My favorite memory of my cowsin Bayani is from over 30 years ago. Even though we lived very close by, we didn’t see him much. We did care for him and wanted to be with him, but there were some boundaries that the adults kept that we kids went along with even though we didn’t understand.
One time, when he was around 10 years old, cowsin Bayani needed a ride somewhere important, and the adults in his life couldn’t swing it. I remember we were happy to go pick him up and give him a ride to where he needed to be.
I remember it was a sunny late summer or early fall afternoon, and us kids were sitting in the back of the van. My sister and I were clowning as usual, and Bayani seemed shy or at least not very talkative. I remember that he was happy to be with us, and that he had a deep Mari chuckle, the same one his dad and all his sisters have, the same chuckle that my cowsins in Daly City have.
As adults we reconnected on Facebook, and we were glad to find each other. We didn’t find a way to reconnect in person, mostly because of the distance between us. I was either in Seattle working, or living in California; his life was in the Thurston County. I think he felt hurt that we weren’t a bigger part of his life as he was growing up, I certainly regret that as well.
I admired Cowsin Bayani’s adventures, catching salmon. I think he struggled sometimes, and the last time I saw him post on Facebook, I wanted to post him some words of support. However, it was late at night, and I figured my encouragement would land better after a good sleep and some perspective.
The following day, I got a message from a relative in Canada, who forwarded me the sad newspaper article. Bayani Mari, my first cousin, had died on a highway in the early morning. He was 42. Eternal rest grant unto him o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul rest in peace.