To the Warrior

Isla Verde

After reading of the passing of a family member I watched the waves come and go this morning. I thought of the first time I realized we were mortals.

The First Time I remember a Family Member Passing Away

It should have been around 30 years ago when my uncle Pucho passed away. I was a bit older than my daughter Daniela. I remember going to church and seeing one of the most lovable guys I know as a kid in the permanent state of sleep.

A few days ago Daniela wanted to get a clearer understanding of what death was. She heard someone had died and was a bit startled by knowing that we are all going to move into another state at one point. I tried to give her as much information as an almost 4 year old can handle.

For me it took some time to grasp that Uncle Pucho was not coming back. At that time one of my two closest cousins who I also went to Pre-kinder and Kinder with Joel had lost his dad.

A Warrior Till the End

I fast forward 30 years. I wake up to the news that my Cousin Joel has lost his battle with an illness that only kept his body in a wheelchair but certainly not his spirits.

During the ages of 4-6 I remember Joel was the cousin I spent a good amount of time. To this day everytime I get the smell of Tuna it reminds me of Joel’s favorite lunch. During our time in Kindergarten and Pre-K. I never enjoyed the smell of the Túna especially when he choose to eat it every day next. But over the rest of my childhood years I would always miss Joel’s company.

Joel started his battled against muscular dystrophy at an early age. As we came out of I think was first grade Joel left to a school which could help him with his needs and I got separated from Joel. My closest cousin in my early childhood years took a different path.

Throughout the years I would send a message his way for the last few most of those interactions happened via Facebook.

Yesterday my mom indicated that she was a bit sad because Joel had gone into a coma. Being that Joel was a warrior when it came to battling his disease I could only hope he would recuperate. This morning I woke up to a sad and special morning.

Joel will no longer have to battle this evil disease any more. Joel had two Dads Tio Pucho passed away early in his life and Carlos who took care of him for most of his life (around 3 decades).

To my aunt Alma I admire her dedication and sacrifices she did to take care of my lovable cousin. If there is one individual in our large family who was friends with everyone was Mr. Joel. As a Dad I think of how hard it might be to lose a child and hopefully never will have to experience it.

I am sure Joel had a receiving party lead by our Grandma America and Tio Pucho (his dad) at the other dimensions waiting for us.

When I leave this world he is one of the first waiting for me on the other side. Maybe one day I can show him how inspired I am by how he lived.

May Joel Rest in Peace and may the next time I get the smell of tuna may Joel once again be sitting next to it (heck I might even join him).

Joel Robles

My cousin Joel (1980-2014) is to my right behind the birthday decoration.