The Story of
Ma Hila's Heart
My mother was a woman of strong faith. My earliest memories are learning to pray the rosary around Mom and Dad’s bed; my five sisters, two brothers and I kneeling around their mattress like nesting dolls. I remember all of us gathered in the living room on summer nights watching Billy Graham’s Crusade on the black and white television.
Every day, and in so many ways my mother taught us to have faith in God. As a pillar in our small town’s community, people looked to her for guidance. They would constantly come to our home to sit, talk, and pray with her. She was humble, patient, and the fiercest Woman of God I have ever known!
In the spring of 2010 my family came together from all over Texas, to gather around her as she got the test results back. The results that would forever change all of our lives.
Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given just nine to twelve months to live. In that moment the world stopped turning and the sky started to fall.
The realization that the one who gave me life was now fighting for her own sunk in, and I will never forget the taste of metal in my mouth. We stayed up late into the night, prayed against it, vowed to defeat it, and promised our mother we would take care of her every step of the way. All the while Mom sat silently, filled with a serene peace and strength, only requesting she not be given pain killers so that she could offer up her pain and suffering for the souls in purgatory.
Overnight everything changed. Having searched far and wide for solutions we woke up the next morning ready to fight. The days were now filled with more organic fruits and vegetables than our house had ever seen. There was vitamins, juicing, regular rosary prayers, reflexology, rain drop therapy, Divine Mercy incantations, worship, sharing stories, old jokes from childhood, and visits with friends who had become family.
All of this brought our family comfort, love, hope, and joy during one of the most painful times in our lives.
Despite everything, the cancer advanced aggressively. Within a few months it became clear that time was slipping away much quicker than the doctors had predicted.
In her last week on Earth laying in her hospital bed, mom asked “yo quiero mi Corazon de Ma Hila” (I want my Ma Hila’s Heart).
Not understanding who this was or what she meant, we quickly brought our Aunt Margaret into the room. When she heard what mom was asking for she immediately began to weep, and then explained to us the story of Ma Hila’s Heart.
“When we were little girls and one of us got hurt, we would rush into our grandma Ma Hila’s house. She always stopped whatever she was doing and came to comfort us. As we told her what happened she would grab red construction paper and begin to cut out a heart. Sitting in her lap she would place the heart over where we were hurt and say a prayer over us.
Those were some of the most comforting moments of our lives.”
We sent one of the kids for red construction paper and asked Aunt Margaret to cut the heart out for her while we all prayed. Just a few days later she held her heart close as her body finally entered into extremis… and then faded, releasing her soul to Heaven.
She is the best woman I have ever known, and I founded this organization to honor her memory.