Fausto A. Manzera

Beloved Son & Brother
February 26, 1988 - April 10, 2009

On the early morning of Good Friday, April 10, 2009, our family and loved ones' lives were forever changed. Our hearts were broken and left with a void that will never be filled. We were left with a yearning to touch, to hold, to look into his eyes, to see his beautiful contagious smile, but most of all, to hear his precious voice. Our lives shattered and in the blink of an eye, our precious son's life was taken from us. It's been over a year, and the pain and hurt remains the same; it seems as if it were only yesterday. I often sit and wonder where life would have taken him and all the life events that he missed: his loving sister, Jacqueline and Michael's wedding, a picture of him on the alter, 21 doves released in memory of each year of his life, the place set for him but he was not there, and a flower and a candle to represent his spirit. His DePaul's graduating class of 2010, receiving their diploma, and my Fausto was not there. A year of holidays came and went and my Fausto was not there. A young life full of love, character, courage, wisdom, faith, creativeness and the desire to achieve more out of life, gone but never to be forgotten.

It is all because of a personal decision made by off duty Chicago Police Officer, Joseph Frugoli to get behind the wheel of his SUV and drive under the influence of alcohol. Officer Joseph Frugoli consumed over 3x's (.277) the legal limit of alcohol and broke the very laws that under oath he swore to uphold. Not only did he decide to drink and drive, he also chose to flee from the scene of the fatal accident that took the lives of our son Fausto and his friend Andrew Cazares.

Our lives are upside down, loving God. The order of the world is out of place, and we can't do anything to right it again. Oh, Lord, you know the pain in our hearts at all times, and you know why: our child has died. How can it be that our beloved child is gone? The child we cared for with such concern in every illness, the one we held close to our hearts and promised to take care of for a lifetime, is not here for us to care for anymore. It hurts deeply that we weren't able to protect this child we love with our whole being from a death that seems so unfair.

Let us feel calm. Let us breathe deeply. Be with us in this kind of deep and transformative pain. We now carry this darkness with us on our back and in our hearts, always. It is our burden and our companion.

Lord, there is not a single minute of our lives when this loss is not etched so keenly into our brain and hearts, whether it is in the middle of a busy day or in those choking moments of grief in the solitary dark of night. Let us be grateful for every minute we had together. Let us treasure those memories and find joy in them. Help us to deal with people better. They don't know what to say. They stumble and look away when they see us. They pretend nothing has happened. We know they "don't want to remind us" but they don't understand that it is with us always, always.

Teach us, Lord. Tell us what you want us to do with this. What we are supposed to learn from this kind of pain? What are you calling us to do?

Open our battered hearts and lead us to comfort and peace. Only you can give us the peace we need. Let us feel your presence in our lives.

In Loving Memory of Our Beloved Son and Brother, Fausto A. Manzera
Maria I. Velez

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