When a firefighter or police officer saves a person’s life, the person is usually forever indebted to them and afterwards they most likely share a special “connection” and start seeing each other as family. In cases like these, that person is usually considered a hero. Well the other night, we had dinner with four of Joaquin’s heroes. It was me, Paul and Alejandro and we sat in front of 4 of Joaquin’s 7 teachers and aides. It was incredible. We smiled, laughed, cried and shared some wonderful memories. If it wasn’t for our jolly waiter we probably would have never realized we were at Chili’s because it truly felt like we were home. And home reminds me of family and family reminds me of Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Joaquin’s passing created new “siblings” for us to help through our difficult times.
You see. through Joaquin’s journey we met a lot of great people that I’m just not sure we would have crossed paths with before. Or perhaps we would have crossed paths with them but we wouldn’t have built the relationships that we had with them now. Because of Joaquin I got to know our cardiologist and his wife well enough that I enjoy having lunch with her every now and then. Because of Joaquin we got to know our pediatrician and her husband well enough that she knows our families every detail. Because of Joaquin we got to know many of his nurses, some of which were with us until the very end, sharing our most intimate moments with him. Because of Joaquin his teachers and the rest of his Olmito Elementary School family became our family.
So it feels very odd to me to not have the interaction I used to with them – that is, every day, Monday through Friday in the morning and once again in the afternoon. These teachers, nurses and doctors were not just teachers, nurses and doctors to me. They were his family. They taught him. They cared for him. They loved him. And we loved them. And we’ll continue to love them like one of our own. So for that I am grateful. One of our family members may have been welcomed into heaven but we welcomed many more family members into our home and our hearts.