Unconditionally loving, caring, funny, a true friend, unforgettable
Shy, but perpetually smiling, Giovanni could make you laugh even if you didn’t know what was being laughed at. He had an innocence about him that made him always see the good side of everyone. He was forgiving, loving, and a true gentleman. Gio would wake each morning with a smile from ear to ear, open his arms and give his mom the longest hug–so long she would say, “I would like to stay like this forever, but you have to get ready for school.”
Gio didn’t speak until he was two years old and stuttered for a time. Since he was so quiet, his classmates bullied him and called him mute. His teachers, not understanding he had a learning disability, felt he was lazy. It was only when his parents consulted a psychologist that it was determined he had a bona fine learning disability, something the school did not assess. By high school, he was frustrated with school and started homeschooling with a private teacher. Completing high school was a big accomplishment for him. He applied to college but was denied accommodations for his learning needs, so he didn’t continue.
Christmas was a special time in the Delgado family. The family played Christmas music and gathered around the tree to open presents. A nice breakfast and church followed. In the summers, the family visited Gio’s grandparents in Puerto Rico. Gio was passionate about exercising, staying fit, and eating well. He shared his knowledge with others, often designing their exercise routines.
Gio was a significant support to his mom, Isabel when his father passed away five years before he did, even while going through his own grief of losing his father. “I don’t know how I would have coped without him,” his mother said.
Gio worked as a transporter in a hospital. He was promoted and awarded employee of the quarter. He came out of his shell, going from a complete introvert to supervising a hospital department. Unfortunately, he was terminated from his job when the hospital learned about his addiction. He went for treatment and then to a private college to pursue a career in massage therapy.
The youngest of three siblings, Gio’s best friend was his older brother Gerardo. They enjoyed playing video games together. His stepsister, Yailyn, though 14 years older, enjoyed watching movies with Gio and hanging out together. Gio had a girlfriend, Ariel, whom he helped with personal training. She and her young son were very fond of Gio.
Gio worked hard to overcome his addiction, sometimes detoxing on his own. His mom said she lived in constant fear of losing Gio. It scared her that he might overdose, and she would not be there to help; that is exactly what happened. She misses his laughter, his friendship, his support, his love, and sweet smile. Isabel said, “I now have a different way of looking at this disease, and I educate people who don’t understand addiction.”
Giovanni’s mother, Isabel Delgado, provided the information for this narrative.
May 14, 1990-March 15, 2017
Age 26-Live with the disease of addiction for two years