Maria Eugenia and Eliza Ivette our niece.
In these interesting times, we tend not to count those who succumb to illnesses other than COVID-19 such as cancer. My beloved sister, Maria Eugenia Rodriguez Torres, is a unique face for those other statistics. Not only unique because she was a loving daughter and an excellent mother, but more poignantly because she was a warrior in the trenches of the battle against the oftentimes fatal virus. No, she was not a doctor although, if you ask her loving sons – Javier Orlando, Juan Jesus, Bryant Javier, and Alexander Javier – there was none better. No, she was not a nurse, even though for us – her father Don Jesus, and her siblings Epi, Jose Valentin, Jesus Manuel, and myself - there simply was none better in the Universe. She was a financial auditor; the one who took the pains to add, subtract, and document the cost so that the insurance companies had to pay what was due in the time it was due. And they did… no if’s or but’s about it. Who knew the little girl with the dreamy eyes and in love with the sea will grow up to be a protective mother, unrelenting financial auditor, trustworthy friend.
She learned her craft as an assistant to our father. An accountant who never had formal training in computers, our father, with the help of a friend, began to do his work aided by an old computer model – the one fed with index cards… those were the times! Encouraged by one of our father colleagues, that little girl pursued a business degree at the university and landed upon graduation a job at Banco Santander. Then she became a financial auditor, finally landing a job as director for finance and operations at the Guaynabo Medical Mall. Long hours of dedication and achievements. The cancer that afflicted first her thyroids, then her breast, and finally, her liver did not slow her down a bit. While battling it, she assisted to the marriage of two of her sons and put through college the other two. When the doctors kept telling her they were learning a lot from her case, she asked them to please spell her name correctly just in case their reports were quoted at medicine courses.
Her friends and colleagues have stories aplenty to tell about her everyday labor. Still, her greatest achievement was not a professional one. Maria Eugenia delivered into this world four beautiful oak trees who with their dreams, hard work, and determination to deliver us daily from chaos. Yes, they do; for “where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). Her sons are the materialization of her aspirations for a better future. They are the embodiment of her dreams. They are the warriors she leaves behind to guarantee her lifelong journey of labor and LOVE has not been in vain.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, let us celebrate her passage to a higher realm, I could not have said it any better than the message she left to us who remain at this earth:
When I have to leave for a short time, please, do not be sad...
Do not feed your loneliness with empty days,
rather fill every hour with useful work...
Extend your hand to give encouragement to others
and I will in return give you encouragement...
Be not afraid of death because
I am waiting for you in HEAVEN…
Thank you, Dolly, we called her that way, thank you for your life’s journey, for been a BLESSING to everyone who knew you. Until we meet again…
HE will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things
has passed away.