Miracles in Disguise

Caring for my dad was mentally and emotionally challenging. And yet it was love in action, love in its purest form...

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Antoinette Rainone, Angelo and her father

I first worked with writer and blogger Antoinette Rainone on a piece for Guideposts about her mother’s first time flying (a miracle in itself!).

Talking to her on the phone about the story, we kept getting sidetracked–she just had so many good stories to share! After all, Antoinette wakes up every morning seeking out the miraculous.

Even so, she never expected to encounter miracles when her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. And yet God kept the wonder coming her way. I'll let her tell the story...

I didn’t think my dad suffering from Alzheimer’s was a miracle. Just the opposite; I thought it was a cruel disease. My father was changing drastically. Eventually, he would no longer recognize me as his daughter, and I was devastated. I felt all alone. My mom had passed away a year earlier and my sister lived in Texas. A day did not go by that I did not cry.

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I was dating Angelo, a wonderful, warm man from Puglia, Italy, the same region my dad’s family came from. Angelo and I were ready to get married, but how could we now? I’d always pictured walking down the aisle with Dad. Not anymore.

Angelo had been working for a company involved in a major beautification project in Manhattan. It was a big deal–a great opportunity. But when Angelo saw how distressed I was, he gave up his job in Manhattan and took on a much more difficult job–caring for my dad. For nearly five years, Angelo fed him. Washed him. Cleaned up after him. My dad and Angelo had an unbelievably deep connection. They’d even converse with each other in Italian. Before then, I’d never heard my dad utter more than two words in Italian. He always said he didn’t speak the language. But with Angelo, he was someone else.

It was mentally and emotionally challenging for Angelo. A 24/7 job.  And yet, it wasn't a job. It was love in action. Love without pretense or show. Love that looked for nothing in return. Love in its purest, most sublime form. Nothing else could have showed me the miracle of love more than Angelo's decision and actions. No big fancy wedding, no diamonds, no candlelit dinners for two, just Angelo caring for my dad. Now this is a man who won’t leave me for a younger woman when I’m old and sick! I thought.

Looking back on it, Dad was "giving away his daughter" day by day. There would be no walking down a church aisle for everyone to see, of course. But this was a longer walk down a longer aisle. An aisle the three of us walked together. One that led dad to the real altar in God's house. And one that prepared us for marriage. The morning Dad died–peacefully, in his sleep–was Good Friday. That’s when he left me at God's altar with the man who would soon become my husband.

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” The sacrifices we make for another human being? That’s love. And love is the greatest miracle.

Do you agree that love is the greatest of all miracles? Comment below with your thoughts. And don’t forget to check out Antoinette’s blog, Find Your Wings Now, for even more inspiration!

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