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Hector Pena

Thirteen years ago, I met a man online. On a sketchy “modeling” website. I took the train into manhattan (alone) to meet him, and promptly jumped into his car to go do a shoot. How reckless. That turned out to be one of the best days, and most fun shoots. We went to a wacky makeup artist who (I think) broke into some old lady’s house to do my makeup. And then we kinda shot “guerilla style” around manhattan hopping in and out of the car whenever we saw a location that looked kinda cool until nightfall stopped us. I realized then that he was just my kind of crazy.

I didn’t realize that he would become one of my dearest friends ever. One of my closest friends, an artistic mentor, one of my biggest encouragers/cheerleaders, and teachers. He taught me so much about life. About family. About letting stuff go. About the arts. About myself. He saw the real me, good bad and ugly, and didn’t judge me for it.

Hector was a genius. Truly. He was magical with music. So very accomplished and talented. And he made me appreciate it more. Even “church music” that I never really liked until he showed me how he did his thing at his church. He was also a great photographer and had some serious power in photoshop. I mean…I saw pictures of some of the women he worked with and then met them in person and….boy….I wouldn’t have known it was them!!

It was my plan this morning to go meet my mom at Beth Israel hospital so she could watch Roey for me and I could go up and visit my friend. Unfortunately he passed last night and I am riddled with guilt and regret. I know Hector knows how much I love and appreciate him. I know he knows that I know that he loves me. I know he wouldn’t want me to feel guilty for not getting to see him in time. But I still do.

If I could just jump into the delorian and go back to yesterday I’d sit beside him, hold his hand and tell him thank you. Thank you Hector. For being my friend, for being an angel on earth and blessing so many people with your presence, your energy, your music, your art, your wise words, your wack ass jokes and your huge huge heart. Thank you for calling me an artist. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your acceptance and understanding. Thank you for all the lessons, even the ones I refused. I’m a better person because of you. Thank you for being you. I’m grateful, so so grateful to have known you, love you and be loved by you. I will miss you forever. I love you.

Since I can’t go back in time, I’ll send that message out into the universe and hope he gets it.

I know he’ll get it.

My heart is with his family today. This is a really hard time. His wife, mother, siblings, children and grandchild all are suffering a deep loss that words can’t express.
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His friends, his congregation, and everyone who’d ever been lucky enough to spend time with him are feeling it today.
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I pray that the sting eases quickly, leaving behind just the sweet, smile-inducing memories of a great man taken much too soon.


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[…] last Maternity Shoot Ideas post was back in 2012! I shot with my dear friend Hector, of Hydra Multimedia, and loved the […]

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Monday 30th of December 2013

[…] My good friend passed away. I miss him bunches. I sometimes pick up the phone to text him a random question and then remember….that’s the worst. […]

Kathy C.

Thursday 20th of June 2013

Dani, so sorry to hear. Sounds like he made a true impact in your life.


Friday 14th of June 2013

Hector sounds like he was an amazing man, and I'm so sorry you had to lose him. Your post serves as a permanent tribute to him. Beautifully written ::hugs::


Thursday 13th of June 2013

Sorry to hear about your friend. While saying good-bye is hard to do, not being given the chance to do so can be even harder to deal with. However, I do think that when we send out messages into universe to our loved ones who have passed on, they receive them and understand. I hope that you and all his loved ones find comfort in knowing that he's always with all of you in memory and spirit.

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