Happy 2020 everyone!
I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. Life right now for me is in a whirlwind.
One year ago I lost my grandma. I started 2019 laying my grandma to rest. I received a urgent call the morning of January 4th. I was told she had suffered a severe asthma attack. We all rushed to the hospital but due to the fact that her brain had gone without oxygen for so long she never woke up. My grandma was pronounced brain dead on January 5th and her funeral service was held on the 12th.
Well on the morning of December 20, 2019, Aaron (my boyfriend) called me crying. Barely able to speak, he let me know that two of his friends more so brothers were found in their apartment. Both of them died of a drug overdose. This is how we started our holiday season.
Their names were Aaron Hall and Ja’mez Manning. They were best friends, twin flames and brothers. Those two did everything together. They were so talented and fun loving. Aaron and Mez met at Wilberforce University in Ohio. My boyfriend also attended Wilberfoce and met them his freshman year. They quickly became his big brothers. The boys created a crew and a bond based on the fact that they were all from Cali and so far away from home. After graduating they all found their way back to the Bay Area.
My boyfriend introduced me to Aaron and Mez probably our second or third time hanging out. He invited me to one of their band rehearsals. The rehearsal was held at a preschool in San Francisco. My first thought was “a rock band full of black guys?” Lol My second thought was “why are we inside a school?” Lol my boyfriend was so excited to see them. This was their first time reuniting since they all moved back to California. They nicknamed my boyfriend “lil Aaron” since he was the youngest and the shortest. Aaron and Mez were both way over 6 feet. Their height also added to their uniqueness, imagine two tall black men playing instruments in a rock band together. I mean you don’t see that every day. Maybe rappers or athletes but legit musicians in a band? That was quite different from what I’m used to seeing. Their band is named ‘Hypedout’ and both men played an assortment of instruments; the drums, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard piano, they even played a tambourine. Lol
Hanging with them was always an adventure. I admired their bond and how they supported one another. Ja’Mez helped my boyfriend land a spot in his first art gallery and his first solo showing in California. Hypedout always invited ‘lil Aaron’ to body paint at their live shows and video shoots. Whatever they did they always made it a point to incorporate my boyfriend in some way. When they first moved into their spot in West Oakland they asked my boyfriend to bodypaint at their house parties, paint their old furniture and paint their skateboards. They invited us over to BBQ’s, jam sessions, and even Thanksgiving. From hiking to art events to just chilling at the house it was always a good time.
Our last time seeing Aaron Hall we were at their house for this past Thanksgiving. We met his whole family. Not only did they welcome us in, they made us feel at home. That night, Aaron was being his normal self, playing the piano, laughing, eating, telling us stories and trying to get everyone to dance.
My last time seeing Ja’Mez was the day I was offered my new job. After my last interview, I walked across the street because I saw Solespace was having a shoe sale. Mez spotted me and came in to say hi. I was so excited to see him because we hadn’t seen each other in a while. He was updating me on all the latest Aaron and Mez news. I asked him which shoes I should buy. He gave me a hug and told me he had to get back to work. He told me he used to work at Solespace so he spoke with the owner before leaving.
The idea of never seeing someone again is so bazaar. Realizing that was the last time we’ll hear their voice or their laugh again gives me chills.
Getting through the holidays this year was hard. Christmas gifts weren’t so much about opening presents but more about spending time with loved ones. We cherished the moments and the people around us. Made it a point to take the time out to see our close family and friends. We even took the time needed to cry.
After the new year hit, the real pain started to sink in. Life felt like a horrible replay of 2019. Aaron Hall’s funeral was held on January 4th. My grandma’s 1 year home going anniversary was January 5th. Mez’s funeral was held on January 7th. So many tears. So many sleepless nights. So much to take in.
I feel like it’s a tradition now to start a new year off with losing someone. Why is it that a new year brings so much grief? I’ve lost count of how many death’s my loved ones and I have experienced in the month of January alone.
We’re taking it one day at a time. Please keep the families and friends of Aaron and Ja’Mez in your thoughts and prayers. ❤️🙏🏾
HYPEDOUT FOREVER 🕊🕊
Thanks for readng we’ll talk more next week!