On March 10th, my cousin, Carlos Reyes lost his life at the young age of 28 in a tragic motorcycle accident. People tend to automatically assume when there’s an accident involving a motorcycle that the cyclist is the one at fault, but this was not the case. Carlos was swindled out of his life by a reckless driver in a car whose poor judgement also claimed the life of the passenger in the car (the driver’s wife) and still has the driver in a coma.
There are no words to properly justify the devastation this tragedy has caused our families. Though Carlos was not at fault, there was a second innocent life lost in all of this and there is another family that is suffering the same pain we are.
Growing up, though I loved all of my cousins, I was always closest to Carlos and his brother Nick. The two of them have always been my loves; I adore them and the ground they walk on; I always have. They were my first friends and to this day, though at times we may be distant, we’d still do anything for each other.
Loosing Carlos has got to be the single most hardest thing I’ve ever had to experience in this life. I always knew that I loved him, but I never realized just how much. His departure had completely broken my heart, shattered my hopes and had left me with the deepest emptiness in my soul that I honestly lost all desire to continue. Billie Holiday said it best in Gloomy Sunday, “Angles have no thoughts of ever returning you. Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?” It wasn’t just my personal pain that made me feel this way. It was having to see the pain in Nick, our grandmother and the rest of the cousins that was even more difficult. And the worst of all, the thought of what was to happen to his son, Carlos Jr.
But after every storm there comes the sun. I could never in a million years say that I am glad that Carlos lost his life; I would gladly give up my own for his return, but I can honestly say that I am grateful for the gifts he gave me when he left. I’ve come to realize the things that truly matter in this life. I had been given tiny glimpses of them before, through the loss of other loved ones, but never like this. The person who I was up until the 10th, is not the person I am now. And a family that was once segregated has now been reunited.
Before Carlos’ passing, I had only a handful of cousins and one Uncle left and now I have over 13 cousins, and after 14 years of my Aunt Raisa’s passing (Carlos & Nick’s mother) I have Aunts and I have Uncles; all that I knew when I was a young child, but never as a teenager or adult. And now that I have them in my life again, you better believe that I’m never letting go.
The love and support that I have been able to give and receive from my immediate family and the newly discovered one is the only thing that has gotten me through this as sanely as I have. We didn’t even know it, but we needed each other and for this, I thank Carlos from the bottom of my heart.
I’m well aware of the saying, “Time heals all wounds,” and maybe it’s so, but Carlos is not someone I will ever forget. It’s still almost unreal to believe he’s not here anymore, but like Pink says in Who Knew?, “I’ll keep you locked in my head until we meet again.”
Thank you for everything Carlos. I love you, now and forever.
Carlos Rey Reyes
1.6.84 – 3.10.12