The Palacios family came into my life for a Give Back Session in the early Fall of 2018 and I am so incredibly grateful to have met them and captured a small part of their journey.
When Jackie first reach out, we spoke candidly about the fact that her strong, hard-working, smart, loving husband had just been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She explained that all the members of their family were scrambling to wrap their minds around it, but that one thing was certain: they wanted to take photos with the entire family right now to commemorate their tight-knit bond before treatment started, “just in case”. When someone says “just in case” in a conversation like this, you don’t even have to think. You hold back the tears stinging your own eyes and say, “absolutely I can fit you in, are you free Saturday morning?”.
When we met that morning I was blown away by the smiling and laughing faces before me. There was no moping and no sadness, just endless love and appreciation for their patriarch and everything he’s done for their family. Jackie and Raphael have 4 amazing kids and a whole gaggle of adorable grandkids. He was very recently blessed with an additional granddaughter that he was able to meet and enjoy. I relished the experience of seeing Raphael interact and draw strength from all the joy he was surrounded by. He was definitely a fighter, and his whole family would be the team he needed to get him through this. They constantly assured me they’d be right there with him every step of the way.
It came as no surprise to me that Rafael is affectionately nicknamed “Superman” by many of his friends and family. Even before his diagnosis, he was working out, giving back to his community, and overall living life to the fullest. It is with a heavy heart and tremendous sadness to have learned of his passing over the past weekend. He was in hospice at home, surrounded by his beautiful family, and I know he felt loved and treasured in his last moments with them.
In hindsight, the nickname Superman seems to have come with a purpose; to be a reminder of his strength in all of life’s challenges. Rafael was Superman and Superdad and no one will ever forget that. If you’re wondering what you can do to celebrate Rafael’s life, take some time to give to The American Cancer Society and/or attend their fundraiser, Relay for Life, this coming Saturday. Please also send all of our thoughts and love to the Palacios family during this incredibly difficult time. Rest in Peace Superman.