Following up yesterday’s story about my friend’s death

What has happened in the 24 hours since I wrote my journal entry about my friend’s death; your responses, twitters, comments, e-mails and more. And then, the most unlikely, and ultimately beautiful, email. It’s quite interesting what a day can make. I wish I could tell you I was strong, that I held on and went about my day with stoic conviction. But I just couldn’t, and so… I didn’t.

It came in waves, honestly. I’d be fine, and then I’d get a comment on my blog, and I continually made the unfortunate decision of re-reading what I wrote. I don’t know why, but I guess it’s a lot like a book you’re not quite ready to put down. You just re-read certain sections to re-imagine or re-live the moments you either witnessed or felt. There’s no other way to put it: I cried a lot yesterday.

The very first person to write was an acquaintance really. We sort of knew people mutually, but she found the time to say some very kind words (including a sad note on her own end of a friend who was murdered). Old bandmates wrote in. An old high school buddy whom I haven’t seen or spoken to since High School wrote in. Shocked friends, neighbors, fans all wrote in such kind and comforting words. Even a person who was simply googling “Mario Fernando Hernandez” because he read the article on a news site stood up to be counted among those who write comforting words.

The word “assassination” is just so particularly jarring. All who read were just as shocked as I. But yesterday I had not the energy to reply. In some strange way, I shut down, and just observed. So I simply read, was comforted…and listened.

Then, later in the afternoon, came to pass a sequence of events I simply didn’t anticipate; one in which the gratitude I have for it I may have not yet completely come to grips with.

It started yesterday, around 12:30 my time. I had passed my blog entry along to my Mom. She called and expressed such happiness that I wrote what I did.

“I didn’t remember half of the memories you described in what you wrote!” She replied. “I was so surprised you did, and wow, you just put it so well!”

She asked if she could send it to the family in Honduras, and of course, I said yes.

I then asked her if there was a way I could get a hold of Fabrizia (Fernando’s older sister; yea, the one I had the hots for as an 11 year old), so I could pass along a note to Fernando’s wife and kids. I just wanted to share my feelings with her and them (I’m still writing the e-mail, but haven’t hit “send” yet).

An hour after my Mother forwarded my blog post to family in Honduras, my Tia Georgina was the first to write. Very kind; a lot about strength and God (for those who are people of faith, this is of utmost importance) and that sort of thing. Just kindness, followed with a family’s usual curiosity about kids on the way (my wife is in her 19th week). Very sweet and I was happy to hear from her.

Then, later that evening, at about 7 PM my time, it came. And not here on this blog. Nor by e-mail.

It came via Facebook.

It was in English, and it simply said:

“i just saw you blog, i am mario fernando’s wife.
He talked a lot about you, you were a good friend and he had great memories of you.

Thank you for being his friend!”

I don’t think I can properly express how affected I was by this simple, effective and tremendously kind gesture of words.

And yet, at first, I dove immediately into a bit of a emotional tailspin. Fernando was on Facebook??  All this time??  He was RIGHT.THERE. And I didn’t know it??  It broke my heart all over again.

Just then, just as I was angrily beating myself up —and, as if on cue— my dogs rushed in. It was 30 minutes past their walktime, and they were urgently requesting me, with little interest in the reasons why I was late.  So, I shuffled them downstairs, leashed them, & walked outside into a dark, choked LA Monday night. There, it became more clear. As they sniffed away, and well, I sniffled away, I saw it for what it was:

Her words had just healed me.

I came to find out the funeral was today, and she had time to write me. She had time to tell me that, for Fernando, the feeling was mutual.

That simple facebook e-mail, in English no less, gave me what I think I needed most: A window into his heart as an adult. I knew him well as a child, but how could I know whether he had changed or moved on or whatever?

How she found me, so quickly, and even had the energy to write after all she has been through (and undoubtedly just hours after the funeral) is still a beautiful mystery to me. After I walked the dogs, I immediately wrote her back and expressed things that shall remain between her and me. But in a nutshell, I can certainly give to you a summary of what I said:

“Thank you.”

Rest in peace, Ferny.

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Comments (2)

Wow, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I dropped by the web site just to say thanks for the new album — I was listening to it on the way home from work today, and enjoying it a lot.

I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose a good friend in such a violent manner. I’m glad to hear that you’ve had a chance to connect with his family.

Wow. Astonishing and beautiful.

Thank YOU, Chance.

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