On July 23, 2021, I lost my son, Ivan James Alafanso Blanco.
The loss of a child is the worst trauma a parent can face. Even at 45 years old, even with his personal and career successes, even with the respect he had in government, Ivan was still my beloved child. Jimbo, I called him.
But I am writing now not to mourn my son, nor to ask for your condolences. I have mourned and will always mourn, and the community has given me an outpouring of condolences from the Marianas and throughout Micronesia.
I am writing to thank all of you who accepted Ivan into your lives and your hearts over these 40-some years. I am grateful to the friends Ivan made during his years on Saipan, friends who always treated him as one of their own, even when he came back to Saipan after 30 years away. I am also grateful to Ivan’s colleagues in government who recognized the genuine goodness in Ivan, and who respected his intelligence and integrity beyond the daily political squabbles.
I thank also those who criticized Ivan, and kept him on his toes. I was his first critic, and I am glad I was not his last. As his father, I can only apologize on his behalf to anyone he slighted. Please know that Ivan held no malice in his heart, the heart that so suddenly stopped beating that Friday afternoon.
I thank the brave first responders at the Department of Public Safety and medical staff at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. who went beyond the call of duty and truly did everything possible to revive Ivan’s heart and try to save Ivan’s life. God had other plans for him, but I will always be grateful to you for trying to extend Ivan’s stay with us in this world. Ivan is now with his beloved son, Pierre, leaving behind his other children: Lily, JC, Kide, and Paige, as well as Ivan’s wife, his beloved Carmen.
Most of all, I thank Ivan’s wife, Carmen Sablan Blanco. Ivan was a great man, but not a perfect man. None of us are. Carmen was by his side at every moment, and Ivan’s personal and political successes only happened with her tremendous love for Ivan and her belief in his life mission. Ivan’s heart was always hers.
As you remember Ivan’s life, I ask that you also remember my great thanks for having supported Ivan throughout his life. As you mourn him, don’t shy away from celebrating Ivan’s life, his heart, and the support you always gave his endeavors.
Juan Diego Camacho Blanco
Father of Ivan James Alafanso Blanco
As Gonno, Saipan