Thursday, March 5, 2009

Some 411 for living

If you read my personal blog, you've heard me spout about this numerous times, but I find that it is worth repeating and remembering. Often.

I had a very dear friend who died in a snowboarding accident 13 years ago. It seems like 3 years ago. His death was one of the most shocking things that I've ever experienced. It shouldn't have been shocking because he lived on the edge of death every single day (I think he was missing the part of his brain that told him when to be scared), rather because he had avoided death so many times that his friends thought that he was quite literally invincible.

There were 2 very important take-aways for me from seeing Chris die.

1. LIVE!!!!!

He was such a liver. In fact, check out the saying on his funeral program. (This was a page from my scrap book at the time - totally dated, I know).

You can either count your days or make every day count. Brilliant.
He had the most amazing & contagious excitement about living. I swear he packed more into his 20 years on the earth than many people do in a whole lifetime. NEVER EVER EVER a boring day with Chris. He was such a ruler. There were two physical bodily changes that occurred for me when I was spending time with him. My abs were strong (from laughing my guts out all the time) and I became desensitized to adrenaline because it was constantly surging. We were always either spinning cookies in his Jeep on busy, icy roads (on purpose, mind you) or he was not letting me wimp out on whatever adventure we were on (rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, etc). He even got me to bungee jump. He was dead when I went, but I stood there on the platform terrified and the only thing that got me to step off of it was the image of Chris coaxing me forward.

2. LOVE!!!!!

The last couple times I saw Chris I was upset with him (deservedly). But, when I got home from the hospital after his death I was crushed that he might spend eternity thinking I didn't like him. I was devastated. I spent the rest of the evening on the phone calling most anyone I'd ever known saying something to the effect of "Do you know I love you? I just need to make sure you know I love you." I'm sure most of them thought I was nuts. I don't ever want to have that regret again. Life is precious and fragile. Whether my loved ones are living or not, I want all of them to know I love them.

These learning moments are so poignant when we experience them, yet can be fleeting. I often forget the lessons I learned that night...the need to view the big picture and to live & love while we have the chance.

I miss Chris so much, but I am also very grateful that he has improved my existence, even 13 years later through these powerful lessons. I hope you will let him make your life rule a little more also by applying his legacies in your lives.



we chirp said...

dove, you said it so well. Thanks for the gentle reminder of things that we can do everyday but get lost in the everyday. You are exactly right.


Through the Looking Glass said...

I think the saddest part about a person passing is that it's then we truly realize the glory of his life. What a poignant reminder to be present in our lives, as well as appreciate the lives others share with us.

heather said...

Has it really been 13 years? I still remember attending Chris's funeral and not departing sad, but leaving with a surge of a life lived. I have memories of a Hawaiian shirt and endless stories of a powerful lifestyle. Chris definitely embraced his existence in the way he desired. A strong example to embrace your dreams. Thanks Dove for the brilliant reminder.

Leslie said...

A force to be reckoned with, in life, and death.

R.I.P. Christopher Quinn...

suzan said...

Telling Chris stories never grows old and you could never run out of great Chris stories to tell. He really was a "liver" I love the bungee story. No doubt he was there urging you forward. Not a day goes by that I don't still think of him. I always love to read anything you write about him. You made my day, again :)

Kate said...

me, too. I will forever be "Chris Quinn's Little Sister" and it's a tough act to follow; I was always in his shadow, but now that shadow is a reminder to me to chase after the sunlight. Otherwise, you have to wait for the light to fall upon you, and who wants to be waiting in the dark?

we chirp said...

Wow, Katie. That is some interesting insight. BUT, I want to say something about it. Chris was one in a million. You should never have felt like you were in his shadow. And you don't even need to wait for light to fall on you. You have your own light to share & you do. SHINE ON!!!!

Christy said...

I don't know how I missed this post earlier this week, but I just wanted to say thank you for writing it. I don't know any of you guys in person, but I'm so glad I've stumbled upon this blog. I have a tear in my eye and some living to do!