This is pretty heartwarming… A Bronx hospice nurse found her long lost father because he became one of her patients!
A remarkable twist of fate reunited a dying cancer patient with the daughter he hadn’t seen in 41 years at the Bronx hospice where she is a nurse.
Victor Peraza arrived at Calvary Hospital 10 days ago, to the only available bed – on nurse Wanda Rodriguez’ unit.
The new patient bore the same name as Rodriguez’ father, who left her family when she was an infant.
“I got nervous, very anxious, and I said, ‘Oh my God that’s my father’s name … what chance is there it’s my dad?’” Rodriguez recounted yesterday.
It turned out that patient and nurse are indeed father and daughter.
“It was a miracle,” Peraza said, as his newfound child patted his arm and stroked his head. “She’s right here beside me.”
He noted theirs is the most bittersweet of reunions.
“When you have on one hand dealing with a terminal affliction and on the other you have happiness, you meet someone you always wanted to meet, it’s a hard pill to swallow,” said Peraza, who lay in his bed, in a beige hospital gown, nodding off from painkillers from time to time.
“I want to jump for joy for her presence, that she accepts me.”
For her whole life, a tearful Rodriguez said, “I always dreamed of saying ‘Daddy’ to someone … I never got to pick out a Father’s Day card.”
Her parents married young, had two daughters, and split up. She never saw Peraza again. Her mother, Esther, raised her and her older sister Gina in the Bronx, working for the Postal Service. Peraza moved to Queens. He worked in banking.
Last Wednesday night, Peraza was transferred from Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens to the hospice.
After she heard his name, Rodriguez entered his room to welcome him to the hospital, and couldn’t stop herself from asking him if he had any children.
“I said, ‘I have Gina and Wanda, they’re grown now,’” Peraza recalled.
“When he said my name I lost it,” said Rodriguez, choking up. Then she told him, “I’m Wanda, I’m your daughter.”
“She looked in my eyes and I said, ‘That’s my daughter Wanda,’ and I think I let some tears out,” said Peraza. “After a couple of hours, a couple of days, it started to sink in, and I got emotional.”
So did Rodriguez.
“He begged me to forgive him,” she said. “He said he wasn’t a good father. I held his hand and embraced him and kissed him, and he started to sing This Magic Moment.
“I forgive him because I’ve wanted to meet him all these years. I don’t know how long he has left.”
Peraza thought he would die alone, but now he has his children and grandchildren with him. Rodriguez’ three kids made him cards crayoned with “I love you.”
He said he is proud Rodriguez became a nurse.
She comes a few hours before her shift starts to take care of him, bringing the rice and beans, fried plantains and chocolate egg creams he loves.
“It’s a miracle, it’s God, it’s fate, it’s hope,” Peraza said as his daughter beamed.
Touching right? Who knows, maybe they’ll get another miracle!