Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some things to know about Cheryl..

How do you capture someone’s life in a few paragraphs? I guess I will do my best to highlight what I know about Cheryl. After Cheryl became ill, she told me in confidence that she wholeheartedly felt that she lived a full life. She met the love of her life and got married, experience having a child, travel, live life full of laughter joy and sorrow, and surround her life with loving family and friends.

Cheryl was born in Honolulu Hawaii at the Tripler Hospital to mother Rebecca and father Kenneth. She was followed by a younger sibling Kenneth Fernandez Jr. “Junior”. She lived between Hawaii and Southern California primarily in San Diego as well as Northern California (SF Bay Area). She attended elementary school at August Ahrens Elementary, middle school at Montgomery Junior, Southwest High School, and graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in Political Science. Cheryl was a very bright and intelligent woman and graduated with honors from high school with a full ride eligibility to UCLA but decided to go to UH. She was in ROTC in high school, travelled as a flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines, won several beauty pageant contests and runner up for Miss Hawaii. She held various jobs from working as a server at John Dominis, teller at Bank of America, sales at Paradise Beverage and Southern Wine and Spirits, Sheraton in hospitality sales, and eventually her career finally was at the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau where her job was to entice companies to hold their incentives programs in the state of Hawaii which promoted tourism. She was so dedicated and loved her career. She was extremely business savvy and a natural salesperson who can organize spectacular events for her clients. The funny thing is that we were both successful salespeople and always tried to teach other different sales methodologies.

Cheryl loved her family above and beyond everything and accepted all the challenging times as she grew into adulthood. She had cousins that she thought of as sisters and valued their advice. She had aunt’s that were like the other mothers and played additional female role models in her life. She loved her brother dearly through all the trials and tribulations growing up together. She was extremely spiritual and a dedicated member of Christianity. At one time, she was the president of a Filipino United Methodist Organization in her younger years and comes from a family lineage of devoted Christians.

For those who knew her well, they knew about her certain personality traits like the fact that she was overly organized, meticulous, and even to the point of OCD / anal retentive behavioral patterns. She had to have everything organized a certain way and had a method to her madness. I love every bit of it.. Sometimes the unique idiosyncrasies in others are what make them special. She LOVED DOGS.. In fact, I believe she loved them more than people. She always needed to stop if a dog was running in the streets to help them find their home. She couldn’t bare to watch any form of cruelty on dogs or animals. She would treat them like children and would spoil them incessantly. S

he loved cooking and everything associated with it. She would be glued to watching the Food Network and knew every chef by name, style of their cuisine, and pretty much how to make their recipes. I think she has seen every episode of the Iron Chef and we used to debate on who would win. Ironically, I am the farthest thing from a chef or culinary artist. One of her valued treasures is her recipe book that if she could of put it in a safe she would. She was also a wine enthusiast and taught me how to appreciate the different palates and art of tasting. A significant part of our wedding registry were Riedel glasses since they were one of the best for wines and we had a large cabinet full of every wine accessory to serve a large party..

Some of Cheryl's favorite flowers were lillies and tulips. She loved plants and home and gardening. My most important job when she was travelling for work was to water the plants!!! Some of her favorite musicians are Jack Johnson (I took her to see him live in concert in Berkeley, Coldplay (we were eating at a restaurant in San Francisco right next to them and didn't even know it. The unfortunate thing is that they happened to be in concert the same day as Jack Johnson in San Jose), 10,000 maniacs (I believe she saw them in concert with Tammy but not sure), Cecilio and Kapono, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ka'au Crater Boys, Bob Marley, Hawaiian Style Band, etc..

She was an excellent conversationalist and was stimulated by intellectual discussions. She told me that she was attracted to brainiacs since she was secretly a geek in disguise. She loved to travel and got to go places like Europe, Tahiti, Philippines, all over the U.S., etc.. She practiced Bikram yoga and was extremely and healthy and fit. I remember I attempted to try it once in its 105+ degree temperature and could not comprehend how she could do it. She was dedicated and even had video tutorials in case she missed the classes. She had a competitive streak and we would have our own hybrid games like drinking Scrabble, quid pro quo, and other games involving a challenge.

Once our daughter came into our world, she was an instinctual mother and was dedicated to her upbringing. She always worried about the baby and every morning would wake up at 6 a.m. to be with her when Cevan woke up. No matter how ill she felt she would always want to get up and feed the baby, change her, and take care of her as her mother. She told me that I will be a wonderful father and to promise to always smother our daughter with love. Cheryl you would be so proud.. I am taking good care of our daughter and took her immediately to the pediatrician to transfer her medical records, make sure her immunizations were on track, requested to test to make sure she doesn’t have allergies, childproofed the house, spending so much quality time with her (reading her stories and playing), and plan on signing up for parenting classes to stimulate activities with other toddlers. Our daughter will be raised in your image and I pray that she becomes like her mother when she grows up.

1 comment:

Czarina Fernandez said...

My beautiful sister, I want you to know how much I love and admire you. When I started dating your brother in 2002, he always talked about your accomplishments. When I finally got to meet you later that year I understood why your brother was so proud to have you as a sister. You were so successful, independent, confidant, and kind. What I admired most was your ability to have the last word when having heated conversations with your brother. Not an easy feat to say the least.

I can remember right after your brother’s graduation party in 2004 when you moved back to San Diego for your new job position. I was pregnant with Kendal, and Hannah had just had her litter of puppies. She was really sick and your brother and I couldn’t afford to pay another vet bill. You loved Hannah so much you brought her to the vet emergency room in the middle of the night. The next morning you had to leave for San Francisco, but you called me to tell me that if we needed anything for Hannah to call you anytime. I knew you would pay any amount of money needed to make sure Hannah made it through. A few days later you got back from your business trip. Junior and I laughed as we watched you, Freddy the taraken, Hannah and Strauss drive away in your Tribute for a trip to dog beach. The dogs were extra shiny from the coat of biosilk you rubbed on them. And of course, you were sipping the big gulp-sized coffee while you drove away. That was only one of many trips you took with Freddy and the dogs.

It was mid-2005 when we noticed you constantly on the phone. We would usually hang out and have dinner with you and your mom, but things changed. I can remember your brother playing online poker outside your room, and he finally asked who you were talking to. You told him it was Evan, with such a smitten look on your face. We witnessed the beginnings of a beautiful love story.

The same year you bought your house in San Jacinto. Your brother and I were so excited to see your new place. It happened to be around the time of your birthdays, so you promised your brother a nice dinner out when we got to San Jacinto. You never lived this one down girl! We had dinner at City Buffet with your mom and auntie Sipin. Your brother never let you hear the end of it. But, your thoughtfulness still prevailed. Knowing his hobby for the moment was fishing, you bought him a fishing trip. You always had the last word.

Later that year we saw you on route 15 by Temecula and we drove right next to you. You were deep in conversation as we honked at you. I remember the look on your face. It was priceless. You were so startled. Later that day we asked who you were talking to. You said that Evan had bought you an ear piece for your phone so that you could talk to him while you drove. The two of you were so many miles away, yet you were inseparable.

We loved visiting you and Evan when you bought your home in Oakley. Our first visit in late 2006 was quite memorable. This visit yielded one of the funniest culinary mishaps ever! Evan took us to the city that day, but you had to stay home and work. You promised to have dinner ready when we got back. Junior was really hungry and ate first. He kept telling you how hot your beef curry was as his nose ran and sweat beads rolled down his face. You became so angry at him for complaining and told him that you just put a pinch of crushed pepper. You snapped at him and told him, “Just eat it Junior!” That he did, with several glasses of water. As he took the last bites of the curry, you began to laugh hysterically. You fished out a napkin from the trash and showed him half of the bottle of crushed pepper you were able to take out of the curry. The other half of the bottle was still in the curry. We laughed about that for months!

The other visits were always filled with drinking sake, going wine tasting, watching movies, and eating your delicious cooking. You always snacked on cheddar cheese gold fish crackers, ate Cheerios for breakfast with a gigantic cup of coffee (which you never seemed to finish). Those were your must-haves. I can still hear you say, “suki, suki now” when you were happy about something. We loved being around you and Evan.

You have always loved your family so much Cheryl. In 2007 you couldn’t be with your mom on her birthday, so you sent her a cake. I remember your brother saying, “why would my sister buy my mom a cake? She hates sweet things.” But, when your mom ate the cake she loved it. You knew exactly what to get your mom to satisfy her finicky palate.

You always made the long trek from Northern California with Evan to be at Kendal’s birthday parties. You always remembered to buy us presents on our birthdays (even for the terakens), and made sure to call us on those days as well. Whenever you went to Hawaii you would always bring back our favorites. We never had to ask. Your love for us came in so many different ways.

Cheryl, these are only a few times of many that I can share with others that love you. But, they capture the essence of who you were as a person. I promise that I will take care of your brother and mother the way that I know you would do yourself. I love you my sistah. I love you so much for everything you have done, and for the love you have left imprinted in our hearts forever.