I met Dan & Teresita Dabrieo in 2000 when I was living and working in Washington DC. I was nearing the end of my projects & planned stay in DC and from the moment we met, I knew she would always be someone special in my life. She was kind, exuberant, and most of all, we just “clicked.” I extended my stay for a couple more weeks, staying at their home & spending almost every waking hour talking, laughing, and crying with Teresita. I recall staying up into the wee hours, curled up on her couch with one or both of her dogs and gabbing the night away. When it was time for me to go back to L.A., I knew that I had made a friend for life.
It was Teresita’s friendship & love which helped me get through some of the darkest days; without her, I would undoubtedly not be in the place that I am in today. Even though we could go many months without talking, we always seemed to pick up as if only a couple of days had passed. I’m lucky that I am able to consider her one of my closest friends in the world.
A few years ago, I was shocked with the news that Teresita had suffered a severe stroke. However, with Teresita’s indominable spirit, she recovered from the stroke at a miraculous speed. I don’t remember all the details of her medical history, but I do know that after sometime that, her doctors discovered that she had some heart problems. Of course, Teresita bounced back and was the “Miracle Patient.” Despite these obstacles, Teresita was always positive and amazing.
On Monday afternoon, after the morning of car hell, I looked at my phone (which I’d left at home all morning) and saw that I had a missed call from the morning. It was from the Dan’s cell phone and I thought it was strange that Dan was calling me and not Teresita. When called him back and heard his voice, I felt a horrible sinking feeling in my chest.
Teresita had gone into the hospital for a planned surgery in late December and went through a series of ups & downs. On Monday morning, Teresita went into cardiac arrest and passed away.
I was so touched that Dan thought to call me and let me know. With everything else he was going through and handling that morning, I am so grateful that Dan knew that I would appreciate knowing, even if it was the worst possible news I could’ve heard.
Two days later, I am still in shock. I spoke to Teresita about a month ago and we talked about our plans for the future and how excited we were about things that were going on in our lives. I am honored that I ever had the great fortune to learn from this great woman. I cherish all our shared times together & all our phone conversations & all the laughs we shared.
I posted one of the only photographs of the two of us together, taken sometime in early 2003. If you look carefully at Teresita’s shirt, you can see a food stain on her shirt. We are definitely kindred spirits in more ways than one.