Broken heart and irreplaceable smile
I can't write this without crying. I feel a whole new level of pain that I have never experienced before. Its surreal and I am still in shock. When I got the call on Sunday night, I felt my heart sink to new depths. As it sits now, my cousin Jake is no longer with me and that is a hard pill to swallow. He was my little brother in a sense.
It all started in 2007. I had just come out of a bad break up with a girl I was engaged to for 4 years that couldn't commit. I had to make the decision for both of us because there was nothing left to do. She moved out in December of 2006. I started singleness in 2007. I was on wellbutrin and had been taking it for a number of years to help with the depression of my divorce and my father's death. I finally decided I was done with that shit. I quit cold turkey.
I phased my life out of the bike shop around March of 2007 as I was getting lots of work in the event space. It was good for me to travel but I had to leave my kitties to the neighbors. The road was challenging, but rewarding. It did a lot for my soul, but not as much as when my cousin Jake was in town in LA.
I was up visiting my mom and found out that my cousin Jourdan and Jake were in town at the same time. Jake had just moved out to live with Jourdan and a roommate in Topanga Canyon. It was around the middle of July and Jake had driven out an old pontiac to be with his brother. I met them both for lunch and we went to the beach, had breakfast and a late lunch and finished off with some love and hugs like long lost cousins do.
Fast forward a few weeks and I get a call from Jake that he is heading back to Mississippi. I asked what happened. He advised me that the roommate died from a heroin overdose and that he blew the rent money and that they were going to have to move out. I didn't even think about it for longer than a second. I asked him to come live with me. He was hesitant at first but agreed to it. I moved my bed into the living room and gave him a private room with the couch and kitties.
It was truly awesome. We shared ideas, stayed up late, drank lots of coffee and worked out at 24 hour fitness. I got him a job at my bicycle store and he was off and running. I shared my life and things as if they were his. He really helped me with the kitties and taking care of my place when I was gone. I felt good knowing that he was there taking care of the kitties.
Time passed and in December he found a girl and started dating her. He moved in with her and I moved back up to north county in February. We stayed in touch and our lives grew somewhat distant. He moved to Nor Cal and started working there. Eventually he moved to Thailand and started fighting Muy Thai. He trained hard and we connected when we could. He met a girl and after some time they had a daughter together named Rosie.
Jake hit a rough patch and eventually had to come home from Thailand. He spent some time in a bad place and I helped to get him home. I loved him. No amount of money could have kept him from coming home. When he arrived, he looked horrible. He shared his experiences and what happened and what went wrong. We broke bread once again, laughed, shared the joys and cried over the losses.
I traveled and so did Jake. We made a plan to meet up in India and did just that. I brought my curiosity and he brought the new girl he loved, Lana. When I met her, I saw a change in Jake. I saw someone who was caring and selfless. In a strange way, Jake had become love. We would reminisce over breakfast about our time together in San Diego. He continually thanked me for allowing him into my home and for all that I had done for him. I said we are family and how could I not.
2 years passed after India and I decided to make my way from Oregon back to San Diego. I missed the sun and needed to reconnect with great people. I found out that Jake was going to be in San Diego in August. I was really happy to reconnect with him. I loved him like a brother. True unconditional love. We broke bread and shared good times. We had beers and reminisced over a good life.
On Thursday, January 25th, Jake called me and asked what I was doing. As fate would have it, I was off that day. He asked if I wanted to hang out and I said yes. Something higher was calling me that day regardless of my desire to go home or wallow in my sorrows this day. I told Jake I would come get him. He advised that it was forty minutes, I told him I didn't care if it was 4 days. I wanted to see him. We talked in the car about staying busy and putting one foot in front of the other and those days you want to sleep in because your bed is so comfortable...get up and get out.
We decided to grab a few beers and go sit up on a hill by his house that he would run in the morning. We joked about how we were both getting old and out of breath and laughed. Jake made me keep my gaze pointed down on the way up to the rocks. When we finally got to the top he said I could open them. To my delight it was a cloudy and cold day and the sun would occasionally peep out. Jake cracked his michelada open...he loved them all of a sudden said they reminded him of home and his dad. We cheers'd and began enjoying the day.
Shortly thereafter we met two travelers who had climbed the hill as well. They saw us from the road and decided to come up. Jake immediately introduced himself and began to share his love and life story. He convinced them to give up their earthly possessions and go travel. They were super stoked to meet him and I believe he convinced them to start traveling. He made a video, not the best quality, but I was happy to be with him this day.
We went back to Jakes little apartment and watched some BBC on his phone. He didn't have much but it felt like home. I saw he had dirty dishes so I washed them. He was so appreciative of that little act. I felt so proud of him in that moment. My little cuz, the fighter, the struggler, the entertainer, the traveler, the lover of life---now committing to start to settle in to the great unknown. I had to get home as I had to work early on Friday so I said I loved him, gave him a massive love hug and told him I loved him again.
What follows is the text we had the next day and into Saturday.
Jake: How you doing Broski
Me: Good. You?
Me: Good. You?
Jake: We're connected
Jake: Morning ding dong. How you doing? I love this video. You are the best cuz
Me: Love you too Jake...very much. You working the field today?
Jake: Nope. You off? Lets go to LA
Me: Fuck no
Jake: Hahahahahaha. I'm heading out. Donating plasma then heading off.
Me: I thought your flight was tomorrow.
Jake: It is the 29th. I wanna go chill I have no work anyhow.
Me: What happened to the construction
Jake: Its the weekend
Me: Oh, I thought you told me Thursday you were working Friday and Saturday
Jake: I was planning on it but then I realized I can get $60 for an hour of plasma vs $90 for 8 hours
of hard labor. Yesterday I did a half day and then trained again.
Me: Okay. Are you flying out of San Diego or LA
Jake: LA thats why I'm going you dangus
Me: Is that how you got that cheap flight?
Jake: I booked it 3 weeks in advance.
Jake: Leaving now. Have a great week and I will see you when I return dearest cuzn
Me: Travel safe. I love you!
Jake: Of course man. Love you too. If you find a cheap ass ticket fly down. Road trip?
That'd kick ass!
We shared a few more funny comments about the Playboy mansion, however, that is the last time I would ever talk to my little cousin, my little brother. Part of me feels like I failed him. Maybe I could have done more. Maybe I could've invited him to come hiking with my girlfriend and I with that...maybe he would still be with us.
No words I can ever write will do Jake justice. He was a king among men. He had a rough life and fought demons in his head. He saw the world in a better way than it existed today. He loved mankind. He would often tell me of how he would sit with homeless vets, or drug addicted individuals. He would give the jacket off his back or get food for someone and bring it back and feed the homeless. If ever there was a walking example of Jesus in my life, it was Jake.
He will be sadly missed and now, I have to put the pieces of my life together. I try to make sense of a senseless world. I will miss our conversations and our laughs and our hugs. I will miss his hysterical rants and how he always had great advice. He was a brother and a father and often times I heard my father's voice echoing through his words.
I will cherish my time on earth with him and forever keep the memories in my heart. A part of me died on Sunday night when I got the call and I hope that a part will be reborn as I promise to carry the legacy of Jake in my heart and share it with the world. Your job does not define you, your car or house do not define you, YOU define you! Live your life, show love---often. Enjoy moments...stop always looking at your phone and be with the ones your with. Get off social media...forever. Go for a hike. Break bread with family, friends or complete strangers. Hug often. Smile. Find where you are loved and walk there.
I love you Jake and I will miss you forever...
Edmund Jacob Bordes
June 5th, 1984-January 28th, 2017