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Blue Skies

In Gratitude to Naile Fiora

Breathe in Blessings came to life out of pure love and remembrance of my beloved mother-in-law, Naile Fiora, aka "Ije". Ije was one of the sweetest, kindest and innocent souls that have walked this Earth. You could look into the eyes of this woman and see the goodness of her heart and the purity of her soul.

I loved watching her drink espresso at the kitchen table. She enjoyed every sip as she looked out the window admiring the sky and watching the birds chirp and prance along our deck. She reminds me often to just slow down and take it all in. 

Ije gave the best hugs and kisses.  When she kissed you she would breathe you in almost as if she was breathing life into herself. She was truly a piece of Heaven on Earth.

In January 2013, our Ije was diagnosed with the most aggressive forms of brain cancer, a grade IV Glioblastoma. I remember sitting with my husband, Ilir and my in-laws in the doctor's office. It was a week prior that they came from Albania where doctors there told her she had a brain tumor. Before this doctor's appointment I did my research as to the types of brain tumors she could possibly have.  I was really hoping for the best. The doctor came in to discuss the scans and he informed us that she had a grade IV Glioblastoma. My heart sank as I looked at my husband who was looking at me for clarification as to what this diagnosis actually meant. Then I looked over at my in-laws, I could see the innocence and the fear of the unknown in their eyes.  Tears filled my eyes as I looked at my husband, Ilir, and I shook my head to signal to him that it wasn’t good. I felt even more horrible that he had to gently translate as best he could this devastating news to his parents.

Shortly after receiving Ije’s diagnosis, we were getting ready for another doctor’s appointment. As I was blow drying Ije’s hair so many thoughts were going through my mind. The thought that this woman has one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer didn’t register with me. She was so young and had so much more life to live. I simply wanted more time with her. I felt so robbed of time especially since my son, Massimo was only 2 ½ years old at the time. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.  After I finished with her hair, I felt inclined to hover my hands over the top of her head.  So I did.  I remember wishing at that moment that I had some magical powers to remove that tumor.  Little did I know that flash forward 2 years later that I would learn how “laying on hands” would be so healing.

The next 9 ½ months, we took a holistic (mind, body, spirit) approach and did everything we possibly could to help heal our beloved mother whom we loved and respected all while trying to balance work and taking care of Massimo.

These months provided a period of growth. These months we experienced challenges on an individual basis and within our marriage. It was a test of our faith and trust in God’s greater plan for Ije’s journey. Rawness of emotions: frustration, anger, sadness, heartbreak that brought us to our knees, appreciation, connection, gratitude, compassion, empathy and love in its purest form. The importance of our breath: moments that took our breath away and breath to help ease into the intensity of emotions that we were experiencing.

The biggest challenge was acceptance.  With every healing modality that was used we put so much love, effort and positive energy into helping heal Ije.  We were hoping for a miracle.  As the months passed, Ije’s health declined despite all our efforts, hard work and determination.  We had to accept that she was not going to get better and to slowly prepare for the inevitable.

Despite these unfortunate circumstances, my husband and I experienced such moments of love. One moment that was truly special to see was the love and special bond of a mother and son. My heart broke and at the same time was so very happy to see all the hard work, love, and determination that Ilir had in helping to heal his mom. He amazed me with his love, respect and dignity for his mom. He was her legs when she couldn’t walk. One evening, he picked her up and carried her upstairs to be bathed. He placed her gently on the shower chair and washed her ever so gently. I came in and witnessed this act of love. I can understand how a daughter would help their mother but to see a son, there are no words. Ije looked at her son was such appreciation and gratitude. Heaven was placed in our home at that exact moment. Compassion, kindness, and love in its purest form was amongst us. Without hesitation, Ilir handed me a towel. I gently dried her off and dressed her. As I dried her hair, we didn’t say a word. Tears rolled down my cheeks as it was such an honor and joy to not only help care for my mother-in-law in that exact moment but to also be there for my husband. I was reminded of our wedding vows and in this exact moment I was happy to honor our sacred vows and carry them out with the utmost grace and respect.

My husband never gave up. He did everything in his power to help his mom until she took her last breath on October 26, 2013. Ije gave Ilir a very special gift; Ije showed him the amazing man he had become.

In 2014, we welcomed our second son, Antonio.  With each passing year how I wish she could physically be present in creating memories with us.  There is no doubt that she is present spiritually and a guardian angel to my boys.

Even though at times I feel robbed of our time together, the last months of her life was a true gift.  What I experienced in 9 ½ months, some daughter-in-laws don’t get to experience in a lifetime. There were so many times that Ije and I looked into each other’s eyes and no words were needed.  Pure love, compassion, empathy and gratitude were radiating from each other. These emotions were our communication. Communication on a soul level. I am so blessed that I was able to feel it all.

Ije opened up our hearts to a deeper level and understanding of love. The greatest gift in life is to love and be loved.

Naile Fiora, our Ije, gifted us with the celebration of life, feeling it all and appreciation of each magical moment.

To Breathe in Life

To Breathe In Blessings

In gratitude,

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