I have been hesitant to write something so emotional and personal but I think it could really help a lot of people. As most of you know my posts consist of the sports I’m involved in, the adventures I’m going on and the events I’m part of. Finally I think I need to get a little more personal.
In the past year I have lost 5 friends, 3 of which were extremely close. One from a drug overdose, one by traumatic accident and the last one took his own life. I think there is a lot to be said for each of these reasons of death, none of which will ever make anything better or easier to accept. For me, death is death. No matter how the person died, it doesn’t change the fact that I won’t be able to pick up my phone and call them or see their smile again.
Like many of you, I had my childhood problems and struggled with depression. I became familiar with death and suicide at a young age. I don’t think death ever gets easier to accept even after everyone I’ve lost thus far. I can say that throughout losing friends I have grown to appreciate and cherish life even more. You never know what the day has in store. I don’t know why I am lucky enough to be alive today when people I have felt more worthy of life are now looking down on me. I have accepted that I will never have a definite answer to this but I can practice gratitude on a daily basis.
Ashley was one of my childhood best friends who battled drug addiction. I was one of the last friends still there for her and got to speak with her the week before she passed. This is one of the few people I can believe is truly in a better place right now. I miss you so much ANP but your daily struggle was heartbreaking.
Stephen had been my older brother figure my entire life. He had been there for me through all of my struggles and his family had taken me in when I had no where else to go. Much like other friends of mine he went through a lot, but I never turned my back on him. I supported him in any decision he made until the day he was taken from us. Stephen had the biggest heart and would support me right or wrong.
I think what has hit the hardest recently was the death of a close friend in the motocross family. I didn’t know Lane for a long time, but in the short time I did, we became very close friends. I believe we had a very deep connection and there was nothing but smiles, fun times and deep conversations about life. I loved the flirtatious relationship between Lane and myself because he was 6 years younger than me and we always got to joke about the day he turned 18 and could finally take me on a date. His birthday happened to be the day after mine and I think he asked me on a date 3 times in the next month that he lived. I saw Lane in the last week of his life and he made a point to let me know “he’s been eying me for a while and was finally 18” with the biggest enthusiastic smile on his face. A few days later I spoke with him and he challenged me to hang out with him as soon as I returned from my trip to Utah that week. The morning following my arrival in Utah I was informed that Lane had taken his own life the night prior. I was in such disbelief I couldn’t even begin to put the pieces together.
Anyone who knew Lane would agree that this was the most unexpected event possible. Lane was always smiling, involved in too many sports to name (including motocross where we began our friendship), had just gotten accepted into The University of Oregon and was currently the student body vice president at Wood River High School. The most important part to take away from this is knowing that even trying a drug once to experience some type of euphoria, may easily have the opposite effect soon after. It’s not worth the risk for a temporary feeling of ecstasy when the depletion of a drug can be life threatening. I have gone through the most radical grieving process over this past week and know it’s far from over. I miss you so much Lane, you will never know the impression you left on your family and friends.
I truly believe I have never appreciated life more than I do right now. Things aren’t ideal in any aspect but I have the opportunity to face life today and continually work towards a happy and healthy life. I know I could unexpectedly get hit by a bus tomorrow and never be able to do anything I love again or even worse, not live through it. I must remind myself to live one day at a time. Projecting the future has never seemed to turn out as expected. I know my friends who have now passed are looking down and proud of me and many others for pushing through our hard times. When I begin to feel fear or self pity, I immediately find a way to get out of myself. I like to look for a way to be of service to others. If there is one piece of advice I can give to anyone who’s having a hard time, it’s just that.
I will cherish every friendship, every photo and every interaction with people I have met along the way. Everyone I meet or talk to becomes a part of my life one way or another. By living 24hrs at a time, you can only imagine what a big role YOU may play in my life. Even taking the time to read this, and maybe reconsider your view of life just for today means a lot to me. As I pour my heart out in this post (at 3:32am) I want to thank everyone for being there for myself and many others.
We have many angels today, and there will be more to come. Reach out when you need help, it may save your life or someone else’s.