Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Amazing Courage, Cool and Calm, When You Least Expect It, Is A rare Quality!

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                   (From left to right, Ruben Guzman, sister Ana Guzman, mother Josefina Guzman, sister Martha Ortiz, and sister Maggie Puente)

On behalf of my wife Martha and her entire family, we wish to express our deepest gratitude for all of those gracious people who responded to our request for prayers during this great moment of grief and sadness.

Martha’s brother Ruben Guzman passed away on March 29, 2010 at precisely 6:04 PM. The preceding 36 hours were filled with extreme grief and sadness as Ruben lay in his hospital bed, at Kaiser Hospital in Fontana, California, basically in a coma from internal bleeding; the last twelve hours with virtually no vital organ functions, depending on life support systems to keep him alive.

Martha and her daughter Gina (both Registered Nurses employed at another hospital) volunteered to monitor Ruben from the very beginning of his admittance. Hospital officials, immediately impressed with their professionalism and nursing capabilities, allowed them to assist the hospital ICU staff. Both took turns for eight hour shifts monitoring Ruben’s vital signs, while many family members (like sister Maggie Punete) remained at his side, praying and consoling one another. Martha, Maggie and Gina’s cool and calm demeanor provided family and friends with the assurance Ruben was in good hands. Nevertheless, Ruben succumbed. Maggie, a Christian minister and a prison chaplain, delivered the last rights.

Our brother Ruben is no longer shackled with life’s burdens!”

The last 48 hours have been filled with much sadness and grief, realizing they have lost a precious loved one at such an early and the unexpected age of 47 years old. Any loss of family members is traumatic. When a loved one passes away from a long-term illness, such as cancer and other life-threatening diseases, we prepare ourselves for the eventuality, which can take weeks, months and even years. When it happens so suddenly, family members and friends are dumbfounded. Such is the case with Ruben Guzman’s death.
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RN’s Martha Ortiz and daughter Gina Abrego

I personally have to share an extremely humbling reaction to these past two day. As I witnessed my wife Martha and her daughter Gina’s gentle, loving and nursing care, their calm and professional demeanor throughout this whole ordeal, I have to express sheer profound awe and amazement. I hear stories from my wife when she comes home from a 12 hour shift at her hospital, and more than often moved as she recounts detail by detail the events that ensued during the preceding evening.  I’m so awed and impressed solely by the details she shares with me. I am always filled with great pride and husband honor as she relays the instantaneous details (and life threatening issues) that require immediate life sustaining decisions. But to witness her and Gina actually performing those duties, right in front of me, makes my contributions to society pale by comparison.

I didn’t stay at the hospital throughout the entire ordeal, spending a few hours and then went home to handle phone calls from concerned friends and relatives. I was not there when Ruben took his last breath. But, yet, my heart broke when Martha called me to tell me that Ruben had succumbed. Her tears during the phone call broke my heart, wishing I had stayed longer, yet no one truly knowing when the time would come.

The beauty of my wife, sister Maggie and her daughter Gina, is their humanity; strong when they have to be, yet fragile when their duty ended. No one can criticize them for sobbing throughout the rest of the evening until the wee hours of the mourning (pun intended); they had lost the physical presence of a dear and beloved family member. A few hours after Ruben passed away, his other sister Ana, her kids ( who all waited patiently during the entire ordeal) joined Martha, Maggie, and Gina drove to Ruben’s mother’s home, Josefina, to be by her side as she informed her husband (Ruben’s father) that his son had died. How does any one person have the strength to do this after being on duty for 36 hours? It’s one thing to be a nurse to an unknown patient during a twelve hour shift (and many of those have died while they were on duty); but to care for a relative who dies in your hands, after tending to them for 36 hours, and then drive a distance to bear the sad tidings to the father of the deceased, is more unimaginable courage and strength than I have ever witnessed! I’m so proud to be a member of this great family!
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In attendance throughout the ordeal, were five generations of Ruben’s mother's family, Josefina Guzman. Next to her, is daughter, Martha Ortiz; grand daughter Gina Abrego; great grand daughter Janina Thompson; and great, great grand daughter, DaLayLa Thompson.

The Bible itself tells us that grieving is a natural process, which is allowed to last a minimum of 30 days and longer. I know Martha, Maggie and Gina (and all of Ruben's sons and daughters, parents and friends) may grieve longer than this. I hope to be a source of comfort for them during this period. But, more importantly, I have to say that the courage, verve and strength that these courageous woman demonstrated during this most grievous time, will be indelibly etched in my mind, heart and soul forever!

Ruben Guzman 
9/11/1962 - 3/29/2010

Once again, dear friends, family members and colleagues, we are forever in your debt with gratitude for your prayers, condolences and support!

Oh? Why do I share this with you? While we are extremely grateful for your prayers, we realize that God dearly loves to hear directly from His children. Hopefully, not just during times of need and those great moments of ordeal, but when there are no reasons to cry out for His help .

Hey! He loves your company and misses spending time with you!


Joe Ortiz


  1. thatn you for sharing Joe. I really am sorry for your familys loss my prayers for you all.

  2. my prayers are with you and your loved ones

  3. Indeed Ruben was very blessed to have such a great loving familia, Hermana Martha and you my brother always supporting your beautiful courageous wife. As I said to you over the phone a few days ago, my prayers, love and support are felt for Martha y familia. I believe we are eternal beings and when someone passes on they serve as teachers, we have an opportunity to learn from their life and legacy. Please go to health food store and buy some 'Rescue Remedy' from Bach Flowers, make sure Martha and whoever else takes it, it is very helpful and all natural for grief etc. Also my Hyssop herbal extract would be helpful since it is a metabolic balancing herb and blood purifier. My prayers are with Ruben for a smooth, spiritual transition into eternal Bliss. Blessings and Hugs to Martha, family & you brother Joe. Amor, Irma Garcia-Sinclair

  4. So sorry to hear about the loss of the loved one. May the Lord be real and wonderful as He comforts the loved ones who will be missing Ruben greatly. Love to all, WanDave