilgrimage several times per year and stayed there for four-five days. The winter trips from Philadelphia through the Poconos mountains took about 8-9 hours of drive. They were always prepared for delays due to weather. One time, the unexpected snowfall stopped them for a day in Poconos.”
Tammy heard, how somebody insisted, “Tomorrow, you should arrive there by 5 a.m. and attend the Morning service for monks. Ask to let you in. Say the truth: the child is dying.”
Tammy rushed into the waiting room, where her husband and son were sitting and told them her decision to discharge Tati and go to the monastery. They were more than surprised. They tried to dissuade her,
“Mom, it’s dangerous to take Tati out of the hospital. I need to remind you another thing: it is cold and snowy there in February. Our cold here is nothing in comparison with Upstate.”
Tammy’s husband added,
“Driving straight in northern direction, with a sick child whose temperature does not go lower than 101.8, is very challenging. It is a big risk, Tammy. It’s a huge risk. Why did you decide to take Tati there?”
Tammy did not hear what Ronald and John said to her, and what arguments they found in order not to take a risk and go.
“You cannot think straight. I can understand - you are distressed. We are all distressed. Can you explain to me, how this dangerous trip will help Tati to overcome her pneumonia? God forbit, but we can lose the girl during the trip …”
Nobody could understand, why Tammy insisted in speedy discharge from the hospital and taking their girl in critical condition somewhere North. Tammy felt, as if somebody invisible persistently guided her for the emergency trip. She sensed that it was stronger than guidance. Somebody pushed her there.
During the entire drive to the Holy Trinity Monastery, everyone in the van heard how the unstoppable loud wheezing and cough were deteriorating with every hour of drive. By 5:05 a.m., the family was near the Monastery gate. Ronald rushed to the gate and touched it,
“It’s already opened. We can get in.”
He picked up his sister and moved to the monastery church. Tammy nocked on the locked door of the church. When the monk opened it, she asked to bring in the dying child. The monks realized that the family was looking for the Divine intervention. It was the last hope of the visitors, and the head of the monastery gave them his permission to be present at the monks’ service.
They put a chair for Tammy in the center of the church, and she kept Tati on her lap. The girl did not open her eyes, catching air through loud wheezing. She did not show any sign of comprehension. It looked, as if Tati was unconscious. Every monk stopped in front of Tati and put his hand on Tati’s head and asked God,
“Dear Lord, cleanse the child from illness and fill her with Your healing Holy Spirit in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
After the monks’ service, the family staid in church for another Morning service at 6 a.m. for the local parishioners and guests on pilgrimage. Tammy saw the compassionate looks of the people and could not stop crying. They prayed together with the priest asking for God’s blessing for Tati’s healing. The priest had to interrupt the service several times due to Tati’s extremely loud cough.
Monastery buildings were built at the beginning of the XX century. They did not have handicapped ramps, and it was always not easy to transport Tati in her wheelchair in and out of the church. Tammy concluded that bringing Tati there four-five times per year was their parental test of faith and dedication. After two Morning services, Ronald carried his sister down the multiple steps and sat her in wheelchair that John brought from their van. Tammy lit the candle for St. Seraphim and asked him to bring her request to the Lord. That morning was frosty and windy, and the family was in a hurry to take Tati to the van.
The family was near the gate, when a man in monk cloths approached them. He said,
“I’ve heard, how your girl was coughing. She needs it.”
The monk handed Tammy a cotton ball in a zipped plastic bag with the words,
“Mother, take this cotton ball that was saturated in sacred Myrrh from Myrrh-streaming sacred icon.”
Tammy stretched her arm, took the plastic bag from the monk and asked,
“Father, what should I do with it?”
The monk replied without any doubt,
“You’ll heal your daughter with this remedy.”
Tammy tried to smile, looking at her daughter. The girl opened her eyes for the first time that morning and observed the monk with interest.
Tammy asked the question,
“How can I heal, Father?”
The monk patiently instructed, paying zero attention at the frost and wind,
“When you are back to the Guest house, pray to the Lord in your own words and ask for His assistance to heal your daughter with sacred Myrrh. Then apply Myrrh in the sign of a cross on her chest and back before putting her in bed. Do it, mother. Tomorrow, your child will be healthy.”
On that day, Tammy was stressed and exhausted. She memorized monk’s instructions, but she forgot to ask the name of the sacred icon that Myrrh came from, as well as the monk’s name. She knew that there were many Myrrh weeping icons throughout the world. Twice in their life, the family was blessed to observe and worship the Myrrh weeping icons with astonishing aroma that was miraculously released from the icon. Some of the Myrrh weeping icons appeared as early as in the 9th century, and they continued to appear in the present century in different countries of the world.
When the family registered at the Monastery Guest house, Tammy tried to feed Tati. Due to severe congestion and difficulty breathing, the girl could not even drink the herbal tea that her mother prepared in order to ease the cough. In the Guest house, Tammy and Tati shared one room, while John and Ronald occupied the room across the corridor. Tammy saw that Tati could not catch breath and applied the Myrrh, as the Monk instructed. She put her daughter in bed. After applying the Myrrh, wheezing immediately disappeared, and there was no more loud breathing. It was quiet in the room. In fear that Tati had died, Tammy ran to her husband’s and son’s room and called them. They tried to listen to Tati’s breath, but there was no sound. Ronald shook his sister and awoke her just to confirm that she was still alive. Tati smiled and fell asleep immediately. The child slept the whole day and night.
The following morning, Tati woke up at four o’clock by strong thirst and hunger. Her temperature was gone. There were no signs of wheezing and cough. Tati’s recovery astonished everybody in the family, however, they didn’t understand the full miracle until later. Following the rules, the family did not eat their breakfast before the communion was taken at the church. The grateful family drove to the church for the Monks’ Morning service in order to praise the Lord. They wanted to express their gratitude to the person, who gave them the miraculous Myrrh, and to all the monks and parishioners who prayed for Tati’s healing.
Tati was sitting in her wheelchair, like nothing major had happened to her before. She was still pale, and her voice was very weak, but she did not remind people the girl who was dying there on the previous day. When the family arrived for the service, the priest was reading the prayers, and he kept looking at Tati because he remembered, how terribly she coughed and wheezed on the previous morning service.
Tammy went for confession. She considered that she sinned yesterday. When the monk handed her a sacred Myrrh, the first mother’s thought was a doubt, “Oh, yes. I’ll apply it, and my poor daughter will be healed. Is it possible?” Tammy asked God to forgive her doubt. The priest who confessed her, asked the Lord for forgiveness of Tammy’s sin. However, it seemed that he would like to see Tati again in order to believe that the miraculous healing materialized, and the stressed mother was not affected in a wrong way.
On that morning, the family could not find the monk who gave the sacred Myrrh to them and assured that it would heal Tati. They also looked through the Monastery grounds in order to thank him. They decided to ask the group of monks about him and began to describe for them the appearance of a compassionate savior. Tammy was the first with her description of a rather tall and stout monk with long beard. She said that he was in his late thirties.
Ronald interrupted his mother with a question,
“Mom, who are you talking about? He was an old hunchback monk, who could barely come down from the steps.”
John interrupted Ronald with his vision of a monk,
“Ronald, he was a skinny young seminarist with funny thin red beard.”
The whole family saw the compassionate monk at the same time. Nevertheless, he appeared to each of them in a very different form.
Tammy looked at Tati and said,
“My dear, you opened your eyes the first time yesterday, when the monk came up to us. What did you see? You had a high temperature, but all four of us could not be delusional at the same time.”
Tati answered with her beautiful smile,
“To me, he appeared as a young thin man, with long black hair and no beard at all.”
Father Gregory looked at the family and exclaimed,
“You were saved by the Angel, who presented himself differently to each of you! Glory to Thee, oh Lord! Glory to Thee!”
Only at that time, Tati’s family realized that God blessed them with a true miracle. He saved their girl, who later became a psychotherapist with well-known international practice. She has never forgotten, how the Angel saved her life. That angelic rescue helped Tati to realize that her life mission was significant for God. It prompted her, a paralyzed person, to believe in God given potential and compassionate work towards success that He blessed her with.
Glory to You, Oh Lord! Glory to You!
By Angelic Tarasio
(I am Tammy in this true story),
“Awakening of Faith Article Series”
It was May 22 of 1967. I turned ten a few days ago. My mother decided to visit a Holy spring of St. Vasilisk, one of the Christian martyrs in Abkhazia. It was a year, when our mother experienced frequent and severe heart pains, and I was also hospitalized several times due to different reasons. An old nun from a tiny Ukrainian town Korets suggested my mother to go to the Holy spring for ablution in its miraculous water and praying to St. Vasilisk. She assured her with the words, “St. Vasilisk heals everyone, who believes in God. You are strong in faith, Maria. Go there, pray to St. Vasilisk, and he will help you and Tikhon. It’s better to be there during his memorial week.”
Then the nun from Korets narrated us the story of St. Vasilisk. I listened to it, as I could listen to a fairy tale about a strong and brave hero, but not as a brilliant example of faith. St. Vasilisk was executed in 308. His sufferings were described by St. Evsigny, the witness of Vasilisk’s torments and execution.
St. Vasilisk and his family were Christians, but the emperor Maksimian Galeriya (305-311) was pagan. He persecuted the Christianity and executed many Christians, including Vasilisk’s uncle and brothers. Vasilisk was imprisoned in town of Komany. One night, he saw a dream. In that dream the Lord visited him in prison and warned that Vasilisk would be executed soon. When Vasilisk woke up early in the morning, he asked the guards to let him go home and see his family for the last time. They trusted the decent person. Vasilisk explained to his family that they saw him for the last time, and his only request was to preserve their faith in Jesus Christ.
The local authority found out that Vasilisk went home and became furious. He punished the guards and sent a military detachment to return Vasilisk to the prison. The military attachment met Vasilisk on his way back. They put him in heavy irons, and on his bare feet, they put copper boots with sharp nails inwards in the soles. Vasilisk walked slowly without complains. His blood was dripping all the way along the road. When the military men became tired and hungry, they stopped in one of the villages in the house of a woman Trojana. She served them some food. They kept Vasilisk outside in the hot sun, chained to a dry tree. Vasilisk prayed all the time, and suddenly, he heard the voice of the Lord, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” The Lord proved His presence with miraculous signs. There was the earthquake, and a strong flow of cold water came out from the depth of the earth through a huge stone.
The ruler wanted Vasilisk to sacrifice for pagans’ idols, but Vasilisk refused, saying, “Every moment I bring my sacrificing to the Lord with praising Him in my prayers.” Then they forced him to step into the pagan temple. The moment he entered the temple, the Lord sent the fire from the sky and burned the temple. The local authority became infuriated and ordered to cut off the head of a stubborn prisoner. They threw his body into the river, but people found it and buried on the field. Later, the church was built on the place where people buried the martyr, and his relics were removed to the church.
We went for a long pilgrimage to Abkhazia. It was the last part of our journey. At 5 a.m. a small bus left Sukhumi bus station. Being stuffed with passengers, it moved slowly into the Caucuses mountains. At every stop, I had a strong desire to get out and stretch my legs. My younger five-year-old sister was lucky, because she fell asleep at the time of departure. Our rear seat on the bus did not allow me to see the full panorama of the sunrise in Caucuses. In an hour or so the driver stopped and announced with a loud voice,
“Here is the spring of St. Vasilisk. Somebody wanted me to make a stop here.”
My mother thanked him and we exited the bus. The day promised to be beautiful. I enjoyed fresh and chilly air at the magnificent moment of sunrise. I must say that the nature in the Caucasus Mountains is special. I was ten years old, and my senses were opened to beauty, pureness and aromas, unknown before.
Our mother looked around, and I realized that she did not know, where to go. There was rather steep, dirt road down to the meadow. For a while, we stood at the curb of the road, waiting for somebody, who could show us the path to the Holy place. Nobody appeared and our mother decided to go down. It took about half an hour to reach a tiny pond there. There were four groups of people near the pond. They belonged to different nationalities and were dressed in their ethnic clothing.
All of us arrived to the Holy Spring on the day when St. Martyr Vasilisk was executed. All of us prayed to him in different languages. The group of monks from the neighbor monastery was the largest one. When we reached the Holy spring, I saw the true picture that was described by the nun. It was true, a strong flow of Holy spring was coming out of a huge stone, nourishing a shallow pond. I knew that we arrived there to pray, cleansing through ablution in the water of the Holy spring and ask St. Vasilisk for improvement of health and welfare.
My sister and I took off our shoes and stepped in cold water of the pond that reached my knees. In a couple of minutes we got used to its chilly temperature and began to pray. My sister was the first who noticed that something strange was going on at the bottom of the pond. She pointed with her finger, attracting my attention, “Tikhon, look! Open your eyes and look here!” Then she turned to our mother, who stayed near the pond and shouted, “Mama, look what we have here!”
Her excitement brought the attention of other people around. They came closer and everyone was stunned for a moment, then kneeled and thanked Lord for the miracle they witnessed with their own eyes.
On the bottom of the pond, there was a big icon of Holy Mary with baby Jesus, and we were watching it at the moment of its creation. It looked like it was made of bright and colorful mosaic. Every detail of the icon pronounced so real that being ten years of age, I couldn’t doubt in its genuineness. My sister and I tried to pick up the beautiful stones from the bottom of the pond, but there was nothing in the hands except sand. Nobody moved away and in some time, we noticed that some changes were taking place in the middle of the icon. Invisible magician was creating something else. All of us saw it simultaneously – an ancient chariot was coming slowly. Mother of God with baby Jesus took the chariot and Jesus waved with his hand. I thought He blessed me personally, but everyone saw it, as well. I kneeled in water of the Holy spring and thanked Him and St. Vasilisk from the bottom of my heart.
The image of the icon in the pond was staying to the dusk. I was surprised how fast the people learned about that miracle. In the second half of the day, more than five hundred people were feasting all together around the Holy spring. We were praying, praising God and celebrating a miracle that God blessed us with. Mutual joy filled our hearts, and nobody paid attention at the differences in nationalities and religions. All of us were God’s children, as the priests, mullahs and ministers of other confessions preached. People were friendly to each other, and everyone wanted to meet my sister, in order she could tell them about the beginning of the miracle.
Late at night, the rain started, and the water in the pond turned white, like milk. In the morning of the next day, the buses brought more people and the reporters with cameras arrived. However, the rain cleared the center part of the picture with chariot, leaving here and there some colorful pieces of mosaic. We stayed at the Holy Spring of St. Martyr Vasilisk for three days, praising the Divinity and rejoicing with people. Since then, I was blessed with devoted faith in Divinity. Could it be different?
By Angelic Tarasio
(Tikhon is my husband)
“Awakening of Faith Article Series”
The 8-hour surgery was over. The surgical team received the order to transfer Tatania, a twelve-year-old patient, from the Recovery room to the Intensive Care Unit. The mother of the child was chasing the team on their way to ICU. She touched the icy-cold hand of her daughter and called her name. Tati opened her eyes and tried to smile, but she was not successful with it.
Tammy asked the nurses, “How was she today? No big ‘surprises’?”
“She was actually very good. Doctor Branz was able to do everything that he planned for today.”
“May I come in together with you?” Tammy asked.
“Not now. You know, they need to attach her to different tubes, pipes and machines,” the surgical nurse explained with a smile
Tammy thanked them and went back to the Waiting room with good news to her husband, son and the priest of the Catholic school, where Tammy was teaching. After the fiasco during the previous surgery with recording of Tati’s clinical death, Father Caravan willingly decided to support the family during the surgery. Tammy felt sorry that Monsignor had to spend the whole day with them in the waiting area. He arrived at 6 a.m. together with parents. Everyone wanted to see a girl before the anesthesia was injected. Monsignor Caravan knew that the family brought the child into the United States for surgical treatment. They did not have family or friends in the country, who could support them at a difficult moment. He saw that sympathy of good Samaritan was highly appreciated.
Monsignor Caravan was the first, who was allowed to visit Tati in ICU after the surgery. The child recognized the morning visitor and tried to thank him, but a thick tube from the breathing machine prevented any sound. After short visits of Tati’s brother and father, the doctor in ICU allowed Tammy to stay longer with her daughter. The child and her mother had their special communication after the surgeries: Tammy gave her finger to Tati, and when the child needed something, she pressed mother’s finger. Mother tried to guess what Tati needed and asked the questions. When it was “yes”, Tati answered with blinking of the eyes. Tammie was good with figuring out what her daughter needed.
On that day, Tammy refused to go home. Usually, she did not leave Tati for 48 hours after surgeries, when the pain was unbearable. The personnel of ICU knew well Tati’s mother after the previous surgeries and allowed her to sit near her child’s bed. The evening was not easy for the girl. She was in severe pain, and murphy did not work for a three-hour interval. The low blood pressure did not allow to increase the dosage of the pain killer. Tati was moaning nearly all the time, pressing mom’s finger and wetting the pillow with tears. Tammy was standing at Tati’s bed, trying to come down the child with the gentle stroking of her short hair. She did not cry in front of her daughter. She preferred to support her sweetheart with gentle words, that only loving mother can find in that situation.
She was the first who noticed that her daughter’s skinny body began transforming into a balloon shape. It started from the face, arms and legs. Then the abdomen was distended. It was ballooned. Tati stopped moaning and pressing mother’s finger. Something dangerous was going on with the girl. When Tammy touched Tati’s face, the child did not open her eyes. The machines began to scream. Tammy rushed to the nursing station. In a distance, she saw, how the doctor and two nurses ran to her child. Tammy returned to Tati’s bed. Doctor ordered,
“Take mother away!”
“Please, doctor, let me stay.”
Two male nurses pushed Tammy out of ICU with polite words,
“Sorry, but you are there on doctors’ way. They need room to work. Wait here. We let you know, when you can come in.”
Tammy realized that something life-threatening happened again to her child. Last time, it was bleeding and heart failure right on the operating table. And now again… One thought stocked in mother’s mind, “Dear Lord, what is it now? What is killing my girl? Please be merciful.”
Tammy did not even comprehend that just knowing, that it was kidney failure could not resolve the fatal problem. One of the nurses left the ICU and ran somewhere along the corridor. Tammy ran after her. Mother asked on their run, “What happened to Tati? What is wrong with my girl?”
The nurse answered hurriedly, “I don’t know”, and in a split of a second, she disappeared behind the door of another room. In a moment, she rushed out with two doctors. They ran back to ICU. Tammy wanted to follow them, however her angel stopped her. The angel wanted her to pray, instead of chasing the life savers. Tammy began praying and immediately choked with sobbing. She clearly sensed, how the dark force tried to interfere with her invoking. The dark force elevated her panic and anxiety. That force commanded to her, “Stop calling upon God. Can’t you see that nobody can rescue your girl. She is gone and you witnessed that. It’s too late. You have to except that she is not destined…”
Tammy stood frozen for a minute. The last words of the darkness stuck in her mind. Tammy repetitively heard them, “She is not destined… She is not destined…” Then she did exactly what her mother-in-law taught her to do in the situations, when the dark evil force approached to a distressed person – she fought back her tears, smiled and begged for God’s intervention. She walked slowly toward the ICU and prayed out loud,
“Dear Almighty Father, You are the only one who makes a decision at this particular moment for my daughter Tatania to live or die. I trust You. She is my love, life and happiness. Do not take my sweet and wise child away from me. Keep us together, help both of us to survive and grow. I swear to You that my daughter and I will work hard, connecting the souls of the lost people with You. We’ll serve the Divinity, and, with Your Devine blessing, we’ll help the lost people to fight darkness and succeed in the name of the Lord, daily praising Your Holy Name. Amen.”
Tammy looked up at the painting, she was passing by and froze there. She knew the painting very well. It was a clown with a white face, funny red nose, and black oversized tuxedo. He carried a small girl on his left arm, and the girl was holding her bear. On that day, Tammy saw something different. She stopped, watching the details of the artwork in some distance. The distressed mother thought that tears affected her vision and came closer. It was a huge icon of Savior, who was looking judgmentally at crying mother.
She shuddered of revelation and exclaimed,
“My God, forgive me. I understood, what You mean: Tati is not mine. She is Your child, as all of us. Take her, if You decide that she has suffered too much, and it’s her time to go Home to You. Take her now, and please, stop her agony. My Lord, please forgive my selfishness and mistrust. I did my best to be a good mother. We’ve brought her here to save her life. My Lord, I thought that it was my responsibility to do everything possible in order to prevent the death of the child. I was wrong. You are the One, who extended her life after the polio vaccination. The doctors predicted for her to live from three to six months. She is 12 years old, since May.”
Tammy stopped for a moment to catch a breath. The endless tears were pouring. She continued to pray with closed eyes,
“My God, You know, how I appealed to You every single day with the same requests for Your miraculous intervention, for Devine assistance in my daughter’s recovery after each life-threatening attacks of Tati’s illness. Certainly, I begged You for not taking my sweetheart from me. She was in endless unbearable pain, but selfish mother could not imagine losing her. Forgive me, my Lord. I do not want my child to suffer because of my selfish love. I let her go Home to her Divine Father.”
At that very moment Tammy heard that somebody called her, announcing,
“Mrs. Tarasio, Your girl is better now. Come and see her.”
“Dear Savior, I am grateful to You for merciful resolution of one more life-threatening situation. Thank You, Lord for letting me pass Your test of my trust in You and Your Mercy.”
She looked at the painting again and smiled. The funny clown and the girl were smiling to her.
“Glory to Thee, O Lord for Your teaching,” Tammy whispered and rushed to see dearly loved God’s child.
By Angelic Tarasio
(I am Tammy in this true story),
“Awakening of Faith Story Series”