On the morning of September 25, Ramon Jimenez received the call that is every parent’s worst nightmare. He learned that his stepson José Fernández was killed in a boating accident along with two friends.
The 24-year-old, who he had raised since he was 3-months-old, was gone.
“And I could only say, ‘Not my son, not my son. It can’t be true, no,’ ” Jimenez told WFTS.
It wasn’t until Fernández’s funeral on Thursday in Miami that he could begin to accept what had happened.
He put his hand on the window of the hearse and saw a picture of Fernández with flowers next to it. The sight caused him to break down.
“When he found out he was going to be a father he wanted to know, ‘Am I going to be a good father?’ and I told him, ‘You’re going to be a great father, because you’re going to treat your child like your mother treated you. And you’ll know exactly what to do’ ” his sports agent Scott Boras told the audience with tears in his eyes. “The next day he bought a glove and put Penelope on it for his unborn daughter.”
“He had two neurons,” Jimenez told the news outlet. “One for his basic bodily functions like eating and the other one for baseball.”
He also had a girlfriend, Maria Arias, 24, who is expecting their baby — a girl they decided to name Penelope.
At his private funeral that was attended by nearly 200 people, Arias sat by Fernández’s mother Maritza, crying and listening to people speak about how much he loved the game of baseball, his teammates and his excitement about becoming a father.
Exactly one week after his death, family and friends scattered his ashes at the site where his boat crashed into a jetty. His friends Eduardo Rivero, 25, and Emilio Macais, 27, were also killed in the accident, according to a report The Miami Herald via Radio Martí.
Maritza spread the ashes, something she said she and Fernández had agreed on, followed by a reception lunch. The group wore “Jose Day” T-shirts, according to the newspaper.
“Thank you to everyone who, from the bottom of their hearts, loved my beautiful son,” Maritz said in a note to Radio Martí.
The investigation into Fernández’s death is ongoing.