Mr. Sanchez lived a life of love. It was apparent in his family, a wife, four children and what seemed like fifty or sixty additional relatives. It was apparent in the packed church, so full that we barely found seats, crowded with so many who wished to say goodbye. The love for this man spilled into the parking lot where we met motorcycle club members; grizzled, hard, tough men who may have been intimidating if met elsewhere, all arriving to pay their respects. So many people from different walks of life, those he would have encountered as he worked, rode, worshiped, comforted, guided and loved. For a while - for a short time on a cold Valentine's day - we were all the same, brought together in honor of one man.
Some people will never know him or be touched by his life. There could be those who would have thought him to be "just" a custodian at a school; nothing exceptional; nothing extraordinary. But he was. Mr. Sanchez was the very best custodian at his job - he took pride in a job well done and claimed no one could shine a floor as he could. I wish I'd seen him at work; wish I could have known someone so dedicated. Over and over people who knew him from work told us how a beautiful spirit shined from this man. When a pastor from a nearby church came up to speak he brought his son, a young man who was different and special. He told us about kindness shown to his son in high school; how Mr Sanchez took the boy under his wing and watched over him. This pastor was filled with gratitude for a man who had protected and loved his child, mentored and cared for him, just because Mr Sanchez was that kind of person.
The service was long, longer than any funeral I've ever attended, and an experience like none I've seen. If you missed it I'm sorry for you; if you were there then you know what I'm talking about. I'm going to keep the program for Mr. Sanchez's "Homegoing celebration" with me. I'd like to be reminded of just how much one person can touch the world. If any of us should leave this earth having lived, loved and cared for our brothers and sisters this much, we will be blessed indeed.
Thank you Mr. Sanchez for shining your light. We are better for having seen it.