One Year Later: As Brothers We Will Stand, And We’ll Hold Your Hand

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about what to write today. On October 13 last year, I missed a call from my friend Chris. So one year ago today, I called him back. His brother Josh answered. I was excited to talk to Josh, but then I got news that will forever engrain the feeling of that hotel sofa and the whiteness of that hotel room ceiling in my mind: Chris, one of my best friends since 5th grade, who was like a brother, had died – unexpectedly and unexplainably!

This year has been a roller coaster – so much good has happened but I miss Chris so very much. My Sunday afternoons, which were often filled with summer days at the pool or afternoons throwing a Frisbee or hiking, are not the same. The person who has given me guidance and direction since elementary school is gone.

At the wake, there was a slideshow with the song Timshell by Mumford and Sons playing, haunting. At the funeral I gave a eulogy and quoted If I Die Young by The Band Perry. Today I listed to those two songs again, perhaps for the first time in almost a year and tried to hold back tears.

Chris was taken from us too soon and too young. He was full of life and made the world around him a better place. Maybe God had a different plan for Chris though. Maybe Chris made all of us better but was needed for even bigger things. Hopefully, one day we will find out.

Life goes on. And Chris still brings us together. Last night, 17 of us (plus Chris’s 4 month old nephew!) got together in his honor and memory. And we still see each other regularly, which I know will continue. Chris’s roommate and I have become better friends and all of us have come up with ways, together and individually, to remember Chris.

I still talk to Chris regularly, it’s just not in person anymore. Keep it real, my friend. I miss you, and will remember you forever.

When I think of you, I don’t feel so alone… [but] heavy wings grow lighter, I’ll taste the sky and feel alive again.

About Joel Portman
Network Builder. Diversity and Inclusion Advocate. Social Media Enthusiast. Lover of family, friends, the outdoors, travel, and learning. I have experience working in the healthcare, education, diversity/inclusion, retail, and non-profit industries with organizations ranging in size from five people to Fortune 500. I am an MBA graduate of the University of Denver.

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