Hide From The Reckoning of 9/29/18

Hide From The Reckoning of 9/29/18

I’ve always associated suicide with alcoholism, so I haven’t always carried empathy to a “self-induced disease.” One day I got the worst call I could ever imagine, my nephew, known as “Happy Hernandez” took his own life. A young man full of life’s potential, a young man who already had so many accomplishments and successes, a young man surrounded by love. How could it be? Our worlds will never be the same and I now have a deeper understanding for those who suffer silently while wearing a smile on their face, every-single-day.

Andrew and I were always together at family functions and as he got older we started becoming interested in more of the same things. We began hiking and kayaking together and always took pictures as evidence of our adventures. He involved me in his relationship just like I was one of his friends and I got to get to know her as my assistant at work.  They were my all time favorite couple and I absolutely loved taking their pictures. Yes, I am his Aunt, but I’ve always been his sister and best friend. We talked about everything, and I miss hearing about his plans and telling him about my dreams. I’m dreading the day I realize that our pictures don’t seem new to me. I’m dreading the day where I don’t look the same as those pictures that I post – when my face turns soft and wrinkled with laugh lines of memories that don’t have him in them. When his face remains as young and vibrant as the only memories I’ll ever have of him.

I was surprised to hear of the breakup because although he told me what seemed like everything, he never spoke badly about her, ever. The day I learned what happened was the day everyone learned on Facebook. He wrote the most bittersweet post about how he just wants her to be happy and coming from Andrew, he absolutely meant it. I was so proud of how collected he seemed and how mature he was handling it all. He will always have more wisdom than I could ever understand. It seemed like he lived one-hundred years in the past and the future at the same time and only wanted to be loved the same way that he loved – and he had so much love to give.

I don’t know where I went wrong
Or if I did
Like the good ol’ boy I am
I told her that I understand
But Lord knows that I won’,
long as I live
Seems lately every time it rains it pours
I ain’t her cowboy anymore
-George Strait

This girl was the love of his life.

She says she’s gonna leave me, momma. 
But if I’m so much like my dad, 
There must have been times you felt her way. 
So tell me word for word what he said, 
That always made you stay.
– George Strait

A month went by and we were worried about Andrew. I remember it clearly. We were sitting at DeGarmo watching Logan play soccer and keeping Chloe on the leash. We talked openly about the heartache I endured and the steps I took to learn how to love myself – apart from another. We talked openly about a lot of things… Andrew was the type that would rather listen than speak though. I think this is where I went wrong in retrospect. I thought that if I spoke about my vulnerability he would open up about his, but he said very little about his own feelings – aside from agreeing to what I was saying. Andrew knows everybody too. Before we left, he saw a few friends he went to school with and talked to them for awhile. He was walking Chloe at this point and I just remember hugging him and telling him that I loved him. If only I could turn back time, I would’ve spoke less and asked him to talk more instead of trying to fill the silence. I miss his voice so much.

Another month passed and we planned a camping trip to the coast at the end of July. It was our first time at the coast together and I was so excited. We played poker the whole drive over, we saw wildfire, we went on train rides, overall we had a fantastic weekend. But, Andrew also wasn’t himself. I thought maybe it’s because we were with a bunch of people he and Connor didn’t know and they were just being shy, but his heartache was consuming him. I wish there was something I could do.

Once we got back, he asked me to text her.

He asked me to ask her if there was ever a chance for them to get back together, so I did. I always did whatever he asked me to do. She said, “at this point no.” So I tell her, “If that’s what you truly believe you need to stop communicating with him because you’re leading him on.” She said, “I know and I will.” I then had to relay the news to Andrew. I told him that she said they wouldn’t be together and that happiness isn’t found looking back – naturally a quoted George Strait. I asked if he would be ok. He told me that he loved her and had dreams of being with her and how bad his heart was broken. I always made Mandi aware of anything I knew. We hated Andrew hurting so much.

So if you’re gonna break my heart, just break it
And if you’re gonna take your shot, then take it
Take it
If you made up your mind, then make it
Make this fast
If you ever loved me
Have mercy
– Brett Young

On September 29th, 2018, we lost the happiest person in the world to a broken heart. I’m mostly lost, confused, heartbroken and conflicted about this day. Our world changed in an instant. I couldn’t eat, I could barely breathe, I was pregnant and no one knew. I knew how much he loved her, and in my heart I thought in order to fully love Andrew, we had to love her too, but in my head I struggled – I still struggle. The truth is, she’s entitled to live her own life and we sincerely wish her and her family a happy one.

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today
– George Jones

Some of you might consider me crazy, but I try to put myself in those chains he wore. I try to imagine his heartache as if I could figure out this worlds cure for it. I can’t help it, I gravitate towards it. I imagine him lost and longing to be loved – by his soulmate. I imagine every country song tearing him up inside and reminding him of her. I imagine his stomach turning the day she posted a picture of her with someone else. In school we learn mathematics and English, at home we learn character and manners, but nowhere are we taught how to handle heartache. Everyone says time heals all wounds, no it just covers them up. It doesn’t go away, we just don’t give it as much attention.

So what do you got for this empty spot inside of me?
The deep dark hole where love used to be.
Before she ripped it out and ran into the arms of someone else.
Y’all sit in this room and you talk like you got some kind of remedy.
– Gary Allan

I know that there’s nothing I can do to change the past and I’m haunted by the adventures I thought we would share together. I thought he would be Quinn’s best friend, just as we were best friends. I thought I’d get to give a speech as his wedding that would embarrass him a little and make him cry (all while wearing my T-Rex costume, naturally). I still look for him smiling in his truck. I still look at my phone thinking I’d see, “What are you doing” which was the opening for any adventure we wanted to go on. My heart just wants him here so bad. I never imagined this to be his fate.

I hide from the reckoning
I hide from the truth
And I hide from the reckoning
Till I’m lying next to you
– Whiskey Myers

It’s been a year since he past and it feels like it’s been minutes. No one tells you that death doesn’t seem so scary after you lose someone. No one tells you that death even becomes appealing after suffering the heartache of their absence and no one ever speaks about these feelings in fear of being viewed as suicidal yourself. We miss him so badly that we just want to be with him, wherever he is. We feel guilty for having these feelings. We have to face the reality that part of your heart lives here and the other is at peace, in heaven, with him. Tears still stream my face daily at the thought of My Andrew being gone. I still get special visits from him in my dreams. I still feel the same comfort when I think of his hugs. I still smile thinking of his smile. I still catch myself trying to text him or send him a Snapchat picture of my food. I still imagine him as a child running to me with his arms held up high. I remember it all, every little detail. The only conclusion I’ve found is that I’m simply still mourning.

And my heart is sinking like a setting sun,
Setting on the things I wish I’d done.
Oh the last goodbye’s the hardest one to say,
And this is where the cowboy rides away.
-George Strait

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who keeps his memory alive. My family and I  absolutely love talking about him, even if we happen to cry. He was part of our life’s greatest joys and will go on being just that.

I can only imagine – Heritage Singers

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Hernandez Community Service Scholarship

Andrew Hernandez Community Service Scholarship

To honor your loved ones, be the things you loved most about them after they’re gone

Andrew Louis Hernandez was born in Chico, California. As one of his best friends said, “Andrew had a heart of gold, was athletic, caring, funny, determined, and an amazing friend.” He approached all aspects of life with exuberance, kindness and work ethic. Andrew played football and wrestled his entire life. Bringing up countless awards and achievements throughout his athletic career. His teammates knew Andrew would keep them safe on and off the field. Andrew’s enthusiasm for everything he did brought happiness to all those who knew him.

Andrew touched many different individuals and organizations during his life. He coached athletes of all ages, teaching them fundamentals and values of wrestling and football. Andrew wasn’t just an athletic coach though, he was a life coach too, demonstrating by example how to treat people with compassion and patience every day. His family hopes that his kind and compassionate heart will never be forgotten. Andrew will be remembered for accomplishing much in his short lifetime, but his greatest legacy will be his selfless love for God, family, community, and future students that he will never know, but who will benefit from the love and generosity of so many who were impacted by his life. Andrew always had time for others and the ideal candidate for this scholarship will share his enthusiasm for others and his benevolent spirit.

Application: Andrew Hernandez Community Service Scholarship

 

 

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Self Righteous

You point your finger
You laugh at our shame
You boast of your body
and lack judgment of fame

You beg for attention
And call it dimension
You cry for acknowledgement
And welcome any argument

You blame everyone but yourself
We are all wicked,
We are all cruel,
You fail to face humility
and yet, we are the fool

What a lonely life you lead
When you’re always right
And cause unity to secede

Everyone is so self righteous
Forgive me for naming the injustice
Call me friend or call me foe
It really doesn’t matter though
When you’re the only one I see eating crow.

-kristin l. cook

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Black River Run

I close my eyes to open my heart,
I’m not quite sure where to start,
You were my uncle, my best friend,
Your life wasn’t supposed to end.

You were always witty, and clever,
a facetious mastermind
You made the world laugh,
forever humble and kind.

I wish you were here
so time would pass
and we could have one more beer

It’s a bittersweet visual to see
your memory stream down my face
I’m thankful to collect each moment
that time can’t be replaced.

But damn,

without you,
my mascara wouldn’t run
So now I count my tears one by one

-kristin l. cook

In loving memory of Chris Stewart, who will always be my family and partner in crime.

 

 

 

Simple Treasures

Simple Treasures

Caught somewhere between fragile and strong. It kind of feels like the grace of flying as you’re tripping over your shoelace.

She said, I have to go now,
my time here is over
Then she whispered softly,
Time will ease your pain,
Life’s about changing,
Nothing ever stays the same.
And she said,
How can I help you to say goodbye
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye
-Patty Loveless

Monica taught me how to survive, because above all things she was a survivor. She was fearless in all of her pursuits, even if we all knew it was a bad decision. She was brave and courageous, she had to face things I could never dream about and she was graceful in that regard, she didn’t speak of it. She spent most of her life being tough, fighting battles that weren’t hers or battles she didn’t even know about. I’ll admit I was a classic little sister hiding behind her muscle and reputation. Monica gave me much more than material gifts she gave me confidence.

When she loved, she loved passionately, intensely, and boldly. She was our protector and she had so many qualities that I wish I had.

I guess from what I’ve experienced, it’s better to feel, than to be numb.

Random memories soar through my mind all the time. I can imagine a blue ’74 Ford and think it was her driving. I picture her telling me when to shift as she pushed in the clutch and as we took corners too fast. Shania Twain’s “whose bed have your boots been under” blaring in the speakers. So funny, her memory will never fade.

I don’t know that I’d call her a ghost of my memory, but rather my angel of recollection. She’s one of my life’s treasures that I love to share.

Happy 38th!

-kristin l. cook

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Dust Settles, I won’t.

Dust Settles, I won’t.

Born to a world,
trapped in a cage.
with clipped wings,
and a passion to fly.
Dreaming of the wind,
Soaring at new heights,
The spirit of an eagle,
But the life of a lovebird


kristin l. cook

 

This particular poem was inspired by a past relationship.

He was “Reaching” and I was “Settling” although it didn’t feel that way at the time. He told me “if you weren’t with me, I could see you being anywhere, Paris, Montana, anywhere but Corning.”

I guess I was unaware of the potential and natural ambition inside me.
And it’s true, we learn the most about ourselves when we only have ourselves to spend time with. We learn, we grow, we make the impossible, possible, and we live again.

Heroine

Heroine

She was a storm 
that kept you calm
a passionate challenge and defeat

She was unpredictable
like lightning 
igniting your fire
and keeping you awestruck

She was forceful
like a tornado
sweeping through your mind
captivating your thoughts

She was intense
like a blizzard
making you anxious 
for the warmth of her body

She was dangerous
like a hurricane
flooding your soul
and stealing your heart

She would let you drown
so she could save you with her kiss.

-kristin l. cook