“Everything is a Miracle”
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
The story I am about to tell you took place forty years ago. It’s a story about a person who was willing to do whatever it took to be with people she loved when they needed her.Today, the same story might have a very different interpretation. We have changed, and the world around us is not the same..
In September 1978, I was finally established in Princeton. However, this was still a transition. My French documents had expired and a permanent U.S. visa was not yet granted. I just accepted a job offer in Princeton , moved to a new house.
When the telephone rang, I was painting our kitchen. The call was from Paris and I found out that my father was in the hospital. He had been revived an hour before and the open-heart surgery was scheduled for the following morning.
How could I get to France without any valid documents?. How would I return ? .
What about my children , my baby daughter , my job?
I heard two voices: one whispering: “You can not go to Paris”
and the other urging: “Help them , they need you “.
Two hours later, I was at JFK airport prepared to explain the emergency and unusual circumstances to everyone. However, no questions were asked . My invalid travel document was stamped and handed back. Seven hours later, I was in Paris, holding my expired papers, drawn in by my thoughts. When I looked around , to my disbelief, I was beyond the gate.
I ran to the hospital . My mother and sister were shocked to see me there, and I was traumatized by worrying about the on-going surgery, my illegal status, thinking about my 11 year’s old son’s concern. .
“You might never come back, Mom. We need you” , he said.
The surgery was long and with many complications.
They couldn’t stop the bleeding. Seven hours, nine hours .
I appealed to the doctors to do the impossible and save him.
Four patients undergoing the same surgery, that day, had already died.
Ten hours , eleven hours.
Total silence . One could hear only our heartbeats.
After twelve hours, they wheeled him out and I whispered to his ear :
“ We are all here. You have to fight. We need you .“
The next day, I went to the Police Headquarters to discuss my unlawful status.
My explanations didn’t satisfy them and they decided to hold me there.
“Please, I asked them, “let me return here in twelve hours.”
They accepted my request. This was the first miracle.
My second step: the American Embassy .
Mr. Ambassador responded “You’ll never go back to the States. Look at my hand: A tree will grow here first “. “ I will go back, Mr. Ambassador , “ I said before I left.
Next step : the United Nations
I was physically and emotionally exhausted. When the Director of Human Affairs, a middle-aged woman with a soft, warm voice, asked , “What happened ? ” tears covered my face and I couldn’t say a word. She was patient and slowly I started my story from the day I became stateless still in Poland the native county of six generations back to the day I crossed two borders illegally to be with people I loved when they needed me.
And this was another miracle. After eight hours of teleconferences with the United Nations in New York and Geneva, the Director of Human Affairs stated:
“From this moment on you are under the protection of the United Nations .
The American Embassy will issue a U.S. visa.
The French Government will issue a travel document .
Please remember: Never again.”
I said to myself – Never Again
And the mother of all miracles :
My father survived the surgery, and he lived in Paris for fourteen more years.
The impact he had on our lives was beyond words.
My son wrote in his PH.D. theses :
“To the memory of my grandfather
who showed me how to seek the answers”
Today, the world around us is not the same, and we need so many answers.
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Kategorie: REUNION 69