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How a brother copes with the death of his sister

Orlando F., with Fr. Rene, Hospice Chaplain, showing some of his miniature houses.
Orlando with Fr. Rene, Hospice Chaplain, showing his miniature houses

When Orlando’s older sister, Maria, passed away in June, Orlando was inconsolable. Orlando had been by Maria’s side since he was 17 years old. Both native of Puerto Rico, Orlando joined his sister in Chicago more than 50 years ago and has never looked back. Decades ago, Maria commented to Orlando how she loved how the village houses in Puerto Rico looked like and that comment gave Orlando an idea for a hobby - making miniature houses for use as Christmas tree decorations. It is a time-consuming hobby and it takes Orlando several months to finish one. With the task of being Maria’s primary caregiver as well as his other responsibilities demanding much of his time, Orlando’s hobby took a backseat. Alone after the death of his sister, Orlando recalled how his miniature houses gave Maria great joy; therefore, in Maria’s memory, Orlando began making miniature village houses once again. For Orlando, spending time crafting these houses not only honors Maria’s memory but it also allows him to express his grief through art. “I remember how my sister liked it so much, especially when I made a miniature village in the house during the Christmas season. Doing this reminds me of the happy memories we had of her when she was still with us.”


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