Areiga family recovering after senior’s untimely death
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
Luis Alberto Areiga Hernandez, a 17-year-old senior, had his whole future ahead of him.
Hernandez had a clear vision of what he wanted to become by joining the Mount Eden ROP program, which he began by attending a criminal justice class.
“He was planning on going to the Navy, and after that be an FBI agent,” his 15-year-old sister Ireri said.
Gaining more responsibilities than the average teenager, Luis had to play a strong role at home, since his father left when he was only a year old. Helping his mother, Maria, clean houses, he cooperated in maintaining the house by working and taking care of his younger sister Ireri.
“My son was a child, a parent, a friend, a great friend because he was the one [keeping] the house,” said his mother Maria as she fought back tears. “He was everything like a father here at home”
The Hernandez family would never have thought they would soon face such a tragic event just five days before Christmas day. It was a day that changed their lives forever.
Luis passed away suddenly.
A day before his death, Ireri and Maria were preparing for a trip to Lake Tahoe. Later that day Ireri and Luis had a normal brother and sister argument. When the day to leave to Lake Tahoe arrived, Ireri and Maria knocked on his door and insisted on him going. Luis did not answer back, and Ireri just assumed he was still angry since the argument, and did not want to speak to them.
Ireri and Maria left to Lake Tahoe since Luis already had plans with his friend that day. When that friend arrived to his house, she noticed something different. Panicking over Hernandez not opening the front door, she went through the back and went in the house.
On their way to Lake Tahoe, Ireri and Maria were informed of his passing. Rushing back to Hayward to see what was going on, Ireri and Maria were not allowed to step inside their own home.
“We got a call from one of my cousins telling us my brother was dead.” Ireri said. “I was hoping for none of it to be true, but as soon as we turned around the corner and saw a lot of patrol cars, my heart dropped, I got out of the car and ran to the door and nobody would let us in.”
Not knowing the reason to his unexpected death, the Hernandez family is still waiting for results to come in from an autopsy, a process that takes three to four months.
Having to organize the funeral on her own, Ireri set up a GoFundMe to raise money for all the expenses. The funeral took place Jan. 31 in Hayward.
As Ireri speaks, it is easy to hear the pain in her voice. She talks about her brother and how she is still in shock.
“I never thought I would be the one organizing my brother’s funeral, I never thought I would be the one carrying my brother’s casket” Ireri said.
Having to cope with a tragedy, Ireri and her mother are managing by staying strong for each other, as best as they can. The only two people left in the immediate family, they do their best to take care of each other. Maria and Ireri often have their days where they just sit and talk about happy memories.
“We used to go for long long drives and we used to just turn on the radio,” Ireri said. “Every time that one song came [on], we would always just stop and look at each other and laugh, and start singing together.”