There are certain phone calls that you remember.
The phone rings, and the voice on the other side isn't the way the voice on the other side should be, and you know something is wrong. You brace yourself because you know bad news is coming, and you almost want to put it off so that you don't have to know in the moment.
Then the bomb drops.
Your world will never ever be the same ever again. Losing a friend is something that devastates you, and it really puts the entire world on hold, and makes you examine what really matters in life. Suddenly, all the things that once were huge obstacles no longer seem to matter compared to something like this. For the next few days your life comes to a crawling halt, and you are caught in a surreal world that usually happens to other people, and not you.
The pain feels like you are getting kicked in the stomach just about every 5 minutes. As soon as your memory gives you grace to forget this pain, it is replaced with another thought and the process is never ending. The thoughts come to you in a whirlwind of memories; it is like a movie of your own creation. All the while, you keep asking yourself, "Is this really happening?"
Yes, and it's very real.
It was 4 years ago that we lost our friend and team mate Chris Durham. I remember getting that phone call, where I was when I got it, who was with me and how I reacted, like it was yesterday. It was a tragic loss. It had a profound effect on everyone who knew him. He was a High School Teacher, and he was one of the cool ones. He always had great stories of inspiration from his students that he would share in the dressing room. I really got from these stories that Chris really cared. He was the cool teacher that really gave a shit. I mean, you could see that by the way he played with his daughters, and the way he was. Chris was a way of being, and I never really saw that from where I sat on the other side of the dressing room. I was a single guy without children, and a world away from Chris's life.
4 years later, I get it.
So here's to you #16. We all miss you, and think of you often. We loved you, and we love your memory. Thank you for your friendship, and the love that you passed on to all of us. But I wanted to share this with you from your place of being to mine, and know that you were, and are, loved....