It's been just over two weeks since our dear friend Bernie passed away unexpectedly. What an emotional rollercoaster it's been. The grief process is a truly strange experience; of it I know two things for sure. It's not a linear process, and everyone's experience is unique to them. I've learned that I'm not much of a crier. Aside from very moving parts of his funeral (the viewing, seeing his closest friends and family break down in heartbreaking sobs), I didn't cry much after learning he passed and through the funeral. It's funny - now that the events are over, his passing hits me in the moments I have alone in my own thoughts. My thoughts quickly progress, and in those moments I shed a tear.
How could you not be here, cracking a joke somewhere at someone's expense? How is it possible I'll never see you out and about? How will Jacob's and my eventual wedding look if you're not the life of the party? I felt like I wasn't showing enough grief by not crying, but it hits us all at different times. While I still don't really feel like it's sunken in (will I ever?), thoughts of his irreplaceable presence bring the tears. Releasing the expectations of what the grief process should look like make it a lot easier to recognize your grief is just as valid as everyone else's.
Bernie had a way of touching so many different kinds of people, and so hundreds turned out for his funeral. Grateful to work through tough times with my second family.
A remembrance tee by Bernie's friend Ricardo.
The most incredible thing to witness was the strength of Bernie's closest family and friends. His mom. Noah, his son and Noah's mom Val. His girlfriend, Alex. His 'tripod', BB and Mike. His brother Daniel. His best friend Saul. In the midst of their heartbreak and sadness, they were able to draw so much strength to celebrate his life the day of his funeral. Laughs as they fondly remembered how he touched their lives. Their smiles as they greeted us and so many others who turned out for his burial. The amazing signs they saw Bernie give them the day of his funeral (rainbows, a bald eagle flying over his gravesite and a cloud forming a huge angel that cast over his reception.) I felt empty and sad, and here they were drawing strength from Bernie's spirit and in the others around them. Their inspiration brought me to tears too.
Reunited with my Niketown family! Saul and big head Bernie in the middle.
Bernie, through his spirit and through those closest to him, would want us to live our life every day to the fullest.
Live. Love. Life.
tatted across his clavicle. And so I'll carry you with me in spirit, as we all will. It's nice to know there's a fiesty angel up there taking care of my Meatball.
Thank you to all of you kind souls who've offered your condolences and support. I've had a couple of you ask where you can donate to for his memorial fund. You can make donations at your local Bank of America to The Noah Horcajo Trust / The Bernie Horcajo Memorial Fund. Thanks again!