It is completely different to ACTUALLY be fearless. Sometimes, I forget that.
This isn't going to be a regular post. I'm not going to espouse great things about the publishing industry or ramble on about the ins and outs of a debut year.
I can't. Because right now, I'm having a hard time remembering to breathe.
Yesterday, a friend of mine, perhaps the first I made when I moved to Indiana, died. He was 37. His kids are the same age as mine. Yesterday, he had a wife. Today, she is a widow. And that sucks. On about 85 levels.
But Chris lived life. He enjoyed it. He laughed at himself and took pride in things other might have rolled their eyes at. He loved the Colts. He loved good beer... not the cheap stuff we drank at room parties at conventions, the good stuff. He loved his children. And he loved Colleen.
When we met, way back in 1997, like many college students, he was looking for his place. We were both highly charged, politically motivated kids who bled blue for the Democrat campaigns that would let us be a part of them.
And we grew older. I wish I could say we were as close now as we were then, but I can't. Life leads us in different directions. Chris found himself in service. He started a non-profit to help those who never experienced what it was like to have a father learn to become dads. He helped the poor and homeless. He worked with college students, inspiring them with his dedication to serve others. And he was one of the first ones to say congrats when something amazing happened in my life.
We both married Catholics and we both converted, lamenting to each other how we have grown more conservative with age, though not too conservative. Since Chris was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, we have reconnected thanks to Facebook and DMs. And I am so glad I had that. Who knew sharing our disappointment that one of our local hang outs no longer made the sandwich we loved back in the day could become a treasured memory. I'm not ashamed to admit that I started stalking Chris on FB. I wanted to see his smile, the joy on his face when his kids were around. I wanted to assure myself that this was just one more obstacle for him to kick the crap out of.
See Chris is a force of nature. I can't bring myself to say was. Not just because I don't want to admit it, accept it, whatever a shrink would say, but because that force is like the wind. It continues on even after the trees have stopped swaying. Even in what we perceive as it's absence, it is there. His legacy lives on in the lives he touched. In the adventures he had. In the love that he gave.
So my friend, who lived life knowing that there was so much more to it than going through the motions, you will be missed by so many. And I am blessed to have been a small part of your journey.
Vaya Con Dios, mi amigo. I'll see you someday... at Denny's. You'll know it's me when you see the shoulder tick that only comes when you've been up 24 hours on the 4th of July. Three parades in one day starting at midnight? Bring it!