08 January 2012

So, yeah, after the funeral

So, yeah, after the funeral, which was, my-hand-on-my-heart, easily the most uplifting and inspiring funeral I've ever been to, we all drove over to the Val Vista Lakes Country Club for a nice catered buffet luncheon that was more like a reunion of old friends and loved ones than it was a time of mourning, which, as his mother said, was "exactly what Christian would have wanted."  Christian's friend, who spent most of the day with him the day he died, gave a wonderful, courageous, and composed retelling of all that they did together, up to the moment they parted... with the words, "Wear your seatbelt."

"Which he didn't," she added.  "And, so, yeah, that's what happened."

So, yeah, after the funeral, the next day, Christian's dad Derrill and I, and about 8 of his regular riding buddies, headed out onto the Hawes trails in the far-east Valley together for a ride.  It was an ideal morning and the trails were perfect.

"How many times do you think we did the same kind of thing when we were eighteen?" he and I both wondered aloud as we were preparing our gear and getting ready to start.

"And got away with it.  Survived."


"Easily."  Dozens of near-misses.  Dozens of dumb-moves.  And somehow, we survived.  For some reason Christian didn't.

Can't explain that.

So, yeah, after the funeral, on our ride today Derrill cleaned the big climb, called Cardiac, for the first time ever. "I wanted to do that, for Christian. And I did," he told us all when we reached the top together.

No one really knew what to say.  We were just a bunch of speechless, sweaty guys astride their bikes at the top of a climb.  So what was done at that moment was precisely what has been done a billion times before, at the top of a billion similarly challenging climbs cleaned for the first time: fist bumps, high fives, pats on the back.

But I know what we all meant was, "We're so sorry, man.  This sucks.  Your strength's not just in your legs today.  Well done, my friend. Well done."


Eugene said...

Thanks John, for telling this story. I didn't know Christian, but i am inspired through him. To take care of my self, of my community, and to always cherish my friends right now.

I'm not there at the top of the climb, but I say to you John, I'm sorry, this does suck, but the strength you have in your heart is radiating out through your writing.

Love you all.


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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey