Maria Carr is a long-time friend and contributor to Dare, Dream, Do, in which she tells her story of life before she and her family came to the U.S. as political refugees.
I spent 8 years as the primary care giver, first for my ailing father and then for my mother. I’m just beginning to understand some of the lessons I learned during those years.
When my father first became ill, he said he wanted to die. But as time passed, and many loving hands cared for him, he found inner peace and began to enjoy the mundane beauty of daily life, even as an invalid. My father had experienced many disappointments and hardships in his life, but he had no regrets. He taught me that life is precious and to be enjoyed, every day, every hour, every minute, every breath. My mother, on the other hand, had one big regret over what she hadn’t dared to do. She’d had a good, happy life, but there were dreams she hadn’t pursued out of fear.
One of my favorite classics is Pedro Calderon De La Barca’s, La Vida es Sueño or Life is a Dream. I’ve found his premise a liberating way to look at life, because in dreams anything is possible, no matter how far fetched: we can do anything, accomplish anything we can conceive. And yet, even as each of us clings to life right up unto our last gasp, few of us live out and hang on to our dreams.
My father dared to dream. Sometimes he accomplished his dreams, sometimes he didn’t. He did achieve his greatest dream — saving his family from Communism in Cuba. But it came at a high price, including time in a prison camp. My mother partnered with him to achieve the dream of freedom for our family; she taught me to be brave in the face of danger. And yet, she never could quite conquer her own fear of performing, of sharing her beautiful singing voice in public.
It sounds absurd, but I really thought life would go on indefinitely. When my mother passed on, I woke up to how temporary our lives are: we need to dare and do NOW. Life is short and it is a grand dream. I also came to understand the importance of taking time to enjoy the NOW, the dreams I have already accomplished, rather than just rushing on to the next one. Rather than doing another TV show, or writing a book right now, I want to enjoy the achievement of my greatest dream — my happy family. And take the time to do more fun things, like playing on the floor with my grandchildren, holding babies, doing more Zumba and Yoga. The blog with my parents’ stories and Cuban recipes can wait for my intermittent posts.
Sometimes when I wake from a pleasant dream, I try to go back to it, but it’s not quite the same. So while I’m living this life, I want to enjoy this dream I’m living…with every breath.
What dreams are waiting for the breath of your life?
Maria Carr is a wife, mother, grandmother, professional actress, TV producer and business manager for her husband’s chiropractic practice. She was born in Cuba, and came to the US with her family, as political refugees. Maria shares cooking, homemaking and other interesting topics and interviews on her YouTube channel, and as a Featured Partner on ifood.tv.