Saying Goodbye For The Last Time

17 Dec

We got a very unexpected message on Monday. Our dear friend Gabriel had died. He was 63. On Sunday,Gabriel had just placed second in the annual Laguna Bacalar kayak marathon when he complained of not feeling well. Two heart attacks later, the doctors could not revive him.

Mexico is our home for ten years and we still have much to learn. One thing that we have learned is that when someone tells you that you are family they mean it. That was certainly the case with Gabriel.

Mexico City 2017

We met about eight years ago when I was out kayaking and saw him and his wife Monica pull up to a dock in their motor boat. Lisa badly wanted to ski and this was my attempt to make friends with someone who had a boat. It is hard to describe but we’ve been family ever since.

From that day on we were included in so many activities, dinners, parties, and assorted family get togethers, including his daughter’s wedding. We know their children, grandchildren and extended family. When Lisa and I married in California in 2014, Monica and Gabriel put on a reception for us at a local restaurant. It was so much fun.

There were even two brides on the cake!

In Mexico, when someone dies, they are laid out at home. A vigil was held and as word got around on Monday, people showed up with food and flowers. Family flew in from all over the world.

His life jacket and paddle rested on the coffin.

Gabriel’s body was cremated and on Tuesday there was the most amazing funeral I’ve ever attended. Boats, kayakers and paddle boarders all gathered on the far side of the Laguna. The wind made it hard to hear but it was clear that Gabriel was beloved by many. His daily Insta sunrise photos will be missed.

Laid to rest in his beloved laguna.
With his beloved Monica. Maya, his chihuahua will miss him terribly.
Picking me up on our dock for a day of sailing.

It has been a hard week. I am still processing. We also celebrated Lisa’s birthday and remembered the death anniversary of my brother. Gabriel had a full and wonderful life. That’s what I want to remember.


It is not important how long your life is but how you live it. Adiós Gabriel.

10 Responses to “Saying Goodbye For The Last Time”

  1. Andrea December 18, 2022 at 9:03 am #

    So sorry to read this. He sounds like a wonderful human being who has a life well lived and well loved . My sympathies to his family .

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 December 18, 2022 at 1:36 pm #

      He had his first heart attack six years ago. He was gifted six more years that he lived well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LJones December 18, 2022 at 11:13 am #

    Alex – this is beautiful…I feel like I was more a part of his goodbye after seeing your photos and reading your words. I adored him..and I dreamed about him last night (his smile, warmth and love for Monica) – I woke up sad this morning. Thank you for your post – I love your blog and this time it really touched my heart. I am so happy people came from all over…he was wonderful…

    How are you all? I am sending love – see you in March😊

    Lorrie Jones
    Simple Serenity

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail Beyrle December 18, 2022 at 2:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. Such a beautiful tribute. Sympathies to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jack Scott December 19, 2022 at 4:55 am #

    So, so sad 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • afish25 December 19, 2022 at 6:49 pm #

      Thank you Jack. He had a good life.


  5. Emilie December 21, 2022 at 5:08 am #

    I’m so sorry, Lisa.
    What a beautiful sendoff for a good man. It’s always so difficult when someone dies unexpectedly. I’m glad you had such a kind and supportive man in your life for so many ears.

    Liked by 1 person

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