Every once in a while, we reminisce. It’s a very human thing to do and something that can come about due to several reasons. At 37, there’s a lot to think about in terms of what has been lived, experienced, dreamed, and accomplished, along with all the things that have happened in our lives. It’s not that I’m ancient or anything, but I’m not a young whippersnapper either.
If you think about it, the reasons to reminisce are actually quite varied. Maybe you see a high school friend who had a kid or maybe you see that what was once a friend’s baby brother has just graduated from college (suddenly you see a couple more gray hairs in the mirror too, but you go with it). Hell, you might even bump into someone and grab a cup of coffee and talk about random things like when you insulted a teacher and got sent to detention for it in the fourth grade (true story).
During these times, reminiscing can also come about by browsing on social media and seeing pictures and memories from friends. Recently, I was checking Facebook with nothing particular in mind when I come upon a wonderful picture of four great guys I know from way back with the following caption: “Rest in Power…. I can’t believe you’re gone.” Reading those words and looking at that picture, anyone there would be a huge loss. All great guys. All nice people. I see who posted the picture, I see people I know commenting, and even if I was afraid of finding out the details, I reach out to try and find out what happened.
Two people reply: Juancho was in a car accident… he didn’t make it.
Kindness is something I value intensely. Although it had been a long time since I'd been in touch with Juan "Juancho" Maldonado, I was fond of him and many of the friends we share. He was quite the guy and although it'd been years since we'd even talked, it was always a positive thing to see or hear from him. From age 6 til I was 11, I studied in Academia Perpetuo Socorro back home in Puerto Rico. For six years I took classes with a lovely group of people I still remember fondly and every time I see guys and gals from that class, it’s always a nice experience.
My heart goes out to his family and to my friends. Everyone is still in shock and doing their best to be there for each other, but what everyone mentions is Juan’s smile… and it lives on. It lives on through his daughters, through memories, and through his friends, those close and those from when we were in grade school.
I’m writing this because Juan leaves behind two lovely daughters and a trunk load of good memories. His closest friends (whom I'm also fortunate to call friends myself) have organized a Go Fund me to create a trust for Bianca Raquel (14) and Angélica Isabel (11) to fund their education. I'm very fortunate to have been able to help in a small way with a contribution, but now I’m sharing the link because you never know who can help, until you let life do its thing. The link is on the title and below and if you can help, it’ll go directly to ensuring a smile lives on and if you ask me, that's as worthy a cause as I can find.
Peace, love, and rest in power, Juan