Remembering Oscar

My world shattered when my father, Oscar, passed away. He had been battling various illnesses, until the Lord called him home in September 2013.

The grief I felt was so immense and it was hard to imagine a life without him. But with tons of prayers, and faith in God, I faced each new day one day at a time. After some time passed, I wanted to do something special in memory of my Dad.

The author with her father, Oscar Mara.

The author with her father, Oscar Mara.

One of the things, that I often thought about after the death of my Dad, was the place where he spent a few weeks two years before he died. During that time, my father lived at St. Patrick’s Residence ― a long-term nursing and rehabilitation home in Naperville, Illinois, managed by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm.

Some of the nuns still wear habits on their heads, and they keep an aviary full of lovely finches in the reception area. My father needed to be at a place like St. Patrick’s. He had been hospitalized and required round-the-clock care.

Whenever I visited my father, I was also touched by the other seniors living there.

Two months after my father’s death, an idea came to me, to honor my Dad’s memory. I would organize an event, where a group of friends and I, would visit the nursing home and reach out to the people living there. On December 14, 2013, a group of friends, and I visited St. Patrick’s, where we sang songs and passed around Christmas ornaments. ‘Oscar’s Ornaments and Carols’ was born.

This Valentine’s Day, I launched ‘Oscar’s Hugs and Kisses.’ This time, we distributed small stuffed teddy bears, each holding an Oscar the Grouch accessory, to residents on two floors. It was beautiful to see smiles when we reached out. Some choked back tears when the teddy bears were given to them.

Valentine’s Day is all about love and my Dad has helped us pass along the feeling to the residents at St. Patrick. ♥