Just Before I Fell in Love with These 3 Sisters (a story of hope and the most difficult post that I have written so far) PLEASE SHARE

  shatteredheartglassThe thought of all that darkness – never getting tired enough to dim and turn to dawn – closed in on me suffocating me to the point that I could barely breathe.

There are certain situations in life that touch you more than all the others. They cut through you like cold steel, shattering your insides into tiny, irrecoverable pieces. When the situation is ‘over’, regretfully left behind – in a way abandoned with so much uncertainty – you try to paste the pieces back together, mend the pain aching inside, but there is almost always a few pieces missing; they remain at the origin and a hole or two remain in your heart, your soul, unforgettable images of pain and numbness remain engraved in your mind and your only chance to survive is through the Promise of the Just Before…

Recap and continuation. To read from beginning go to: https://freefamilyontheroad.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/just-before-i-fell-in-love-with-3-little-girls-part-one/…

I don’t know how I got up the courage, but I did…   
In my fractured Spanish, I asked that pretty, 10 year old girl with her black hair and eyes and all that overwhelming suffering inside:

covering tears

Is your mother kind to you? Does she hit you? Do you ever feel scared? Does she drink and then stumble? Spend money for pills or funny herbs? Do the lights go out for weeks at a time? Is your refrigerator empty or full? Can you tell me what type of people come to your house, and how long they stay? What have your beautiful eyes seen? What has your skin felt? What has your body shared? Do you have bruises or scars? What do you dream?

Around and around the park we walked – hand in hand – between the silence she spoke and I listened trying to memorize every single word that she was courageous enough to say and that I was courageous enough to hear… hand in hand

So now, just before leaving Costa Rica, not knowing when or if we will ever return, I wonder:

How can I leave them here, abandon them ‘overboard’ in such ‘cold, dark water’? How can I just pack up and go?

Will they ever smell the sweet grass, ‘run’ and ‘buck’, enjoy the sky, the night, learn how to dream upon a twinkling star?

And as I think… now or never, never ever…

I also wonder: What can we actually offer them?…  

A bit of loving kindness…  a care package now and then… a phone call, a photo, a prayer?

The just before is that moment when the sky is no longer pitch black, yet, just before the dawning of the new day. Some may see sadness in the night getting tired. They may see the dimming of the darkness as the disappearing of the moon and the stars, of their peaceful time to rest and dream… The beginning of a new day filled with hurt or delusion, another day of routine or perhaps suffering..

But, I see the hopefulness.sisterskeysha

I have to… otherwise these 3 sisters – Camila, 4 (not in photo), Sharel, 6, and Kelynn, 10,  will have no possibility of ever finding their way home.

I see the hopefulness as I remember: darkness follows light and light also follows darkness.

I see the hopefulness as I remember all those moments that I saw their dimness getting a bit more tired, brief flashes of light following a world of intense darkness.

And, I see the hopefulness as I remember:

The first time Kelynn held my hand after weeks of her cautious words, motions and glares…

The first time she hugged me with a hug so strong it penetrated through my clothes, my skin, my soul- as if grabbing on for dear life, a hug that could have lasted forever because neither one of us wanted to let go…

The first time she started to follow me, seek me out…  and I felt her wall begin to melt like icicles from rooftops on a warm, winter day…eye tearing

The first time I too melted in her painfully, pure presence…

And, as I sit here in a comfortable place far away, as I am typing these words…

as I try to paste the pieces back together feeling each and every missing piece, all the holes, I know that there is hope in each and every letter as long as from the distance I also continue to remember

I never allow myself to forget…

The first time we looked into Zulay’s angry eyes at the park that day and we told her not to be so mad… and even though we couldn’t know if it would protect Kelynn from a heavy hand, for that moment the face of an angry mother softened into a motherly smile.

The first time we sat on a bench, only one day prior to our departure, and told Zulay that we would like to help- with food, a home, a new beginning, hope – and she didn’t know what to say to these strangers before her, allowing the raw tears that flooded her tired face to say everything that needed to be said, allowing us to feel the lifetime of suffering and sense of invisibleness that bled down her cheeks. I hugged her dimness and her dimness hugged me and perhaps for the very first time she encountered Love… and perhaps for the very first time so did I…

my very first time loving another human being JUST BECAUSE

These moments, all these firsts felt like Promise, just when we thought there were no promises here

They felt like the color of the light just before the dawn…

 Now that I have met Them my life is divided into two:

all that existed just before I fell in love with these three 3 sisters, their mother and all her problems… and NOW

now, that I have seen all the shades of Their darkness and all the Promise of Their light…

Just before I met them everything was simpler.

Just before they entered my life I felt less pain.zulay and child2

Just before my priorities changed my life appeared to be lighter, but I was still in the dark and…

just before I decided to make their existence an essential part of mine there was less love, less compassion, less dreams, less hope, less life…

Now I know the true meaning of the just before.

I know what gives meaning and life to the rise of each new day.

And so, the first time we said goodbye for ‘forever’, we squeezed each other tight. I squeezed them and told them that we would never forget …

through a phone call, a photo, a prayer… we would always remain near…sharel

These 3 sisters, they have greasy, knotty hair and pink and purple bows.

They have dirty, broken teeth and bubble gum smiles.

They have bad fitting shoes, worn and full of holes and so much need of love…

hopeNeither dark nor light because…

when you see the shimmering gleam in the eyes of a tiny child dimmed one minute and turned back on the next with the touch of your lips on her rosy cheek…

the glow returning to a 10 year old girl’s complexion when given a necklace, transferred especially from your neck to hersnecklace

the magical spark in the simplicity of an ear that is actually willing to listen to her song…

when you reluctantly say farewell with a humungous lump in your throat as you watch 3 sisters walk away, joyfully rolling their ‘new’, used backpacks across a cracked, city street as if all was absolutely perfect

it feels like the Promise of a brand new day.. if feels like the Promise of the Just Before.3 sistersdawn

“…The last darkness of the evening faded and the world turned silvery…

It’s the just before!”, thought Estrella.(Horses of the Dawn, The Escape by Kathryn Lasky)


To those of you who have taken the time to read this despite its length…

the most difficult post that I have written so far…

thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are my hope, my light in the dark, my just before.me hope

You are the love I feel inside,

firma danni


This is just one story. Just 7 lives. Each story is only as insignificant as we believe it to be. I learned this and I learned that it no longer remains insignificant now that it has found love, now that we have decided to make it ours.

To get updates on these 3 sisters and automatically receive future posts insert email and click ‘FOLLOW’ at http://www.freefamilyontheroad.wordpress.com.

Also, we would love to hear from you: stories, comments, whatever!

In 2011, 15 percent of Costa Ricans were living in extreme poverty. In the province of Guanacaste alone, almost 22 percent of the regions residents live in extreme poverty. Approximately 53% of babies are born to single mothers, most of which live in poverty. According to the regional Ministry of Health in Costa Rica, 177 of the 750 births registered by the city of San Jose in 2008 were to adolescent girls. The National Children’s Hospital reported that between 2006-2014 more than 20,000 minors were treated for some type of suspected abuse, much of which occurred in the home. Problems of poverty, prostitution, alcohol, drug use and abuse become a vicious cycle leading to more poverty, less education, less choice and less protection for women and children. When a single woman has a child that she needs to care for, there is little choice of how to make money. This often ‘forces’ her to prostitute herself and sometimes forces her to prostitute her own children to provide for basic human needs such as food and a home.

Let us remember that we have an overabundance of poverty and abuse occurring every day right here in our own country, much of it happening alongside too much indifference and wealth. The best way to help is to feel grateful. When we appreciate how lucky we are we are more likely to consume more wisely, waste less and most of all reach out and help another… we are more likely to perform simple acts of love every day… JUST BECAUSE. group photo

*Photo from Left: Kenia, Havana, Sharel, Diego (a classmate), Kelynn



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