38 years ago today, Lee David Harnish was brought into this world. Roughly, 20 months apart in age, he and I were almost inseparable growing up and acted like twins. Maybe part of that was that my mom felt the need to dress us identical, or maybe it was just and Asian thing.
1 John 2:9 – 10 ~ Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
David and I were born in Vietnam and came over to the states just after he was born. We started off on the island of Oahu and then migrated to the Big Island. David loved the islands but for me, I felt a longing for travel. I wanted to explore and not go in circles around the island.
My dad chose a supervisor position with his company in 1985. The only problem was that it was in California. At first, I did not want to move. I had good friends and was just going to be starting high school. The thought of High School in a new state was extremely scary. For David, moving to a new state from one that he truly loved was hard for him.
Once we got here, he never really felt in and always had a desire to go back. After moving to California, David and I grew apart. He was more of a rebellious kid who tended to be more popular.
When David got to High School, he and I were completely different from the two kids growing up in Hawaii. I cannot remember doing much with David while at school, let alone away from school.
When David was 15 years old, David and his best friend at the time decided to run away, stealing his friend’s grandmother’s car and leaving a note about driving off a cliff. The next call we received was that David, while driving the car, took a tree head on and was in a Coma in a hospital in Salinas. For the next 19 days, my parents were at his side for most of the time. Thanks to great friends like Manuel Dela Cruz who drove me back and forth countless times, I was able to spend time with him.
David came out of his coma and for the next 6 months, worked at his physical therapy and school. His goal was to walk across the stage with his class. David was determined and he in fact walked across the stage with his graduating class. I think when that happened, I felt he was all right.
David went on to San Jose State University, a 4-year college. Something I could not manage to do, get into a 4-year college. He completed his degree and became a Physical Therapist, something he aspired to do after his many hours with several Physical Therapists during his recovery.
The relationship between David and I grew further apart as he moved down to the San Jose area and we maybe saw him a couple times a year. Some of this was to my fault, as I did not make the effort to go and see him. David was dating a wonderful person who had a wonderful little girl. Our family fell in love with Catie and Serina. I cherish the times we all spent together and loved seeing the pictures of the three of them together.
Unexpectedly, David comes to me and tells me that he wants to become a Police Officer. I later learned from his roommate Kelly, that he always looked up to me and the career path I had chosen. Something he never told me.
The next two years, David and I became closer than we had in years. We were having lunch together, talking on the phone and talking about strategies for the hiring process. David was hired by Milpitas Police Department, we continued to grow closer as he and I would talk about the Academy.
David and I began snowboarding together. He wanted me to go skydiving with him, but because of work and family, I never got around to going with him.
David graduated from his academy and I have regret when that happened. I was a rule follower and did not have permission to wear my uniform to his graduation. I wish I had a picture of David and me in our uniforms. I was truly honored when he asked me to pin his badge on him.
David began his FTO program and began having problems. Part of the issues had to do with David, but I believe part of his problems had to do with and FTO that did not feel he “earned” his way into the career because he had a relative in Law Enforcement. For whatever reason, David, the perfectionist began to come down hard on himself.
David was eventually let go from the Field Training Program, but told me he was demoted from Police Officer to more of a Transport Officer. The next thing I knew, David was telling me he was going on vacation after completing his FTO Program. I thought it was weird and but did not think anything of it. David spent a week and a half in Hawaii a place I came to learn he loved very much and never wanted to leave.
David spent his 30th birthday with our family celebrating Madyson’s 1st birthday, which happened to fall on the 21st, a day after his. This was the last time I saw David.
The next part of the story will be told on the 30th of this month.