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Celebration of Life….. April 2, 2020

Posted by Waking Up With A Broken Heart in Uncategorized.
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9 years ago today we held Sal’s memorial service, his Celebration of Life …… Somehow, some way, he gave me the strength to give his eulogy below…………….
Saturday April 2nd, 2011
Thank you all for joining us in this Celebration of Sal’s short but very noble and courageous life. The last 3 ½ years of Sal’s life have been filled with heartache, pain, and suffering. But, yet, they have also been filled with love, laughter, happiness and joy…..as you can tell by all the pictures. Sal’s journey thru this disease was long and agonizing. He never had a break. But he never complained. He understood his path and never questioned it.
Our first 18 months were spent at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. That’s where we learned what our new life was all about. It was terrifying, for all of us. And even though Sal rarely complained about anything he was going thru, I know inside he had to be scared. Who wouldn’t be? He was poked, prodded, and humiliated over and over. The medicines made him deathly ill. When we were not inpatient he would go home hooked up to backpacks filled with chemo’s, fluids, and anti nausea meds. We would walk back and forth the 20 blocks every day, no matter how hot or cold out. I didn’t put him in a taxi unless it was an emergency since his counts were always so low.
But between the chemo’s, between the nausea and vomiting, the scans and biopsies, between the radiation treatments and all the surgeries, between all these things we always managed to have fun.
His beloved apartment in New York was his home away from home, his refuge. Here he would feel safe. At night we would have parties- Sal loves parties, big and small- We would fill bowls with all his favorite snacks, bake cookies, order his favorite foods, play video games and watch movies all night. We would snuggle and take care of each other.
On our days off from the hospital we would walk to the little toy store, spend hours at Barnes and Noble, go to the movies, look for ice cream trucks, visit Toys R Us or if he was neutropenic just hang out and have a cozy pajama day and order toys online. At night we would video chat with daddy and the kids on the computer, catching up with all the days events and watching them have dinner. It didn’t matter what we did as long as we were together and he was happy.
After 18 straight months of treatment in NY and continued progression it was evident there was nothing more they had to offer Sal except high dose chemo. It was scary for Sal & I to leave Sloan but we needed new, not so toxic treatments. So wherever Daddy said we needed to go next we went, but returning to Sloan several times for the dreaded hi dose chemo. Sal and I traveled the country for various treatments. But with each new hospital came a new adventure. A new city to explore, new toys stores in which to shop, new malls, zoo’s and aquariums to visit. We would explore it all. Whatever my baby wanted to do we did. His laughter and smiles just melted my heart, I just wanted to always see him happy, I tried my best to make it fun for him. We were supposed to get married one day……that was the plan. He told Daddy…. Sorry dad but you’lle have to get another wife cause she’s gonna be my wife.
Sal had a very unique personality. He was always laughing and smiling, always happy. He lived every day to the fullest. He was funny and loved to make jokes. He loved to sing and dance. He was such a gossiper, he always had his ears open, trying to hear some juicy information on someone so he could pass it along. And he was so brave. One time we went to Key West and he was the only one of the kids who would go parasailing. 600 feet up in the air he went, not just once but twice.
Sal had such a love of food. He could out eat any of us. Buffet restaurants were always his favorite. He loved lots and lots of food, steak, broccoli and peppers were some of his favorites. He loved when his daddy would cook him a smorgasbord of things, and he would sit on the counter savoring every bite. He also liked to experiment with food…like bananas with ketchup and cotton candy stuffed black olives. He loved visiting all the different cafeterias at all the hospitals, the CHOP cafeteria in Philly was his favorite.
At the hospital if he need a transfusion he would try to make a deal with his doctor or beg him with pleading hands to wait…..just till tomorrow.
He was always very busy and had something planned for each day and transfusions always got in the way.
Sal’s favorite color was blue. He would only buy blue toys. He loved blue cotton candy, blue snow cones, blue lollipops, blue pajamas and soft blue blankies.
He loved Street Sharks, Power Rangers, Captain America, Mighty Beanz, carnival games, roller coasters, comic books, and video games. He loved parties and birthday cakes……..and we never needed an excuse for a party…. Just having Sal with us was enough. In 3 ½ years he probably had 200 birthday cakes and celebrations, even if it was someone else’s birthday it was Sal’s also.
But what Sal especially loved the most was being home with his brothers and sister and his mommy & daddy, playing video games, watching movies, making wars with his toys, fishing, swimming and swinging on his beloved columpeo where he would swing for hours, especially when he was in pain, it was very comforting for him. Sal also loved shopping online and in the stores. His favorite stores were Target, Toys R Us and Build –a-Bear. He loved midnight shopping sprees. After everyone went to bed we would go out and have some fun, then we would come home and have midnight snacks and stay up all night. He loved playing Club Penguin and Poptropica on the computer and even though he was never able to go to school and learn how to read he was a master at the computer and his beloved iPad.
Sal was the boss of our house. He made all the decisions when we were home. What we would do, where we would go, what we would have for dinner, he decided everything, and noone ever complained. The weekends we were home and he felt good were filled with trips to the flea market where he would carefully examine all the toys and pick out the perfect blue ones. If he was really feeling good carnival rides were also on the agenda. Whatever Sal wanted to do we did…… All Steven & I ever wanted was for him to be happy. And he was. He was the happiest little boy in the world, even thru all he was going thru. He was so funny, so spunky so truly amazing and full of life. He took full advantage of every possible moment.
Although I miss my baby, the pain is unbearable and each day is a struggle, I am comforted by the fact that he is no longer in pain. The last 3 months of his life were excruciating painful for him, and his little body was tired and just couldn’t fight any more. A few days before he died he told us he was in so much pain, that he needed a new body. Now he has no more pain. I know he can now do all the things he wanted to do so badly. He can run, ride a bike and skateboard, jump, do flips. All the things he would watch everyone else do but were just too painful for him now. It broke my heart to see him struggle just to walk, the neuropathy in his feet had gotten so bad. But he is now playing and having fun with his friends, Liam, Sam, Julian, Gus and all the others that were taken from this earth too soon. Hanging out with Aunt Ina and He is being watched over by Abuela and Abuelo who I know are taking good care of him and cooking him all his favorite foods.
Sal has given us many signs in the last 2 weeks that he is here with us and that he is okay and that also gives us some comfort and peace.
My heart is eternally broken and our lives will never be the same, But Sal will continue to live on in our hearts forever.
GOD bless you all, thank you for being here with us and for loving our precious baby.
GOD bless our baby
I love you Papo, forever and ever to infiniti………….

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