About a year ago, I was struggling with life in general. I had received my third concussion in March (one of the hazards of being an athlete), and things had been very difficult. I couldn't sleep right, I wasn't eating right and I was losing people close to me because of my emotions going haywire. Once things started to get a little better and back to normal in April, I got a phone call that no one ever wants to get.
I will never forget what I was doing at that exact moment. I was sitting in my dorm room at my desk, Pinteresting. My friend called me out of the blue to inform me that a friend of ours from high school was just in a fatal car accident. At first I didn’t believe her, because he just seemed invincible. The things I had seen him do—there was no way he was killed because of a car accident. But 10 minutes after hanging up on her, another friend of mine called with the same information.
Everyone always says there are five stages to loss. I went through them. The first step is denial. I didn't believe anyone who told me. The second step is the one I am still struggling with—anger. I am mad-livid actually. I was so mad at God for taking him and not the guy who hit him, the guy who chose to run the red light going 75 mph. The third step is bargaining—thinking about the “if onlys.” I was away at school and he was at home working, so I didn’t get to see him as much. To this day, I wish I had called him while I was home for my spring break two weeks before and asked him to hang out. I will forever regret that. The fourth step is depression, which is one I definitely went through. After the funeral, I was so sad all the time. My roommate at the time said she had never seen someone so sad all the time. The fifth and final stage is acceptance. A year has gone by now, and I have learned that death is a part of our lives. It’s not easy and it’s not fair, but it’s how things are.
Our lives are so precious. No one is invincible. Everyone would like to think they are, but the truth is we are nowhere near it. It took me 20 years, losing a friend and a car accident of my own to figure out that anything can and will happen. Most of the time people don’t realize this until someone close to them passes away. In high school I would hear about people in car accidents, but I didn't know any of them so it was different. The moment something happened to one of my good friends was when I realized how short life is and how careful you must be. You have to live your life without any regrets. If you love someone, tell them every chance you get.
Something else I have learned from this experience is that even if you think you’re a good driver, it’s usually someone else who’s not. Be aware of your surroundings and of what other people are doing. If you do this, your life and possibly someone else’s could be saved.
I miss and love you, Kenny. May you rest in peace.
3/16/90 - 4/10/12