I Remember Selina


by Catalina Torres, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, Class of 1991

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who radiated light and emitted joy and happiness? You could be in the worst mood and suddenly, you find yourself intrigued by this light and drawn in by the sensation of joy. That was Selina M. Hernandez’s superpower. I met Selina in the 4th grade, and we became friends instantly. We liked all the same things…singing, dancing, laughing, and being goofy. And we did a lot of that! We went on to finish Grammar school and went to the same high school. That’s where I learned to appreciate her strength, her ability to love hard and unconditionally, and her willingness and ability to forgive.

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High school is also where I realized that our souls were linked and that we would always be connected no matter where we were in this world. While in high school, she met the love of her life, Robert, and five months before graduation, she gave birth to their son, Joshua. She, Robert, and Josh moved to Arkansas and started their new life. They had three more beautiful babies, Stephanie, Cianna, and Destiny. Selina lived for her babies. They went through their struggles, but nothing could ever prepare them for the loss of their child, Stephanie. With that loss came the responsibility of raising her two granddaughters. Unfortunately, she would go on to endure the loss of her beloved husband, brother, and mother-in-law, all within a span of 2-3 years. That amount of loss and pain can consume the strongest of people. Yet, there she was, still shining bright, spreading joy, love, and hope. She brought out the best in people and she was loved for it.  I celebrated her birthday with her this year, and it warmed my heart and brought peace to my soul, seeing how much she was loved and appreciated.

Early in the morning on June 10, 2023, Selina lost her battle with cancer. For a moment, I felt consumed with despair, sadness, anger, and uncertainty. And, like a ray of sunlight that flashes on your face when you pull back the drapes from the window, I felt her strength, love, hope, and her peace. And to think that it’s all over when one dies. No. Her energy is eternal. Thank you, Selina. You will be terribly missed. To the Nieves and Hernández families and all those who had the blessing of knowing her, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Until we meet again, baby girl.  Shine bright, reunited with your angels once again.