I Didn’t Know How to Be (by Rebecca)

I’m sorry I haven’t been here. I didn’t know how to be. I didn’t know how to be anything other than numb, hollow, and completely and utterly bereft. Thank you for the kindness from those of you who knew and reached out. Even if I didn’t know how to respond, I appreciated being in your thoughts. If you didn’t know him, all you really need to know to understand him is that, on his final day, his only concern was for his wife. He was laying there in his hospital bed, tubes and wires surrounding him, and he’d ask so, how are you? It would have been funny if it wasn’t so incredibly unfunny, but that’s just how he was. He was polite and kind and caring. To everyone. He fought so hard and was so brave. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t try or do to get back to his life and his extraordinary wife. No matter how it made him feel, he would have done anything. And his wife fought harder than anyone I’ve ever seen fight against anything. Through a pandemic. Through sorrow and frustration and exhaustion. Through one complication after another. Day after day. They “loved with a love that was more than love” is the refrain that keeps going through my mind when I think about them both. I love how they loved each other. I love knowing that he lived the entirety of his life being adored. He was the greatest friend, brother, human anyone could have known. No, there isn’t anything that is ever going to make it better. But all I really wanted to say here is let this be a reminder to you to take more pictures (even when you don’t think you look your best), call more often (texting really isn’t the same), leave voice mail messages, write letters, post-it notes, drawings, whatever it is that you can offer to your loved ones and make more time for those who matter to you. Tell them you love them. Show them you love them. Over and over again until they believe you. And, if you’re able, donate blood, donate platelets, donate plasma. He got more time with us because strangers took time out of their lives to make a difference in his. I will be forever grateful for that. His name was James, but I certainly never called him that. To me, he was my baby brother Koobie, and he always will be. He’ll be Saturday morning cartoons with sugar-coated cereal, Sunday afternoons creating a lego wonderland, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off. He’ll be long car rides filled with are we there yet and I’m not touching you and the warm sunshine that follows a long night spent curled up in a rain-soaked sleeping bag. He’ll be #45 on the football field, and the best clarinet player in the band. He’ll be the first of us to have graduated college. He’ll be the one in the tux playing a classical piece of music with his whole heart. He’ll be the one beaming as he dances with his wife for the first time. And he’ll be the one who brought us together again to remind us what really matters in this life. I will love and miss you every single day for the rest of my life, Koob and I’ll do my best to carry the light you brought to all of us.

Memories of a Vulcan (by Pascal)

Fool Hollow Lake

The life support machines buzzed every time he laughed. It was a warning, an unwanted shock to his system, but the laughter was better than the tears. We continued to reminisce, scrolling through the photographs on his iPad—the sunset shot over Fool Hollow Lake, the Boston skyline, the bobcat perched in his Palo Verde, the air-show flybys, and all his pets—talking about better days. The ICU nurses conducted their rounds, smiling at our family’s unabashed affection for each other, but it was not a time to hold back. The fight against the lymphoma that raged through his body had been a long one. And, despite his incredible will, it was a battle he ultimately lost.

A few weeks have passed since that longest night, and I still feel hollowed out. The awareness of something missing will remain my constant companion. We rode through this life with a shared heritage. With the same passion for motorcycles and mountain roads, music, our animal companions, guns and finely crafted blades, photography, and small, almost insignificant moments shared with loved ones that are far too easy to take for granted. But our travels took us in different directions. Sometimes the roads between us stretched thousands of miles, for years at a time. Still, the same blood ran through our veins, so the distances were meaningless. Never again will I cross wooden swords with my sparring partner, nor build a fort made of grass and mud, nor ride through mountain passes at unsafe speeds with my brother at my side.


James Quintero, 42, passed peacefully on January 25, 2022, following a long and valiantly fought battle with cancer.  A beloved husband, son, brother, uncle, nephew, and grandson, James was a kind and fiercely positive presence in the world. He was a proud alumnus of Arizona State University, where he met and married the love of his life. He was a talented classically-trained clarinetist, and a skilled amateur photographer. James enjoyed hiking and camping, watching college football, riding his motorcycle, target shooting, and traveling with his wife, spending long drives in his truck listening to good music, and delighting in the simple moments that gave him the most joy. He also was an animal lover and was devoted to his many pets through the years.

James is survived by his wife, Linda; parents Rebecca and Ricardo; siblings Pascal and Rebecca; grandmother Josephine; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, and a nephew. He will be missed immensely by those who knew and loved him and will continue to be an inspiration for the strength, dignity, and grace with which he fought his cancer. James never missed an opportunity to express his appreciation to the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Mayo Clinic of Arizona; his family extends their gratitude to those who provided him with compassionate care, as well.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.