Ricardo spoke fondly of his children and his wife. You see his caregiver, Nanci, was a good family friend who left her children to take care of Ricardo. They had travelled from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Tijuana, Mexico, exactly 6,037.8 miles. Ricardo's wife stayed with their small children so that he could come to the clinic for the therapy. For all involved, a huge sacrifice. But Ricardo was hopeful that the therapy would help him get better. We all saw his determination. He was a brave man, a very brave man.
At times when we would gather for meals or lectures, Ricardo would be present, smiling when you asked him how he was feeling. Sometimes you would even get a thumbs up gesture. He loved movies and would be a trivia genius when it came to remembering them. He was such a brave man. Although Ricardo and Nanci spoke Portuguese we communicated. Our communication was the universal language of LOVE. A type of LOVE that was unconditional, supportive, and full of compassion. We all understood what we faced, some of us had endured a lengthy battle with cancer and others had just started. But we were all in it together, a new family, holding each other in our hearts and prayers.
With so many precious memories of our time together, I fondly remember one day when we all ventured down to the beach and jammed at the Lat 52 pub/coffee shop. Russell and I started playing on the piano and drums, Manuel danced around, Paul played the tambourine, Jacki and Ronda cheered us on and Ricardo clapped along to the beat and smiled. He was having a good time, perhaps forgetting his battle. Ricardo had a beautiful smile. Through his pain, he smiled and shared stories. On our way back to the clinic, I walked with Ricardo as he shared with me his love of music, his love of life and his love for his family. He was fighting for them, as he promised his children that he would get better and take them to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. A promise that may seem he cannot fulfill, but Ricardo is still with us, his spirit lives on.
Ricardo, we will miss you but celebrate your life, your beautiful spirit, your kind soul and your LOVE of life. You are a true inspiration to us all. Rest in peace my friend.