When those closest to us pass on, whether expectedly or unexpectedly, there comes a point in our grieving process where we look back fondly on our loved one’s life and smile. This smile is a reflection of all the fond memories we’ve shared with this individual, and how we can, from that point forward, celebrate the life they lived rather than dwell on the fact that they are no longer physically present with us. Just because their body no longer exists in space and time, their spirit and soul will never leave. Having never met Luis Gayoso, who passed away in late September at the age of 36, I feel as though his presence still surrounds all those who love him most, solely based on the stories and descriptions I received from those closest to him. These conversations I’ve had with those who knew him best have resonated with me, and I truly feel as though Gayoso lived a life anyone would be proud of.
Gayoso was born in Peru and at age 18 won a scholarship, which allowed him to relocate to the United States to go to school. Gayoso attended Shippensburg University where he earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in International Management and Finance. Gayoso held jobs in his field, and up until his passing worked as a Certified Financial Planner. In addition to his career, Gayoso was a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), Greater Philadelphia Chapter; the past president of ANPA (National Association for Peruvian Americans Philadelphia Chapter), and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Throughout conversations with those closest to him, I learned very quickly that Gayoso was very proud of his Peruvian heritage. Janeth Martinez, who has been a close friend of Gayoso since she met him in 2006, explained that, “wherever he [Luis] went he carried his country within him. No matter who he met, where he was, time or place, he talked about Peru. When Luis left Peru to come to U.S., he took Peru with him wherever he went and represented his country with a positive, shining and energetic attitude.” Luis’ pride and love for his country resonated with him, and through his “heart, mind, and soul,” Martinez added.
Gayoso was involved in competitive swimming when growing up in Peru. At the age of 12, he began to train with Aldo Murakami, a prominent swim coach. During his time training with Murakami, Gayoso began to refine his skills, so that he could qualify to represent Peru in international swimming competitions and meets. “I will always remember Luis for his 200 freestyle, that was his biggest strength when he was competing,” Murakami explained, “he still holds the record time in the 200 freestyle in the entire country of Peru, and just missed qualifying for the Olympics by just milliseconds in that race.”
Gayoso was a leader and motivator at young age. Even when he left Peru to attend school, he continued to help others and achieve all of his dreams and aspirations without forgetting where he came from.
Luis Gayoso lived his life like everyday was his last. He lived life the way he wanted to, and enjoyed and achieved everything he knew he could. “He didn’t let life live him, but he lived life,” Murakami expressed.
It is people like Luis Gayoso who make the world a little brighter just by being around. Although Luis is no longer physically present with us, his spirit and positive attitude lives through his loved ones each and every day. As long as we don’t forget those who leave a mark on our lives, these individuals never truly pass on, but rather live forever.