Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Our friend Carlo Santiago, RIP

At 5:30am Monday, our friend Carlo Santiago took his final breath in a room at CHLA. He was 10 years old, and had just passed the six year anniversary of his cancer treatment.

Carlo was my friend - our friend - and I will miss him in ways words can't convey.

I will miss this little boy that I met along the path of life, of cancer life. In a world filled with obstacles, medical rejection and strife, Carlo thought only of music, jokes, words and conversation. I never saw him cave inward or resort to darkness, even though nobody would have faulted him for it.

Carlo made me smile. He blew my mind with his sharp wit, his unending vocabulary and his appetite for music. When I went up to see him the night before I left for France, he was zoning in and out - the push of the pain and the pull of the powerful medication pumping straight into his spine. When I arrived, he heard my voice and rallied: his eyes opened, he spoke a sentence in whatever voice he could gather, and he pulled his severely cracked lips into a smile.

With that wry smile on his face, Carlo spelled the name of the pain medication that was easing him through. He was wearing his Pablove tee shirt that night.

Carlo will never leave me. He cut deep into me in a way that would take others decades.

I am grateful to have met this little boy and his amazing parents, Toni and Sam.