The Dream of a Lifetime: A Visit to the Grand CanyonBy Seasons | October 19, 2017
A native of Mexico, Maria worked in the hot Mexican heat, working a number of jobs to make sure there was food on the table for her family.
She washed clothes in the river for others, baked homemade tortillas for grocery stores and picked corn and cotton in the dusty, hot fields. They were thankless jobs, but Maria was proud to do them, knowing her family would never go without.
She retired twelve years ago and after her husband died, came to live with her son and daughter-in-law in the United States.
Maria has lived a simple life that has always involved serving others. When her family found out she had cancer, they wanted to serve her, asking her, “What have you always dreamed of doing?”
Her answer: “I’ve always wanted to see the vast beauty of the Grand Canyon.”
The staff caring for Maria at our Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care location in Phoenix all agreed: we had to make this happen for her. The Seasons Hospice Foundation agreed to pay for entry into the Grand Canyon Park for Maria’s entire family, and even provided a gift card for $ 250 for them to have a family meal at the end of the day.
Maria’s family was very worried in the days leading up to the trip; Maria had been very tired and weak and they feared that she would be too sick to enjoy her dream trip.
But the morning they were supposed to leave, Maria found a burst of energy. She woke up early, feeling great and glowing with excitement. In fact, she didn’t sleep a wink of the entire three and a half hour trip to the Canyon. Instead, wide-eyed and full of wonder, Maria spent the trip commenting on the beauty of nature. The family even experienced a rare site in Arizona: rainfall and a beautiful rainbow as they headed up the Canyon. The whole family was in great spirits.
“Once we reached the top, it was amazing to see her reaction. She was just in awe, and just so happy. In fact, she kept telling us over and over ‘Oh, I’m so happy!’ The best part of the trip by far was watching her,” said Maria’s daughter in law.
The adrenaline was pumping through Maria, enough that once they got to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, she got out of her wheel chair and slowly (but surely!) walked around the rim, with her grandchildren following closely with her wheelchair and oxygen tank.
“God made this. The beauty, and the colors; the amazing colors of the mountains! He made this all!” said Maria as she took in the breathtaking views.
Maria stayed at the Canyon with her children and grandchildren for nearly five hours; her newfound strength blowing her family away. They knew she would soon be tired, so they decided to stay in the “cowboy” town of Williams, laughing as they saw tumbleweeds and cowboys pass by from their hotel room.
The next morning, as they made their way back home, the family decided to stop at a place very sacred for Maria: The Chapel of the Holy
Cross in Sedona. A devout Catholic, Maria had been to this church before, and found it to be a very sacred place.
“The minute she walked into that church, she went right to the bench and started praying. She prayed “Hail Mary, our Father,” with her grandkids and was able to light a candle. I’m getting emotional even talking about what a beautiful moment it was for our family,” said her daughter-in-law.
After taking in the views at the church, the family continued their travels home, stopping frequently so Maria could enjoy every single second of the beautiful Arizona landscape.
“We did a lot of stopping for her, we wanted her to see everything. This was just two days that were all about her, for the first time ever,” said her daughter in law.
The family then stopped to use the funds donated to them by Seasons Hospice Foundation for dinner.
They got ribs for dinner because they are Maria’s favorite.
“We just love our Seasons team. They’re awesome. They know Maria so well, and I know that all I have to do is pick up the phone and they’re there. We are so grateful to Seasons for everything and will never forget this trip!” said Maria’s son and daughter-in-law.