This note is to say goodbye to a good friend, Roberto Vasquez.
About 10 months ago I started to be a phone pal for my friend Roberto Vasquez. It started as a weekly phone call to cheer him up while he waited for his lung transplant. OH boy, was I wrong!! Pretty soon, he was my weekly call to cheer me up!!
He moved to NY with his sister after learning that he was in need of a lung transplant. He was optimistic and positive and always found reasons to state that he was lucky as he knew there were others sicker than him. He was always looking at the good in life and he laughed a lot, even on the bad days. He would have a bit of a pity party and end up laughing at the end. He always joked about how come we could not have lungs from a pig - somehow every little problem in the world could be resolved by pigs. (grin)
Well, Roberto decided half way that he had enough and that he wanted to go back home and forget the transplant. For a while he did not tell me. I guess he did not want to disappoint me. Silly goose! Yes his decision made me sad, but at the same time I respected it, as I knew it was not easy for him. You see, Roberto had very little family in NY. He never learned to read or write and knew very little English. He had to travel from New Haven, NY to Manhattan on the dial-a-ride, for every single appointment, test, class or meeting and sometimes those trips lasted a whole day. He was on O2, which made traveling difficult, especially to be on the dial-a -ride for hours, being scared that your oxygen is going to run out. I knew he tried his best to get on that transplant list.
In my eyes he was a fighter, and he always will be. I knew that he was just choosing to battle a different fight.
I am so sad that he didn’t get to go back to his little island and spent time with his mom and his family. I am sad that he did not get to celebrate his 47Th birthday on the 6th of this month. I am sad I did not get to say good bye. I am comforted by the thoughts that he is resting and in peace. I asked God to grant me half of his bravery. I am grateful I got to be his friend. I am not saying good bye, I am saying what I would tell you at the end of every phone call: Te hablo prontito, mijo ( I talk to you soon, mijo)