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When a young person dies, the world turns upside down. Nothing feels safe. Nothing is okay.

On Thursday, Fredy Loarca, a beloved member of our Education and Hope family, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was only 21.

 

Tragedy and loss are not unfamiliar territory. And yet here you are, beginning again. New this time is grieving with family over a phone line. Sobbing together through radio waves. Connected and yet so very far apart. Unable to be a physical presence. Holding hands. Holding hearts.

 

I sat to share this news several times but each time I just stared at the screen, empty. What I heard were phrases from Fredy’s loved ones echoing, spinning. It’s not fair. He didn’t deserve this. He had his whole life before him. He was so good. Tan bueno.

You didn’t have to know Fredy well to know he was kind. A beautiful heart with an easy smile. Athletic, always active. Thoughtful. Outgoing with a wonderful sense of humor. Amable. Colaborador.

As a young boy, Fredy was taken in by his aunt, lovingly known to us as Tía Lola, rescuer of boys without families. His cousins became siblings and then ultimately his caretakers, guardians, and medical advocates during the three months Fredy spent hospitalized after the accident. I’m in awe of the courage and love and tenacity that sustained them in their devotion to his care.

Last night at midnight, I was looking again through photos. What I noticed was how, in almost every picture, Fredy had his arms wrapped around the shoulders of whoever was near. Drawing friends close. Pulling people together. A careful, supportive hand on a child’s back. A gathering presence.

I am grateful that Education and Hope is one place that Fredy was able to nurture and grow his gift of creating community. I am thankful that he found a home with us, a place where he knew he belonged. Where he knew he was loved. A heart that is nourished is able to nourish other hearts in return.

Please keep Fredy’s loved ones in your prayers. So many hearts are aching from this loss. Brother friends, sister cousins, his loving Tía, amigos, maestros, compañeros, young ones who looked up to him. All left trying to find their way in an upside-down world.

 

You are already so missed, Fredy. The light you radiated. The smiles that brightened a room. Your loving, gentle spirit. Your sensitivity and humility. Your gift of being present. Que tu luz nos siga iluminando nuestros días, inspirándonos a vivir en el presente, apreciando la vida que tenemos. Que tu espíritu de amor siga levantando y consolando tantos corazones dolidos por tu partida. Te extrañamos y te queremos para siempre.