Eight years ago, Karyme Lozano came to Los Angeles, like so many, “looking for the Hollywood dream.” In Mexico she was a veteran of popular telenovelas and movies. She was also a single mother who wasn’t practicing the Catholic faith she grew up with. She didn’t even believe in marriage.

But then six years ago, Karyme returned to Mexico to take care of her dying father, Eduardo. Cancer had spread through his body and he was now dying in a convalesent home. “I had the huge blessing to spend time with him, to get to know each other more, to take care of him, to forgive and to love him,” she told The Tidings recently. “And he was so happy. I remember each time I would go into his room and he would smile. His eyes would light up.”

That was no surprise. After all, she was the only girl in the family, with her two brothers some 20 years older.

What she didn’t expect came from the doctor at the home. First, he had remarked, “I don’t know how your father is still alive. He should have died two weeks ago because he is so sick with the cancer. And oxygen isn’t getting to his brain. I don’t know how your father is living.”

Then, while miming giving an injection, the doctor suggested that Eduardo’s death could be speeded up.

Karyme couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “No, no,” she declared. “My father is going to die whenever God wants him to die. My father has to die with dignity.”

The single mom had always been aware of respecting life in the womb. But she didn’t really know about what the actress now calls “this euthanasia thing” with ill older people.

Still, it was obvious to her at the time that helping her father die, even if he was suffering, was wrong. “There must be a reason,” she told the doctor and gathered relatives.

She and her brothers and her father’s brothers had all said their own goodbyes to the 76-year-old man, who wasn’t in a coma but had his eyes shut by then. That’s when it dawned on her who he must be holding on for — her mother. The couple had been married for 25 years before their divorce, which happened more than two decades ago. Neither had remarried.

Karyme made a phone call.

An hour later, her mom arrived at the convalescent home. Lucia spent 15 minutes alone with her former husband. Twenty minutes later, Eduardo Lozano died.

So Karyme asked her mother, “Mom, what did you tell my father?”

And her mother said, “I asked him to forgive me for everything, every time I hurt him. And I told him that I forgave him for every time he hurt me. And that God was waiting for him. He should not be scared.”

It was an epiphany for Karyme.

“That’s when I realized that God has a reason, and that’s why we have to respect life and we cannot claim to be God,” she said. “Not with babies. Not with old people. Not with anyone. You know, we have to respect life from the womb to natural death. And we can’t be playing God: ‘Oh, this person is suffering and we should do something.’ Yeah, the person is suffering, but if God is keeping that person alive there must be a reason. And we shouldn’t interrupt.

“I realized that if we had done that thing to my father — that we never, never considered — but if we had done it, we would have interrupted that cycle of love and forgiveness to my parents. And it was a gift. It was a gift that God was giving to my father, and it was a gift that God was giving to my mother.”

After a moment, she added, “So many things came out of that gift of life. So many beautiful things. Even though there was pain, there were huge learnings. And so that’s why I realized that every second of our life has a reason and we have to respect it.”

For Karyme, it completely changed her life, both in her way of thinking and behaving. She came back to her Catholic faith and believes her father must have interceded for her in heaven. She tries to go to Mass every day. Three years ago she married a fellow Christian and they live near Pasadena.

She’s also a lot more picky about the acting parts she plays, especially in the Latino market. So she’s trying to produce her own projects, including a recent script she wrote, “The True Meaning of Love.”

“It’s been hard, too,” she admitted. “Because following Jesus is beautiful, but at the same time you have to learn to carry your cross and to accept it. So instead of me conquering Hollywood, now it’s Jesus conquering me in Hollywood.”

She also has an ongoing vocation. She gives her testimony for El Sembrador Ministry and Guadalupe Radio as well as at churches and other venues. In fact, some secular media have criticized her for being so open about her religiously-based “respect life” message.

“After the experience with my father, I decided to become an advocate to defend life, to promote life and to invite people to not be afraid to be openly pro-life,” Karyme stressed. “We have to pass it on. What respecting life really is, from the womb to natural death.”

On April 26, Karyme Lozano will give her testimony at El Sembrador Ministry’s “La Belleza Original de la Mujer” at the Staples Center. Her website is www.officialkarymelozano.com.

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