Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Angel - A Dedication to Carmen

I met Carmen in 2008 when I managed the office services operations for a law firm through the company I worked for at the time. Carmen was a nice gal in her 30's with a young daughter under the age of 5. Carmen knew her stuff at the site as she had worked there years ago but was new to my company. She was a great receptionist, always always happy and smiling, even when things were stressful. She looked out for the team in many ways and kept our operations afloat. I could always count on her as a worker and a friend. A year into our relationship Carmen was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she did not let this get her down. She continued to come to work through the agressive treatment and kept her spirits up throughout the entire process. Eventually she was put on leave from work. We missed her at the office. She had big shoes to fill and was irreplacable. She did keep in touch while away and eventually she returned during her remission. However, months later the cancer had returned but to new areas spread throughout her body. She again, continued to move forward with treatment and continued to work as long as she was able to. This time around it was even more of physical and emotional roller coaster ride. However, Carmen rose above it and was positive and uplifting. She helped everyone else out of their slumps. She was like that, always thinking of others even though her situation was much worse. She left work again on leave. At this time I covered the reception desk until her return, which she was never able to do. She was an inspiration to all. I couldn't tell you how many vendors I spoke to in person and over the phone knew Carmen and loved her. ALL of them told me how much joy she brought them and how strong and inspiring she is.

Everytime I spoke to her, even during the darkest hours, she was positive about her life and situation. She kept saying that cancer did not own her and she would live life to the fullest. It didn't stop her. She was an amazing mother, daughter, sister, and friend and kept things on the up and up for her daughter at every hour of the day. I cannot say this about most people but she was THE most positive person I have ever known. At times people say that to me, but they really need to meet her to know where the mark is. No matter how grim her situation she kept positive and kept it together. An inspiration to so much more than that.

Before I moved to Utah in October I got to see her again. She was frail and unable to walk. But her smile was larger than life. I was a new Mom and she shared wonderful advice and stories about being a Mom. She was so proud of her own daughter and how smart, beautiful, and strong she is. The saying about how the apple does not fall far from the tree is very true, especially in this case. I am sure her daughter will grow up to be an amazing woman because she had Carmen for a Mother.

On Christmas morning her brother, Manny, called me to let me know that Carmen had passed. He told me that she asked him to call me to thank me for all the love and support that myself and the company I worked for provided for her. Even in her final hours she thought not of herself but of others. She asked everyone to not cry for her but to celebrate her life. I feel like she did more for me than I have ever done for her. She inspired me to love, give thanks, laugh, find joy in every part of the journey, and to be the best Mom ever. Despite our circumstances we can still have joy. Cancer did not own Carmen, even though she passed from cancer she still ruled the day as she taught all to rise above things. She lived what she taught with her constant love and joy. She really was the wind beneath our wings.

I will never forget her and how she has touched me. I know the world will never be the same. I know I will never be same. I know I am not alone in saying I am a better person for having known Carmen. A mutual friend of ours said that Carmen is very special as God only takes the best of us on Christmas and that she would have wanted to leave us on a day we would be celebrating instead of mourning. I will miss her very much. I know that families are forever. I know that her work of loving and inspiring will continue in the heavens and that she will always be watching over her loved ones. Carmen will be our Christmas angel.

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