Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In Loving Memory of Manuel Razo ...

They say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you ...

Come on
Yes we're going to a party party ...

I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday)
I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Dance yeah
Come on ...

~ The Beatles ~ Birthday ~

These lyrics may seem odd when writing about the passing away of our dear friend Manuel.  But this is the song he sang often at the Clinica Nutricion in Tijuana, Mexico .. forever in my mind and heart.

I remember coming down the stairs from our room to find Russell chatting with Manuel and his partner of 42 years.  Instantly, Manuel introduced himself and shared his story.  We had only been there a few days and it was so comforting to find another person, dealing with cancer, freely willing to connect.  

Manuel had a jolly attitude, almost child like in nature.  And he made sure to get to know everyone at the clinic ... fellow patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses and even the kitchen and cleaning staff.  We use to laugh about his potty mouth, no not like a trucker but more about his experience with the enemas in detail!  For Manuel, it didn’t matter if we were having a meal, we heard all about how difficult the experience was and also what resulted in the toilet afterwards.  Although there were a couple that were “bothered” by his candidness, the rest of us embraced his innocent spirit and kind nature.

For three weeks, a group of us ventured out to the ocean, usually on a daily basis.  We would go to the local coffee shoppes and of course found our way to the open mic pub that had instruments just awaiting us.  Russell and I would strike up an “acoustic” version of our cover band tunes with everyone joining in on singing, dancing, moving and shaking.  And you guessed it ... Manuel would sneak in The Beatles song “Birthday”!  He had a great voice to support his great passion of music.

When the time came to leave the clinic, many of us didn’t know if we would see each other again.  I remember when Manuel hugged me, whispering into my ear that he cared for everyone there, but I was his favorite.  Manuel told me he loved me and that I was part of his family.  And at that moment, I didn’t want to let go.  

A memory I will cherish for the rest of my life ...

Over the past two years plus, Manuel and I kept in touch.  Speaking often, sharing our ups and downs with this thing called cancer.  Manuel beat the odds for so long, because regardless of his prognosis, he had an upbeat attitude.  He told me that he wasn’t going to give up yet he also accepted that there was a bigger plan ... and to let go and let God.  

I know Manuel is somewhere singing a tune, smiling, dancing and laughing ... somewhere at peace where his mind can have the dream he desires ... somewhere where his body can have the peace he deserves.  

♥ Rest in Peace our beautiful friend ... 
we will always love you and never forget you ♥

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