Written By: Yaviri Escalera, in memory of her brother.
My brother, Ricardo D. Grosso, was diagnosed with stage four-colon cancer in July of 2013 shortly after his 40th birthday. After several months of chemo treatments and two surgeries, his battle ended on March 26, 2014. He was affectionately nicknamed Dicki by family members, myself included.
The day he told me the news, we were living in different states and I thought it was going to be a typical call with laughs and updates. I was wrong. I remember hearing the words cancer and stage four but not much else. We had all been together a few weeks before for his birthday—cousins, uncles, nieces and nephews—enjoying the beach, food and family games. Time stopped for a moment as he spoke. I never let on my fear of losing him but I was scared.
He was someone with a big heart and full of life! His smile would light up a room. He had such a positive attitude. My brother touched many hearts. I knew how important he was in my life and to his children, but I realized how much others loved him when he passed away. I heard so many stories of how his smile and kind words made someone feel better. People enjoyed being around him and his spirit was infectious. He taught me to love and cherish every moment, but most importantly to be thankful for everything life has to offer. To say that he is missed is an understatement.
In his own words on September 10, 2013 after a chemo treatment, “My battle with cancer is like a boxing match, I have so far taken its best punches and have not gone down, Ricardo: 1 Cancer: 0. Finished radiation and 1st round of chemo today! On to the next round…” His light is still shining brightly so in my book cancer is still at zero and he is and always will be number one. A strong connection still remains. I think about him, talk about him and remember special times such as birthdays, holidays and family gatherings. Now that he is gone a part of my past, present and future has gone with him. On my path towards healing, I have found some comfort in knowing he’s still watching over our family.
Then there are those moments when it hits me; part of the healing process is grieving. As far back as I can remember, my two older brothers and I have been a trio. In pictures, I was usually the one in the middle. When my brother Dicki passed away, Richi and I instantly became a duo. Physically there will no longer be three of us in any future pictures and I will no longer be in the middle. The realization hit me hard. Yes, I’m still grieving. Grieving is good. All the emotions of grief need to be experienced so a person can continue to move forward. Honestly, I never fully understood grief until now. How could I? I had never lost a part of myself. I had the lingering questions that all start with “why” and “what if.” Continuing with all the questioning won’t change anything or make me feel better. I decided to turn them into statements – I did all I could do, I loved my brother deeply and he knew it, my brother was a generous person, my brother loved me and my brother will always be remembered.
The death of a loved one shouldn’t be the end of life for those left behind. Even if things are never the same, there are still wonderful adventures ahead. I’ve learned to laugh a little more, take more time for my family and enjoy those things that hold true meaning in my life. So many people feel the same way I do, but won’t or can’t talk about it. It’s normal and it’s okay.
My brothers and I are still a trio in spirit and that will never change. Dicki was a loving father, son, grandson, brother, nephew, uncle and friend. Those facts will never change, either. He will always be loved and missed!