In Memory of Bradford Fernandez

December 1, 1996 - January 21, 2011

Bradford's Picture

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How Our Community Came Together in Our Darkest Time

I never imagined, nor would have believed that one day I would have to bury one of my children. That thought seemed foreign; an “impossibility” in my world. I was wrong.

January 21, 2011, 6:15 am; it seemed just another normal school day for our family. I woke up and as usual went to the kitchen to start breakfast for my children. Breakfast consisted of either scrambled eggs, an omelet for Bradford, steak-ums, or honey baked ham. Toast was included with margarine and orange juice or “café con leche.” What started as an ordinary morning, on January 21, 2011, turned out to be a nightmare of which I would never wake up. My 14 year old son, my precious boy, was dead.

The sight of his lifeless body will never be erased from my memory. This is what a parent of a child who committed suicide faces every day in his or her life. It is an endless ocean of tears and pain combined with flashbacks of the image of your dead child. This is suicide. Although the death of a child, for a parent, is the deepest wound that can be experienced, death by suicide drives that pain a few levels deeper into your soul.

In response to our desperate cries from our abyss came angels to uplift us with their compassionate souls; our friends, neighbors, church members, business acquaintances (some of whom I have never met), co-workers, former co-workers, our surrounding schools and friends of Bradford that love him dearly, donated their time, creativity, homes and finances. People whom I have never met came with their love offerings and embracing arms to remind us that although this horrible tragedy occurred, we were not alone in our pain. God, in His mercy, surrounded us with love.

It is to these remarkable individuals that I dedicate the song “Wind Beneath My Wings,” by Bette Midler. They became the winds beneath our family’s wings.

We will never forget you; you will always be in our hearts. Thank you, thank God for you always.

To Our Friends at Laser Quest in Sunrise, Florida - Thank You So Much!

We wanted to say a very special Thank You to our friends at Laser Quest in Sunrise, Florida. The General Manager, Mr. Deadrick Henderson, has been accommodating with us and has shown compassion towards our children every single time we have been at his location. Bradford, my son, loved to play Laser Quest. December, 2010 was the last time he played with his brother and sister. He came in number 1 that day. I will never forget it. The Laser Quest, Sunrise location has always been our game spot. In memory of my son I have taken his friends, with a group of 20, to play Bradford's favorite game. Our experience every time has been exceptional. Thank you, Mr. Henderson, for your kindness and compassion.

Oath of Guardianship©

"My friend, I love you. I promise to always watch over you even during your darkest moments; if you need help, I will make sure to find help for you, even if you ask me not to. I promise to not honor any bonds that will ultimately hurt you in any way; it's for your own good. Understand, as a loving friend, it is my responsibility to watch over you. I promise not to let you think that your life is worthless and to dishonor you. YOU MATTER TO ME AND TO THE WORLD; YOU ARE WORTHY OF GOD'S LOVE AND LIFE."

Bradford and Dog Picturebutterflies
Bradford's Pledge, written by Ana Fernandez
January 21, 2011

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The Bradford Foundation
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National Suicide Hotline

QPR Institute
Suicide The Forever Decision by Dr. Paul G. Quinnett

Call 211 For Help

A Personal Message from Ana Fernandez:

The death of my beloved son, Bradford, shattered my life and tore my heart into pieces. I will never be the same. Bradford's sisters and brother will never be the same; they carry a hole in their heart as a result of his absence. Bradford's friends, also, will never be the same; they have a permanent scar in their hearts. Bradford probably believed no one would miss him, including his family. He was wrong. He was loved beyond understanding. His life and death touched the hearts of many. Suicide is NEVER the answer. It is a permanent destructive solution to a temporary problem. If you've ever thought about suicide and think no one will miss you - you are wrong. If you think the world is "better off without you," - you are wrong. If you think your family, your parents, your siblings won't miss you, you are wrong. No matter how insignificant you feel you are, you matter and are loved. Your suicide will only leave pain, intense suffering, and storms of tears for the people you love. Don't destroy the lives of your loved ones, along with yours. There is always a choice; there is help. You are not alone. All you have to do is to reach out for help.