Some people leave this earth long before their time, making death and the closeness feel much more abrupt and unfair. Unfortunately, a friend of mine was taken from this earth in an avalanche in February. There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought of him and his wife. The first few days I couldn't stop tears from flowing for her loss, for our loss as his friends, and for the earth's loss. This was a friendly, intelligent guy who always was smiling. I also couldn't help imagining myself in her place. How would I feel if I couldn't wake up to Eric every morning? I literally cannot imagine what she is going through and trying hurts my heart more than I can bear to try. I also couldn't stop obsessing about death in an avalanche and how that would feel. I hope he went without pain, stoked to be in the back country exploring.
When I was writing an email to her, I wanted to express what I would remember most about her husband. For him, it was his hugs. Eric and I have both always called him a hugger. Arriving at their house we could both always expect a big hug, and this was what I shared with her in my email. What a cool thing to be remembered for - always greeting someone with a genuine, huge, hug. Selfishly, this made me reflect on myself and made me think about what I will want to be thought of when I leave this earth. What is important? What is the first thing that will come to mind when gone?
Life can be so unfairly short and his death brought this into sharp focus for me. It makes me think about what is important in my life, and should I live to 35 and not 90 like I'd like - how should those years be filled? What do I want to spend my time doing? Working? Probably enough to make a living, and I want to enjoy what I do. But family and friends remains at the top of my list of importance - for both where my time and efforts should be spent.
In memory of him, I will give longer hugs, and also try to keep in the forefront of my mind what matters and what will be remembered. Small things going wrong that can sometimes overwhelm me need to be more quickly forgotten. Big picture ambitions need to be remembered and put into focus instead.
Lastly, his death made me grateful. Grateful to be on this trip with the love of my life. Grateful for the family and friends that have supported us on this journey and stayed in touch with us as we have gone along. Grateful for each meal, pretty sight, friend we have met, and for my body for taking me on this journey. Grateful for each day.
Shane, you are already missed, and will be remembered.