The past couple of days have seen a public procession and a mass for the now departed Jose Fernandez. And for those who were not close to him, the process of moving on and getting past the utter grief and sadness at this tragic loss becomes easier.
It will never be easier for his loved ones. It's hard to believe we lost this young man only five days ago.
Fernandez played baseball like a kid. He was fun, passionate, exciting, happy and energetic. He didn't show up opponents, he struck them out and would also acknowledge when one got the better of him. He was the dugout cheerleader, and with him, the Miami Marlins, a struggling franchise for quite some time now, looked like they were on the upswing.
But now he is gone. We all know the story, and still it is shocking. How he could be with us one day, gone when we awoke to the news of his death overnight.
I'm not Cuban nor have I spent a lot of time in Miami, so I can't begin to try to explain how Fernandez's death has impacted that community. But the media coverage and the community members' voices and actions and the images of so many people who felt so close to him shows what he meant to them.
He was the embodiment of the American Dream. He came here, got educated, excelled as an athlete, cherished his family and became a citizen. He was about to be a father. All of his dreams to this point had come true.
I can't help but be impressed at Fernandez's teammates and coaches. We've been able to see them openly grieve at the loss of what amounts to a family member. Don Mattingly wiping tears from his eyes. Giancarlo Stanton gathering his teammates together to tell them they will find a way to get through the first game without him. Martin Prado, a veteran, speaking so eloquently at the funeral mass on Thursday. Dee Gordon hitting a home run and crying around the basepaths.
The classy gesture from the New York Mets on the field before Monday's game. The outpouring of love from Cuban and Cuban American players around the league.
He'll certainly be missed. And always remembered.