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The Journey

It was 2018. I had one of those dreams where I lost someone, even though they were still alive in the physical world. In this dream, I remember it began with me walking down this narrow hallway, where I had approached this small older concrete room. It was here that I found my mother lying on a hospital bed. My surroundings did not look like a hospital, more like an older institution, with beige and gray colored concrete prison walls. 

As I looked down, I analyzed the bed she was resting on, which seemed more like a makeshift metal table with blankets and pillows. I then noticed three clear IV lines running from this bag of fluid into her arms. Almost immediately after tracing each line, I realized the IV lines were not representing anything good. My mother looked at me and said, "I have to go now; it's my time." It all started to click; I realized I was about to watch my mother pass away abruptly and without any say. As my heart hit the floor, and the bottomless pit of sorrow made its way throughout my entire core, I began pleading with her for just "five more minutes," begging for this over and over again. For a while, each time I asked, I managed to buy myself five more minutes. Still, inevitably, it ultimately came to the final moments. As I watched new liquid crawl up the IV lines, I stood there hopeless and without any control, as there was nothing I could do. Helplessly, as the chemicals reached her veins, I watched her finally let go. 

When I woke from the dream, I remember waking up in tears. My husband kindly reminded me that it was just a dream, but with this look in his eyes of worry as he also knew I had a unique gift of knowing things before they happen. The dream felt so real. I felt the pain and despair of losing a mother in that moment. I decided to call her immediately, still wounded from the dream, and just asked if she was ok. I found new meaning to the importance of spending every moment with her and valuing each time I was with her. 

The following year, it was an authentic bonding experience and connection ever since. Sincere forgiving and a pure mother-daughter relationship. We had girls' getaways (sleepovers), fun local trips, and finally, we just began having the time of our lives. 

Fast forward to August 12th, 2019, a sunny Monday morning. It had already reached 70 degrees by 10 a.m. My phone rings for the first call of the morning. It's an incoming call from my mother. This was perfect; I was going to be able to share the news that our offer was accepted for the home we would all live in, my mother, father, and the whole family. To my surprise, my father was on the other end of the call instead. As I was about to tell him the great news, he asked if I had been sitting down. On August 12th, 2019, my sunny day turned into a dull abyss as my father spoke, "Chrissy, your mother has lung cancer." 

After hearing the news, I immediately went into survival mode to save my mother's life. My hopes were even more shattered when the biopsy revealed this was end-stage. Despite having zero odds, for the next four months, my mission had been to save my mother's life. I didn't care about the statistics; I had already been through many challenges in life, and my spirit was too resilient to be knocked down. I spent the next four months doing what most would think impossible. 

Watching her hair fall out, weight loss faster than you could blink, and watching bags of liquid fill IV lines into her arms once again, but this time a reality. Her bed was precisely how I dreamt of it. The facility she had been staying at was constructed of beige and grey concrete brick. 

Since I still had to work, I often arrived at the Boston hospital after 7 p.m. (sometimes even later, depending on my shift) to bathe, change, and rotate my mother. There had been a shortage of CNAs at the time, so instead of her waiting uncomfortably, I had taken on these duties as much as possible. We spent time afterward talking about anything that came to mind. It was more complicated when she asked me if she was going to die. I would arrive home very late, wake up early again to work the same job, and then tend to her needs. All weekends were spent by her side. Eating right, working out, and self-care was out the window. In my mind, there wasn't any time for that.

Mid-December, I was advised by the top Boston Oncologists that she could no longer make her own decisions and that they were invoking the proxy (me). At that exact moment, I was told that the current treatments and medications she had been on were no longer working and, in fact, wearing on her comfort level. Feeling helpless, I realized control was absent in the situation. I decided to remove any medication designed to fight cancer and instead just focus on keeping her comfortable. To this day, I question if there was another way. Another way for just five more minutes. 

A few days after, I received a call from the hospital advising her health was declining severely. I rushed down to the hospital and was met by the charge nurse, where I was informed she would not make it to Christmas. Shortly after receiving this news, I entered her room and told my siblings and father the information. I watched them crumble and tried to keep myself together to support everyone else. Allowing the trauma, guilt, and pain to eat me alive. 

When everyone had gone home for the evening, I decided to stay with my husband and sleep in her room, just like the girl's getaway sleepovers we hadn't been able to have for a while. Before I went to bed, I gently spoke in her ear about the dream I had. The very dream I mentioned at the beginning of this story. Accept this time, I chose my ending. I told her that in this dream, I kept asking her for 5 more minutes, and that I consistently begged her to hold on. With tears streaming down my face, I whispered, "But this time, I don't need 5 more minutes. It's ok for you to go. You can go and be at peace". I held her hand while sleeping, and she passed away the night before Christmas Eve holding mine. 

After the wake, I developed a lot of anxiety from being in consistent survival mode. My grief was almost unbearable.

One night, my mother came to me in a dream. I remember feeling that it was so nice to see her again, but I hadn't realized I was seeing her after her passing. We began driving up this six-lane highway, and all I knew was that we were going on a trip. I was still determining where we were going but noticed three crystal towers in the distance. This was our destination. It was an enchanted airport where everyone had been heading, some on the way there, some on the opposite side of our highway, on the way back. I remember constantly being so paranoid that I would lose our tickets and passport that I continued to check multiple times throughout the dream. As we entered the crystal tower, I noticed this enormous lobby, many people walking around attempting to find where they needed to be. I saw the hallway leading to these double doors, which was our gate. Of course, I searched for my passport and tickets, but they were gone. I lost them. As I began panicking, a woman appeared beyond the doors. She motioned for my mother and I to enter. Still, I expressed in such a devastated tone that I lost my tickets, identity and couldn't go anywhere. The woman and my mother calmed me, simply stating it was ok and that I would just need to come inside and there would be a kiosk where all my information lived already. What I saw upon stepping inside does not exist in this world.

Beyond these doors were enchanted objects, mystical beings, in a crystal glass ceiling that appeared to go on forever. Everything seemed to float up within this tower and all around. From their sparkle and magic, you had to be there. After absorbing all of these beautiful items, marveling at their existence, my mother grabbed my hand and, with careful intent, spoke, "We are going on a journey. We are going on an adventure". Soon after, I woke up.

I knew immediately that I had to introduce what I saw in my dream and the enchantment to this world. Remembering how I felt in those moments, how healed and mesmerized I had awakened. Welcome to Intentions By Christina.

Throughout this adventure, we have gone through many journeys, including visiting festivals, being featured on Studio 10 NBC, Fox25, Best of Rhode Island, and several other recognitions. Through this journey, we've supported so many others and brought light to their lives. However, one person still suffered throughout this all, my father. 

As much as I wish this story stopped at a softer ending, sometimes we can't control how all of the chapters end.

After three long years of my father trying to live without my mother, trying to be here for my sister, myself, and his grandchildren, sadly, he committed suicide on November 7th, 2022. 

In honor of his passing, we are coming out with several candles, where 100% net proceeds will be donated to many organizations supporting suicide and other humanitarian efforts. 

You see, Intentions By Christina is not just a brand. It is you, me, our trauma and hopes, all together as one, dancing to our own beat and as best as we can.

Having an enchanted lifestyle doesn't always have to be dark. We are magical.