Adryan Pena says he will always remember his mother Diana Cordova Pena’s persistent smile and her advice.
“You need to be happy, cheer up. It's a bad time, but still, you need to be happy, just get your mind off of it. Do something productive,” the 13-year-old recalled her saying.
She would give such advice even when she was very sick with breast cancer, he added.
The Miami-Dade Police officer died this week after fighting the disease for three years.
On Thursday, her relatives were surrounded by her work family, as they remembered a determined and inspirational woman.
“She's a ray of light, she's an inspiration for me, my son, all my friends here,” said her husband, Luis Pena.
It was very important for her to be a Miami-Dade Police officer, he said. She worked for the department for six years, most recently in the community service unit in the northwest district – coming to work until it became physically impossible.
“She was in the office a couple of weeks ago, wanting to do things, wanting to be involved, wanting to be a police officer,” Major Ignacio Alvarez said.
The gathering Thursday was full of Cordova Pena’s colleagues – those who made sure she went zip lining and parasailing when she knew her life was ending.
“We had so much fun, it was an amazing day, and I cherish every moment that we all shared with her, that she gave to us. All the moments,” Officer Leyane Casas said. “Her bucket list was our bucket list.”