This boy I once knew…

A week has passed and still he is on my mind: my (step)cousin. After my uncle and aunt decided to move away in 1998, I never saw them again after that. Life took over and everyone did their thing. It was almost like they became complete strangers, although we are family. But even though there is some distance, we all still have love for one another and during tough times we can count on each other.

The last time I saw my cousin, Eric, was when he was just a child of the mere age of 10 or 11… maybe about the same age as Desi is now. I was 16-17 when I used to babysit him and his little brothers (when it was just the three of them). My uncle would pick me up to stay at his house while he and my aunt would go on their dates. I remember how smart he was for his age. That quality stood out. He was too smart for his own good. He was such a good boy and he would make me laugh. All those good qualities about him carried on to his adulthood. He had so much going for him. He was married to the love of his life, he was in the Marines, and when he got out of the military he went straight to law school full-time and obtained his degree just a few months ago. He was 31 and had accomplished so much.

He committed suicide on the 29th of Nov. I didn’t find out till a couple of days after. It came like a shock wave as everyone in our family heard of the tragic news. It truly saddens me. I fight back tears knowing that my uncle and my aunt are heartbroken and devastated with the loss of their son. I can’t even imagine what his wife is going through right now. It makes me sad to know that my cousins lost their older brother. It saddens me to know that I lost a cousin, someone I never had the chance to get to know while he grew up to become a man that many are proud to know.

From what I heard, he was an all-around good guy. He treated everyone with respect and never belittled anyone just because they may not know as much as he did and he didn’t make anyone feel like they weren’t good enough. He would sometimes challenge others’ views that may differ from his, but he did so in a respectable manner. He had a big heart and he knew how to make people laugh according to the stories that were shared in his FB page by his friends he made in law school, his brothers in combat, and the people who loved him.

Just hearing stories of the kind of man he was and the positive impact he had on others warmed my heart and seeing that it provided solace for my grieving aunt, brought me some comfort. I wish I can make it to his funeral back home in Colorado Springs this Monday to say goodbye and to show my respect. The next time I visit home, I will have to visit his grave. I still see him as this little kid with big brown eyes that were full of wonder and curiosity of the world around him. At least now his soul is free, free from whatever was tormenting his spirit. I just wish he didn’t have to go so soon. I pray that his soul is at peace.