Yesterday, I found out heart-breaking news. On my way to rehearsal in the morning, I received word that my childhood friend since junior high, Joaquin Zaragoza, was in a coma at the intensive care unit. He had 24 hours maximum to live.
When we were young, Joaquin was always the jokester. He still was yesterday. In P.E. class, the teacher would tell us to run laps or whatever it was, and Joaquin and I would slowly start off, hating this task, and he'd call to me, "Jaz, come here!"
We'd dash behind a garbage can, waiting for the rest of the herd to return and we'd join back in, as if we'd been running with them all along. Haha, OK not the best moral of a story or anything, but that was Joaquin...No matter what, he was laughing, joking, loving life.
On another Saturday night out, Joaquin and some friends went to a neighborhood bar. After only a couple of drinks, he headed to the bathroom and on his way there, he collapsed. He'd had a seizure, out of the blue, in perfect health. Joaquin lay there for more than ten minutes while people continued to pass him by, writing him off as having gotten too drunk and passed out.
Over ten minutes had lapsed and he received no oxygen to his brain.
No one even thought to help.
An ambulance finally came and took him to intensive care, where he lay in a deep coma, completely brain damaged.
Doctors gave him a day to live. Hooked up to machines to survive, if he lived, he would remain brain dead and unable to move for the rest of his life.
Around 7pm on Sunday, March 14, his mother made the hardest decision of her life. She took him off of life support and allowed him to rest in peace amongst angels.
After slightly losing touch over the years, Joaquin and I reconnected on Facebook. His usual funny self, he would update me about life and always made an effort to tell me how happy he was to see me living my dreams dancing. He always believed in me and knew I could do it. What an amazing person, friend, son.
Joaquin, I love and miss you. You and your family are in my prayers. I know that even though this hurts and it is hard to understand why God would take you from us so early, there is a reason he needs you in Heaven. We must also see your life being taken so abruptly as a reason why we must do what we are meant to do here, now.
There is no time to waste, to sit back and let life pass you by. To watch your dreams slip away because you aren't taking control of your destiny. Be active in your life and make your life live for you. Life is too short to not say all you need to say, to not tell someone you love them, to improperly prioritize what is truly important. Live the life you love and love the life you live.
You never know how quickly it can be snatched away...
R.I.P. Joaquin Zaragoza