"He was kind, caring, and had a huge heart for others."
It has been eight weeks since my son took his last breath, and during this time, our family and the community have shared more stories than we ever expected. Some of these stories are difficult to hear, but most embody great character, lifelong memories, and enjoyable experiences.
Gavyn's closest friends often recall that his most significant quality was showing up for them when they needed support the most. He was always there, offering unwavering backing and genuine encouragement.
Classmates from all walks of life remember how Gavyn would start conversations with a smile, an engaging handshake, and a knack for making them laugh, even in inappropriate moments. Teachers, counselors, mentors, and principals with decades-long careers marveled at Gavyn's presence and unique ability to connect with anyone in the room. Among thousands of students, they are certain that Gavyn will forever be etched in their memories.
We used to chuckle when Gavyn would boast, "I know everybody around here," smiling and exuding confidence. After hearing countless stories, it turns out he wasn't exaggerating. Gavyn connected with people of all ages and backgrounds and across all corners of the community. We've heard tales of his kindness when and where we least expected it. It's truly remarkable how many lives he influenced in such a short time.
He was not just a son, grandson, great-grandson, and great-great-grandson. He was a brother, a little brother-like figure, an uncle, a cousin, and a friend to many. People, both near and far, cherished receiving random messages from Gavyn out of the blue to check in and see how they were doing. He undeniably possessed a big heart and courageously stood up for others, shared his opinions, and protected those in need, including myself.
Through his kindness, compassion, and care, Gavyn brought joy and hope into the lives of others. He was there for the sick, the weak, the tired, and the broken. He created the most memorable moments, ignited laughter, inspired others, and profoundly impacted my life and the lives of many others. This influence continues, perhaps even more so, to this day.
Now, more than ever, I am certain I raised a kind and compassionate child. As a family, along with our friends and various communities, we helped nurture a caring individual. Of course, Gavyn wasn't always perfect, as hurt people tend to hurt others, including themselves. However, when he embraced his true self, he wore his heart on his sleeve and gave the best of himself to the world, always with a touch of style.
We can all learn a valuable lesson from Gavyn. First and foremost, the way we treat others truly matters. People won't remember what you owned or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Like Gavyn, let's greet others with a smile, check in on our loved ones, cultivate deeper connections, show up, have fun, be creative, and laugh wholeheartedly. Life is too short to do otherwise. How will you choose to live yours?
P.S. Our family would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has reached out to us during this challenging time. Your messages, comments, letters, books, cards, videos, phone calls, emails, and personal interactions have brought us hope and solace. As a father, your stories about my son have filled me with joy amidst the early stages of grief, easing the burden of guilt, shame, anger, and immense sadness. Your kindness has made Gavyn proud, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
With much love,
The Alvarado Family