Positive Until the End! RIP Amigo...

Rest In Peace my friend. 
Humberto you will be missed. 
Thank you for always smiling, dancing and staying positive through the toughest of times!

These 6 photos are a brief remembrance of an elderly homeless man who stepped into my life in 2009. Humberto arrived at Cornerstone for the first time in his early 80's. Even though he was unable to speak English, and I unfortunately can't speak Spanish, we became friends! He immediately livened up our place with his infectious sense of humor, positive attitude and energy; everyone called him "Papi", he was loved, respected and adored by all. 

During his final year, his health started rapidly declining, yet he kept smiling, dancing and staying positive. He spent much of this past winter rotating in and out of ambulances and hospitals for his ongoing lung and heart problems. 

He also kept going to various appointments around the city, he desperately wanted to have surgery on his massive, (painless, but aggravating) hernia! I went to many of these appointments with him and watched as most of the nurses fell in love with this tiny, sweet and somewhat flirtatious old man, yet all the surgeons knew how dangerous this operation could be for a man of his age and with his health issues. But this didn't deter him, he wanted surgery....

5 days before Humberto died, I went to Stroger Hospital with him and the doctors told him their concerns. He begged them, saying "please, please", just "chop it off". When asked why he was so desperate to have this painless mass removed, he boldly told us all that he wanted to be able to work again. This is the Humberto I'll remember; an 86 year old man who kept fighting, staying positive and full of life until the day he passed on through to the other side! 

Until recently, Humberto would get up every morning and wander the streets of Uptown to attend mass. He always had a strong understanding and faith in God's love and mercy over his life. He was very thankful and always wanted to bless others, so every day he'd hand out 2 pieces of candy to me and other people who surrounded him.

The grace and humility of Humberto affected all of us. As we'd play dominoes together, I see how his quiet gentleness and contagious smile would bless all those surrounded him. People wanted to assist him, by doing things for him, like getting him meals. Even though he was unable to communicate with most of us through words, his generous actions and gentle demeanor ensured he found plenty of family and friendship within our walls. 

Suffice to say; Love conquered the barrier that language had created!

Humberto; we miss you, we love you, and I can't wait to see you again, hernia free and dancing with your Heavenly Father!
This photo was taken when Humberto got blessed with a Cubs ticket a couple years ago. He'd never been to a baseball game before!
This is the dance Humberto would often do!

Playing dominoes!

We surprised Humberto with a birthday party when he turned 85. He felt so blessed and explained that we made him feel like a King; here's a link to that story They Made Me Feel Like A King!.

eating cake at his 85th birthday party. He kept those balloons above his bed for a very long time.

This photo was taken a few years ago; he felt so honored that I wanted to take his photo with Muriwai (my daughter).
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