What a Ride

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you. And though it hasn’t gotten any easier to face the moments when I wish you were here, it has become easier to see that ‘here’ is not where I once thought it was.

I walk passed the Starbucks on my way to work each morning and I think of the last phone call we had. And while my feet continue one after another towards the office, I realize that I am no longer there. I'm back on the phone with you, hearing you say, "Hi honey," on the other end of the line, and thinking of all the things I want to tell you about my day.

I used to think that ‘here’ had something to do with the ground I stood on, the faces I looked at, the sun I felt against my skin. I now wonder if ‘here’ is a place that exists nowhere, and everywhere at the same time. When an experience outside of you becomes an experience within you. When a moment transpires into a memory that you can relive regardless of time and space.

When I first went to your house after the accident, I stepped foot through the front door, and I felt emptiness. I put down my backpack, looked around, and inhaled the enormity of something missing. And then I went into your bedroom, and looked up at the top of your mirror. And I saw the quote that you’d tucked into the top of the frame:

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"Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy Shit, what a ride!”

Chills ran down my spine at first. I pictured you on your Harley.

And then an odd sense of peace came over me. As if you were right there. Telling us it was okay, telling us that you were okay. That this is how you wanted to leave the physical world.

And then I thought about the lessons you’ve taught me all my life.

You’ve always taught us to live life to the fullest. To go after our dreams, take risks, live like we mean it.

I want you to know that we are still hearing your messages.

You may no longer be here in the way I once knew, but you are still, very much so here in a new way that I can now open myself up to understand.

I would normally hand-write you a card on your birthday. You would open it, read it, say “Thanks Chris” with a smile in your eyes, and I’d give you a hug.

This is my message to you this year. Thank you for continuing to teach me lessons. You are such a huge part of my life, and always will be, forever. You are here with me, always. I love you! Happy Birthday Dad <3Qh