Social Encore: Celebrating life in San Francisco
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Last weekend, I made an emergency trip to San Francisco. With a heavy heart, I didn’t want to stare pain in the face, but I knew that I had to pay my final respects to a woman who brightened the lives of many others.
My friend Gail Gabriel Cacho was a beautiful soul. She died last month from lung cancer, but the impact she made on people she met was evident during the three-day funeral service.
Tons of family and friends — especially from Hawaii, California and Las Vegas — attended to bid farewell.
As many could agree, our friend Gail was a free spirit and she had this contagious positivity that was just undeniable. During her service, many of us reflected on the memories we had with her but also reflected on lessons she had unknowingly taught us.
Being in San Francisco, I was able to spend quality time with family and friends. I caught up on their lives and realized with everyone coming together for Gail’s services, we tend to forget sometimes what is really important.
To me, family and friends are important. Being surrounded by the people you love and people who genuinely love and care for you is a must.
I was able to catch up with a I haven’t seen since 2001. I also met an 8-year-old niece for the first time. Family is my foundation, and the fact that I was able to spend a couple of nights just getting reacquainted has encouraged the cousins to make an effort to meet at least once a year.
Gail always had a hunger for life. A music fanatic, a foodie and a traveler herself, she was comfortable with exploring and absorbing the best that life had to offer. Thinking of her during the trip to San Francisco, it encouraged me to explore parts of the city that were ambiguous to me.
Her family and especially her husband, Jason Cacho, were so strong from her diagnosis until the end. Jason and Gail have a love story that feels like it is straight from a movie. They spent the first four years of their relationship long distance. Gail was in Las Vegas, while Jason was in Hawaii for school.
To many of their friends and myself, they were the true definition of love. They made you feel like there was such a thing as soulmates and there is such a thing as being better than love and stronger than cancer.
At the reception after her burial, many of us celebrated in true Gail fashion. We reminisced, ate, drank and danced the night away in memory of her.
Her best friend Laurie Viloria said it best: “In life and in death, Gail had taught us to always celebrate life.”
We did exactly that.
A lot of us miss you Gail. Thank you for being a part of our lives and for inspiring us all.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.