I Want to Keep My Family Forever!

Born and raised in an Idyllic isle in the Mediterranean, the sisters‘ lives took diametrically opposed routes once they hit young adulthood. The younger one remained behind and raised a beautiful family in the old country.

The older one emigrated to the United States, got married, and endured years of harsh spousal abuse, adultery, and many trials after her divorce as a single mom.

Then, she got very sick and came to see me. But, she did not come alone. Her sister had traveled far to be with her once she learned of the potentially lethal diagnosis.

Since then, she has come to every visit, has committed to remain with her sister for as long as she needs her, listens carefully to everyone of my recommendations, and promises to make sure they are followed closely. “I left behind a husband and children,” she said when asked, “but they will be OK. She is the one who needs me now.”

Recently, as I reentered the examining room for further treatment, I found the sisters embracing. The older sister had responded as expected to the acupuncture treatment, and some emotions were elicited. As she had started to cry, her sister had stood up and carefully embraced her.

I witnessed that day the most tender embrace between two sisters who love each other, and I myself was moved.

Leo Tolstoy said, “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” With great respect for Tolstoy, I wish regardless of potential simplicity, boredom and plainness for more happy families, for I believe loving families are amazing. When love is the driving force in our homes, every member of the family feels protected, strengthened, cared for and secure.

As a young physician during my training many years ago, I noticed how gravely ill patients who came to the hospital accompanied by family members who never left its side seemed to pull through, live longer, or even survive the most dire of diagnoses. In contrast, those patients who were brought by an ambulance from a nursing home, all alone, were sad, depressed and hopeless. A sure casualty of whatever ailed them.

I believe in a wonderful plan of happiness which calls for eternal families. In this plan, designed by God Himself, the same associations we have here as husbands and wives, parents and children, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, grandparents and grandchildren can be ours forever. I believe families can be sealed for time and all eternity. I believe Elijah, the old testament prophet, has come to restore those keys now so we can reclaim our families and keep them forever.

This concept was precisely what drew me the most towards the gospel as taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For as long as I can remember, the thought of separation by death from those I love was something I could not accept. Why would God ask of me to “love my neighbor,” of which no one is more important than my own family, in this life, only to take them from me in the next? “Till Death Do You Par,” did not make sense to me then, nor it makes sense now.

Healthy happy families can be the source of strength, of joy and fulfillment. When asked, everyone of us will express a desire for the same thing, happiness and safety for our families. Is it too much to ask then, that we give one another a chance at this? After all, when all is said and done, we are all members of one Big family, the human family. Let us then show each other some humanity. This is just my opinion...

As a single woman, a Mormon and a western/ Chinese doctor.

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