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By Chandrama Anderson

I smile, I laugh, and pretend I’m okay

Uploaded: Mar 1, 2019

I went to a memorial service for Andres Miranda, who almost made it to 20 years old. He died of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) after having been diagnosed at 4 months. The church was filled with family and friends, people from the hospital. Andres made friends with everyone. He lived life as fully as he could. He graduated high school, he went biking. He reached for the stars. He connected and helped others, even when he was hospitalized. He danced sitting down. He was an artist and poet.

We have a lot to learn from him:
- Live your life fully and well.
- Appreciate what you have, especially your health.
- Connect with people, especially your beloved.
- Help others.
- Fight the good fight.
- Stay strong.
- Don’t complain.

Here’s a poem Andres wrote in November 2017:

“Everyday there’s a constant fight. But not everyone can see; that the fight is between my body and me.

I hurt, I cough, I breathe. I just want a break, is that so hard to see? They say I’m a hero, and they say I’m strong. But sometimes I think they’re all wrong.

I smile, I laugh, and pretend I’m okay. Truthfully, that’s how I make it, day by day. I constantly hear healthy people complain. Seriously? How many times have you had a needle shoved through your chest?

I sit, I cough, I gasp for air, and at the same time, it feels like my lungs are starting to tear. Doctors, treatments, needles and pills. Just the sound of them, give people the chills.

I’m fighting. I’m breathing. At times, I’m simply deceiving. It might seem simple, maybe easily done. But I’m fighting my whole life, and this battle I still haven’t won.

You know I’m greatly jealous of you. Because you have lungs that, for me, would be considered brand new. But really, what else should I say? I shouldn’t just sit here and complain. I have my friends, my family, and I have myself. That’s really all I need, even if I’m not in great health.

I’m going to fight. I’m going to win. I’m going to use all the strength I have within. I’ve come this far along. And I promise you I’m going to stay strong. Thousands of people, fighting to breathe everyday. Thousands of people, wanting to be okay.”

Here’s in memory to you, Andres. And to your family, and your foster parents. May their love and grief hold you and comfort them.

To learn more about CF visit http://med.stanford.edu/cfcenter.html

To donate in his memory go to CFF.org/donate