Wanda Rodriguez is the Assistant Head Nurse at Calvary Hospital in New York. She meets thousands of people on the job, but one will always stand out in her mind.
On August 25, 2010, Wanda and a colleague were discussing newly admitted patients. The doctor mentioned a man named Victor Peraza. Wanda stopped in her tracks. The name belonged to her father; a man she hadn’t seen in more than 40 years.
Wanda rushed to his room, eager to see if the patient was her dad. The moment she saw Victor, she knew. She wanted confirmation, so she asked the man if he had any children. Victor answered that he had two daughters, Gina and Wanda.
The emotion was overwhelming. Wanda excused herself and left the room. She had just received the confirmation she needed. When Wanda returned, she introduced herself as Victor’s daughter. He smiled and said that he knew. Victor recognized his daughter the second she entered his room.
Their reunion was magical. Wanda thought about asking why he left and where he had been, but didn’t. She was just happy to see her father again. As they hugged, Victor took his daughter’s hand and began to sing “This Magic Moment.” Right then, it was the only thing that mattered.
Victor Peraza married when he was very young. He fathered a girl named Gina when he was still a teenager. It wasn’t long before a second daughter, Wanda, arrived. This proved to be too much for Victor. He filed for divorce and left his family.
For the next 40 years, Victor remained in New York. He never remarried, and never saw his family. A little over a year ago, Victor was diagnosed with cancer. He spent time in several hospitals before being admitted to Calvary.
After meeting Wanda, Victor apologized for being a bad father and begged for forgiveness. Wanda told him it wasn’t necessary. She was just happy to have found him.
The Tragic Twist
Since his reunion with his daughter, Victor Peraza was thrilled to meet his five grandchildren and even reconnected with his ex-wife. It’s been a joyous time for them all, but also bittersweet. Victor was admitted into the terminally ill ward at Calvary Hospital. He is dying of cancer.
Wanda and her family are all-too aware of Victor’s condition, but they prefer to focus on the positive. The important thing is that they are all together. As Wanda says, she is “cherishing every moment with him, because I know that I don’t have much time left.”
Victor and his family cherish the time they spend together. Their story proves that it is never too late to reconnect with people from your past. Wanda visits her father before and after every shift, and brings her family in whenever possible. They are just happy to enjoy as much time with each other as they can.