Twenty years ago, today, my friend died. I’ve been thinking about that for the last week – remembering all sorts of things. Some things I can share publicly, and some things I can’t. And, I’ve been feeling all sorts of emotions as the anniversary date drew nigh. I can’t believe it’s been so long ago. It seems like it was just yesterday. It feels like it was just yesterday.
My life has never been the same. That weekend was a crux point in my life – in many ways, it was a nadir. Looking back, even with the tears in my eyes, I still remember the good times. And, I still remember your smile. And, I still remember you almost could, but never quite, outrun me.
I wonder how your football career would have progressed. And, how you would have done at college. And, what you would have ended up doing for a living. And, about the family you would have had. I wonder if we would have grown apart, as happens to so many relationships from childhood.
Thinking about these things, paradoxically makes me thankful for my life. It has been nearly ended many times in a number of different ways. I’ve made it to 38 ½ years old. You didn’t. I’m still here. You’re not. There’s no reason nor rhyme to this. Your death was senseless. Is my life senseless? I don’t know. But, I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given – even the ones I squandered or didn’t recognize.
For a life that was lived with such purpose, it was ended so meaninglessly, so arbitrarily, so randomly, so violently, so tragically.
It’s been twenty years and one day since the last time we spoke. I am thankful for the chance encounter we had as it allowed us to catch up one last time. I wish I had told you not to go out that night. I wish I had known.
Your death hit us hard. Lots of people felt the loss. Know that. You are missed. And I, among others, will always love you. And, we will never forget you. Peace out, my friend.
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