Good bye David

“Don’t confuse what you have not done with what you cannot do.” Adolfo Chavez, Dezma’s grandfather

Just because you’ve never done something doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be done.  I think too many of us get boxed into thinking that our past experiences control our current limitations. For example, let’s play fill in the blank.

I will never be able to (a.)_______ because I have never (b.)_______. 

Wrong. It’s because you never made the decision to make it important enough to make (b.) an opportunity for you to experience. It’s never too late. 

For this blog, I can use: (a.) run a marathon (b.) been good at running/being a good runner

But you can substitute any situation  you are dealing with here.

A. get a college education B. finished high school

A. travel the world B. left my hometown to travel/traveled

A. afford (insert any expensive material item) B. learned to save

A. beat cancer B. tried

It’s amazing how far the human limits get pushed when consistent effort is made.

I have witnessed so much transformation in myself and in those around me these last couple of years. I would never have guessed that I could do so much, that we could go so far and that together… there is no end to what we can do even after we live our lives.

The hardest part about this promise that I’ve given my mother and Sissy is that as I continue run in this journey to beat cancer, I’ve met and befriended some phenomenal people who have been touched by cancer and struggle tremendously with it. Just recently, the most awful thought crossed my mind.

“Why haven’t I met a complete JERK that has cancer?”

Everyone I have met that has been affected by cancer has been someone of sincere heart, humble foundations, generous unconditional love and resounding courage. Which is why it continues to open my wounds when cancer steals the lives of these new friends I have made.

Last night my heart broke when I  heard the news of David Mendez’s passing. He was my honored Hero last season with Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I’ve spoken of him several times in this blog and honestly could not catch my breath as the thought sunk into my head of him no longer being with us. I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon last year in San Francisco with his girlfriend, Vero. And that’s when I just lost it… the thought of what she was going through, what his daughters were going through… it’s not right. It’s just not right.

David’s obituary spoke of his extraordinary life and impact on the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and his love of fishing along the Arroyo and the bay of the Gulf of Mexico. It also had a request from his family. They asked that everyone who attends David’s services wear something yellow because it was his favorite color.

All day I saw posts from fellow TNT teammates talk about the miles of running that they put in today in David’s memory. I did something a little bit different. I swam an hour and a half with a yellow swim cap, yellow hand paddles, yellow fins in the water that he so loved. Because I know personally how my mother lit up with her favorite color orange, I can imagine that David had the same feeling with his favorite color. When we know there is little that we can do, we search for the things that make our loved ones who are hurting happy with all that could possibly fill them with joy. Sometimes just a color is enough. So that’s what I did.

I won’t be able to attend his funeral because that is the same time I’ll be the keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Metamorphosis: Female Student Empowerment Week. 

Its very frustrating for me to know there is still so little that I can do. I wish I could more. I wish there was no more cancer. I wish cancer picked jerks instead these wonderful people.

David is telling Lil Sarah, "You're going to be okay." They are both fighting cancer. I heard every word and snapped the picture. What a blessing to capture. Love it!!

David is telling Lil Sarah, “You’re going to be okay.” They are both fighting cancer. I heard every word and snapped the picture. What a blessing to capture. Love it!!

David Mendez, 52, beloved son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend entered into eternal rest on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at his residence in Arroyo City, Texas, surrounded by his loving family after a valiant battle against lymphoma.  A native and lifetime resident of Brownsville, David was well-known not only in Brownsville but across the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas due to his talents as an architect. David was a partner with Gomez, Mendez, and Saenz, a distinguished architectural firm known throughout the Valley and State. David’s name can be found all across the Valley and State on the countless schools and buildings that he worked on. David was proud to have served as the President of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. David’s accomplishments and community involvement are too numerous to mention as he was quite active not only in Brownsville but throughout Cameron County serving on different boards. In his spare time, David was an avid outdoorsman whose passion was fishing, which is why he drove in from Arroyo City where he lived every day. That passion for fishing, led him to establish the Hooked for Life Kids Gone Fishing Foundation several years ago. David strongly believed in the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  David was deeply loved and will be profoundly missed not only by his family and friends but by all those who were fortunate to have known him. David was preceded in death by his loving mother, Esperanza Hinojosa Mendez; a brother, Roberto Mendez, Jr.; and a nephew, Nicolas “Nico” Benavides. Left behind to eternally treasure their memories of him is his father, Roberto C. Mendez; the daughters that were his pride and joy, Erica (Jamie Figueroa) Mendez and Ashley (Andres Guerrero) Mendez; the granddaughter that was the apple of his eye, Natalie Hope Guerrero; his sisters and brother, Margie (Felipe) Beltran, Yvette (Juan) Rey, Monica (Rudy) Buitureira, Cesar (Nancy) Mendez, and Yolanda (Rafael) Leal. David will also be missed by his nieces and nephews, Bobby Beltran, Miguel Rey, Rico (Amy) Benavidez, Vanessa Beltran, Monique Rey, Alejandra Mendez, Brianna Buitureira, Carolina Mendez, Bianca Buitureira, and Cesar Daniel Mendez; two great-nephews, Brandon Rico and Bradley Benavidez; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members.  Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. today, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, and continue through 4:00 p.m. Visitation will resume at 5:00 p.m. and continue through 9:00 p.m. with the recitation of the holy rosary scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 555 West St. Francis St., Brownsville. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at St. Joseph’s. All services will conclude after the Mass and in accordance with David’s wishes, cremation will follow. David’s favorite color was yellow. The family respectfully requests that you wear something in any shade of yellow to the services.  Rene Capistran, Rudy Gomez, Joey Lopez, Dr. Ruben M. Torres Jr., M.D., Joe Touchet, and Manny Vasquez are honored to be serving as David’s pallbearers. David’s brother, Cesar; his brothers-in-law, Felipe, Juan, and Rudy along with Roan Gomez, Isaac Ochoa, Rolando Borrayo, Johnny Rodriguez, Dr. Nolan Perez, Manny Vela, and the Hooked for Life Executive and Advisory Boards will serve as honorary pallbearers.  In lieu of flowers and in keeping with David’s passion for fishing, memorial gifts in David’s name may be made to the foundation he started: Hooked for Life, 1800 E. Van Buren Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520.

David Mendez, 52, beloved son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend entered into eternal rest on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at his residence in Arroyo City, Texas, surrounded by his loving family after a valiant battle against lymphoma.
A native and lifetime resident of Brownsville, David was well-known not only in Brownsville but across the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas due to his talents as an architect. David was a partner with Gomez, Mendez, and Saenz, a distinguished architectural firm known throughout the Valley and State. David’s name can be found all across the Valley and State on the countless schools and buildings that he worked on. David was proud to have served as the President of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
David’s accomplishments and community involvement are too numerous to mention as he was quite active not only in Brownsville but throughout Cameron County serving on different boards. In his spare time, David was an avid outdoorsman whose passion was fishing, which is why he drove in from Arroyo City where he lived every day. That passion for fishing, led him to establish the Hooked for Life Kids Gone Fishing Foundation several years ago. David strongly believed in the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
David was deeply loved and will be profoundly missed not only by his family and friends but by all those who were fortunate to have known him.
David was preceded in death by his loving mother, Esperanza Hinojosa Mendez; a brother, Roberto Mendez, Jr.; and a nephew, Nicolas “Nico” Benavides.
Left behind to eternally treasure their memories of him is his father, Roberto C. Mendez; the daughters that were his pride and joy, Erica (Jamie Figueroa) Mendez and Ashley (Andres Guerrero) Mendez; the granddaughter that was the apple of his eye, Natalie Hope Guerrero; his sisters and brother, Margie (Felipe) Beltran, Yvette (Juan) Rey, Monica (Rudy) Buitureira, Cesar (Nancy) Mendez, and Yolanda (Rafael) Leal. David will also be missed by his nieces and nephews, Bobby Beltran, Miguel Rey, Rico (Amy) Benavidez, Vanessa Beltran, Monique Rey, Alejandra Mendez, Brianna Buitureira, Carolina Mendez, Bianca Buitureira, and Cesar Daniel Mendez; two great-nephews, Brandon Rico and Bradley Benavidez; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members.
Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. today, Wednesday, January 22, 2014, and continue through 4:00 p.m. Visitation will resume at 5:00 p.m. and continue through 9:00 p.m. with the recitation of the holy rosary scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 555 West St. Francis St., Brownsville. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, 2014, at St. Joseph’s. All services will conclude after the Mass and in accordance with David’s wishes, cremation will follow. David’s favorite color was yellow. The family respectfully requests that you wear something in any shade of yellow to the services.
Rene Capistran, Rudy Gomez, Joey Lopez, Dr. Ruben M. Torres Jr., M.D., Joe Touchet, and Manny Vasquez are honored to be serving as David’s pallbearers. David’s brother, Cesar; his brothers-in-law, Felipe, Juan, and Rudy along with Roan Gomez, Isaac Ochoa, Rolando Borrayo, Johnny Rodriguez, Dr. Nolan Perez, Manny Vela, and the Hooked for Life Executive and Advisory Boards will serve as honorary pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers and in keeping with David’s passion for fishing, memorial gifts in David’s name may be made to the foundation he started: Hooked for Life, 1800 E. Van Buren Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520.

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