Armando Carlos Reyes started his last day alive the same way he started any other day.
He got up early, took a shower, got his baby daughter, Kenzley, formula, told his fiancee, Alexis Chivers, he loved her and he’d see her when he got home after work, and then left.
Chivers never thought that would be the last time she would see Reyes. The couple had been together for four years, and now they had two daughters — Nevaeh, who is 2 years old, and a 7-month-old infant named Kenzley.
Chivers now finds herself in a state she hasn’t been in before, one of mourning.
“It’s kind of tricky,” said Chivers on late Tuesday morning, April 5. “I’ve never had to grieve. I’ve never lost anyone this close to me.”
Chivers, who has been without her “special person,” Reyes, for more than a month, talked about what it was like after he was killed on Monday, Feb. 28, while working at Oceanside Motel in Hoquiam.
“The first week felt almost impossible,” said Chivers. “But, I was finally able to get out of bed. I was finally able to take a shower at our apartment, which I wasn’t able to do (at first.) Then, I was finally able to go into the vehicle that we shared. So, I’m healing.”
But, Chivers doesn’t see herself ever being fully OK.
She said she’ll never forget the day he died, which started out with a lengthy search for Kenzley’s formula.
“After that, he was stressed out because of bills, because rent was due the next day and we didn’t have nearly enough (for) rent” said Chivers, who also works as a receptionist at Pacific Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hoquiam.
After Reyes and Chivers checked off a few other parental tasks, Reyes told his fiancee that he loved her and he would see her when he got home.
Even while Reyes worked, he and Chivers would text and call each other, she said.
“I took a nap at about 12 (p.m.) and when I woke up, it was 2:10 (p.m.) and the phone was off … So I messaged him and I called him, and they wouldn’t go through. That’s when I thought ‘The phone’s probably dead.’”
Three hours later, Chivers thought he must be really busy since he had previously told her he had a really dirty motel room to clean. But, then she saw a Facebook post about the stabbing at Oceanside Motel.
“I rushed down there and there the scene was, and he wasn’t there,” said Chivers. “It’s definitely a day that’s always gonna be in my head. We expected him to come home and to be able to be with his babies because he always looked forward to coming home, eating dinner, and hanging out with his family.”
She said her grief is less painful now, but that losing him still hurts.
“There are things where (I think) ‘Armando would have loved this,’ or ‘Armando would have loved to do this with me.’”
Chivers said Reyes’ world revolved around their two young girls, which is one thing about him that Chivers will always cherish.
“Just watching him be a father to them,” she said. “It always warmed my heart to see how he took care of our babies. How he calmed them down.”
Chivers recalled how every morning, Reyes would get Nevaeh a cup of chocolate milk, and then he’d pick out the marshmallows from the Lucky Charms’ cereal box for her.
And then, every night, he’d stick Nevaeh’s blankets in the dryer for a short time to make her rest a warm and cozy one.
“He was really dedicated to his kids,” Chivers said.
Chivers shared one memory she had from Christmas 2021, the first and last Christmas all four family members would be able to celebrate together. Reyes was really excited since the whole family was together and they had no worries.
Nevaeh wanted a Barbie Dream House, so Reyes got it for her.
When Reyes wasn’t gifting presents to his children, he was focused on how to maximize sunny days. Chivers recalled a short trip the family took in February 2022.
“Armando loved sunny days,” she said. “When the sun came out (he said,) ‘Let’s go to Ocean Shores today! And it was like 50 degrees out.”
Reyes and Chivers packed up the children, headed to the park by the beach where they played for about 10 minutes. After that, they got lunch and ate it at the beach.
Chivers said the trip will always be one of her favorite memories because of how Reyes and Nevaeh held hands as they ran up and down the beach.
Now, it’s up to Chivers to fulfill all of the things she and Reyes planned to do with their children.
“From the day they were born, he was right by my side and right by their side, supporting every little thing we had to do for the kids,” she said. “When he found out about Nevaeh, he flipped his whole life around. He ended up getting a job immediately right after he found out I was pregnant with Navaeh just so he could buy me every little thing I needed for my pregnancy and every little thing I needed for Nevaeh.”
Chivers and Reyes planned on getting married this summer.
“Things finally cleared up with life,” she said. “We were finally getting our life started together. He was the happiest he could have been in life right at that moment.”
Summer was Chivers and Reyes’ favorite time, because it meant it was time to barbecue. While he didn’t start out an expert, he got better.
“I would do anything to go back and eat his barbecued food,” she said.
Reyes was an observant and caring partner.
“He was really amazing,” said Chivers. “Anytime I was feeling upset, he’d do anything to make me feel better.”
While it’s impossible to summarize someone in five words, Chivers chose five words that best characterized the love of her life — brave, loving, smart, hardworking, and generous.
“Even if he was on his last dime, if someone needed money, he’d do anything he could to (help,)” she said.
Chivers’ mom, Marie, shared her glowing remembrance of Reyes.
“He had so much empathy,” Marie said. “He cared so much about everyone around him.”
Marie misses Reyes’ laughter and the joy he brought. She said her husband, Jose, misses Reyes, too.
“My husband considers him to be like a brother,” she said. “To me (he’s) a son. They’d come to us for help. They’d come to us right away if he was unsure (about something.) I consider him as much of a son as my own daughter.”
There is currently a GoFundMe account that Reyes’ sister Selena Lopez set up to help with the funeral expenses. As of Thursday, April 7, it has raised $3,543. For those who would like to help, search “Selena Lopez” on the website, and then click the first result.
Chivers called Reyes one of a kind.
“There’s no one like Armando in this world,” she said.