Malaikye’s Legacy Lives On!
by Rachel Marie Rodriguez
There comes a time in your life when you see your existence through a whole different set of eyes. Sometimes, through tragedy you find a deeper appreciation for this thing called life and all it entails.
On August 12, 2011 my life was to take a life shattering turn. I received a phone call that my grandson Malaikye was taken to the Emergency Room after an apparent fall. For 3 long days we prayed and prayer for a Miracle. A Miracle that would open our baby’s eyes and eventually be able to have him discharged from the hospital. My faith remained as I knew God was hearing our emotional pleas for Him to breathe life into our baby who was being kept alive by a ventilator.
Sadly, that Miracle didn’t come and we had the painful task of having to say goodbyes to our precious Malaikye. Witnessing my son Daniel fall to his knees on the hospital floor in disbelief, agony, and emotions crushed me to my core.
As a parent, all I wanted to do was bring some sort of comfort to my son. What could I say? What could I do to take this away from him? Absolutely nothing. This was a double edged sword for me. I had lost my grandson, and in a way, I was losing a part of my son. I knew he would never be the same. He adored his little boy and I always absolutely beamed with pride as I would sit back and watch him be a father to his “little monkey”. The only thing I knew to do was to Pray and remind my son of God’s Promises.
On August 15, 2011 our Malaikye entered the Gates of Heaven. But, not before he changed the lives of four people in desperate need. My son Daniel in the powerlessness of his grief, chose to donate Malaikye’s organs. Our baby was used by God to save the lives of four strangers. The reality of this is that God did grant a Miracle that day. In fact, he granted four! He answered the fervent prayers of parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers and friends of these recipients. And for this, we are eternally grateful that others did not have to suffer the loss of their family member. The ages of his recipients ranged from 9 months to 65 years old.
You see, throughout this journey from day one our family has been a testament of a Family of God. Where there was reason to unleash our anger towards all those responsible, we held our tongues, and continue to do so because we KNOW that God will reveal all in His Timing. After a long an emotional fight for justice, the person responsible for taking his life was sentenced to 25 years to life.
It was agonizing to remain restrained in a courtroom for 3 years, but it is one of the truest of testaments that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! If it were not for our faith and trust in our just God this could have turned out so differently. We continue to walked confidence fully knowing that God would administer justice according to His perfect will.
Today, the judicial part of the journey is over and the murderer has been held accountable. For many, this would leave someone numb and filled with rage over this loss. I chose to persevere and find some positivity. I have chosen to honor my grandson’s memory through acts of service. In his memory I became a Donate Life Ambassador. I am grateful to embrace the platform this gives me to not only share Malaikye’s story but to bring awareness to the beauty of organ donation. Yes, my grandson is the face of child abuse; an epidemic plaguing our country, but also on a positive note, he is the face of Hope given through organ donation. Today, we live life knowing Justice was served for Malaikye. Our court journey may be over, however, I continue to come alongside other families as they await their turn for justice.
In honor of my grandson, I have taken a hobby of mine and am using it to bring joy to others. I make memorial pieces such as bracelets, key chains and necklaces for those who have lost loved ones. Being of service and learning how one of these handmade pieces brings a smile to a loved one’s family is a form of healing through my own loss. Spreading the Love of Christ as it was so freely given to me at my time of tragedy, now it’s my turn at paying it forward to help another family just beginning to walk their painful journey. In all things I do, I do to honor Christ first and foremost. I pray my actions always reflect what I so believe in. I know I will see my grandson one sweet day…for Eternity.
My son Daniel is an amazing young man that even with this constant pain over his loss, he remains a young man of integrity, strength, and positivity. And for that, God has blessed him with his own sense of renewed life in the form of the birth of another son; Daniel Jr. I cannot say how very proud I am of my son and his decision to save others in the midst of his loss.
Since Malaikye’s passing we continue to live life. It’s not easy because grief comes to visit us. Some days are definitely harder than others. Days like his birthday or the anniversary of his passing are still emotional. I have made it my purpose in life to continue to share him with whomever God has placed in my path. So as the anniversary of his passing quickly approaches, we celebrate the life of a perfect little boy that I was honored to be grandmother too. Some ask, “How have you been able to endure such a horrific tragedy and keep your faith intact?” To this I reply, I must remember that I am not alone for the Lord is by my side. He has not forsaken me. He has guided me – without my being aware at times. I have seen and felt God in all of the ways that people have reached out to us and have felt strengthened by the numerous prayers lifted to the heavens on our behalf. He works through others to provide loving support, guidance and healing. I have felt His comfort, remember His promises and I take one step in front of the other.
I have to keep it real and say there have been times that I feel I have taken huge steps backwards but we must be thankful for a God who shows grace and turns us in the right direction. The Word of God is alive and living in each one of us if only we believe. If you haven’t taken the time to put the Word in your spirit, then it cannot feed your soul and body. So, take the time to put on your spiritual oxygen mask and inhale the promises of a loving Father, who wants to revive you and see you thrive and prosper. You mean more than the world to Him. So much so, that He sent His son Jesus to die for you (John3:16)
God has held true to His Promises. He never gave me more that I could handle. He gave me strength in my weakness. He strengthened my Faith and was a lamp post to my feet in time of need. I have come to learn that there are many things God did not promise. He does not promise Justice on earth. God keeps score. He promises to heal the wounded, reward the faithful, and punish the wicked (2 Corinthians 5:10). But He doesn’t promise to do any of that until after heaven and earth are remade without the curse of sin. He promises justice. He does not promise swift justice. One sweet day I will be reunited with my beautiful grandson. But, in the meantime I will wait patiently and love life and embrace God’s grace given to me on a daily basis.