Skip to content
Home » A Beautiful Life Cut Short

A Beautiful Life Cut Short

On Nov. 9, 2019, a beautiful life was cut short in an accident that should never have occurred.  The three of us dined at her favorite Bradenton restaurant when she choked on a piece of shrimp.  We recognized it at once and began the Heimlich on her, soon yelling for help from other diners. 

A nurse and her husband took over and worked to revive her as we waited for the paramedics to show.  We later learned they got lost.  I guess the address and  “in a strip center with a Walmart superstore and behind a well-known restaurant” weren’t clear enough directions.

By the time, the paramedics arrived, our precious daughter was dead.

The Beginning

Elisa’s life with us began in 1974 when we adopted her in Guatemala.  Oh…the memories….When our lawyer said we were approved, my Mother, my 8-year-old son and I flew to Guatemala.  Of our 3 sons, our 8-year-old was chosen to accompany me, because he had said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ girls, Mom.”  I knew he needed to be involved.

Guatemala – The Selection of a Child

We all entered the office and our taxi driver, Oscar, translated for us. We were first walked through the halls of the nursery area, where we viewed babies lying alone in cribs, some crying, some with vacant expressions as though they had already given up.  The whole set-up was clean but devoid of warmth.

The director then ushered us into her office where 2 employees brought in 2 babies and a toddler.  The older child was placed in my lap. One baby was given to my Mother, and the other was placed in my son’s lap.  I recalled being terrified he would drop her.  And then I was told to choose the little girl I wanted.

They clearly wanted me to select the older child because she was believed to have an American father.  How does one go shopping for a child?  I asked if I could take 2 and was refused.  My driver took the little girl from my lap and suggested I hold the other babies.  I walked over to my son to lift the little girl from his arms.  David looked up at me and said, “Mom, she smiled at me.  This is my little sister.”

And so, it was.

A New Life in America

Maria Elizabeth, dubbed Elisa, began her life in America as a 10 lb, 3-month-old with 2 infected ears that caused her much grief throughout her life.  She grew up protected by 3 older brothers and spoiled by all of us.  Elisa was sweet and loving with a Latin temper that only occasionally showed, but watch out when it appeared!

Elisa loved people and didn’t see differences in color and couldn’t understand why others did.  Being raised in Middle Tennessee in a time when very few Hispanics lived there wasn’t always easy for her. She found herself perplexed when other small children thought she was different.  As the only Hispanic student in her private school, her skin was darker than others.  In kindergarten, a classmate asked her, “Elisa, what are you?  You aren’t Black but you aren’t White.  What are you?”  My 5-year-old daughter, with hands on her hips, looked at him and replied, “I’m a human ‘bean.’”  This story, relayed to me by one of her teachers, was similar to many such incidents in her young life. Yet Elisa faced them with humor and grace.

This beautiful child grew up believing that we were all God’s children and always tried to see the good in people, even when those around her did not.  I have often wondered why someone so good at heart, so giving of herself to others had to die when the world is full of evil souls who seek to destroy those around them.

I guess the answer is that God needed her Home.

1 thought on “A Beautiful Life Cut Short”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *