A few days ago I had the displeasure of attending the funeral of a friend. Robby Knight, a young man I have known since we were 12 years old died tragically and it has affected me in a number of of ways. Though we weren't super close, we still saw each other enough that I will definitely feel an emptiness as well as realization that I could have been a much much better friend (yes I can be flaky and self- centered). I began think of some things we shared such as our two-team little league, four years of high school, and our love of manual transmission Volkswagens. And of course the laughter. While I may be bit snarky and ironic with my humor (you may or may not get the joke) - Robby was just down right funny. Yes I feel a bit empty.
This is not the first time I have mourned the death of someone close to my age, but there was something different with this one. Unlike the others this one really scared me because it made me reflect, regardless how cliched it may sound, on how precious life is and quickly it can be taken from us. Robby wasn't ill nor was he involved in any nefarious activity. He was in a tragic accident and expired almost in an instant. Death in this manner is a reminder to me that I am mortal and being mortal means that as much as i would like to be, I am not invincible. This os not to say that death in any other fashion is somehow less of a tragedy, that would be nonsense. However a death like this blindsides you and exposes the vulnerability in all of us.
But more than anything, I have to applaud Robby for his triumphs. We all have our struggles, shortcomings, and foibles, and some of are lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to keep our own issues hidden from public scrutiny. Robby's weren't so well concealed, but he fought anyway and in the end it was he who received the standing ovation.
And while I was on the verge of crying from the moment his fiancee, Lani, called me with the news, right up to this very moment, somehow I have never been able to quite follow through - I guess you can chalk that up to my inner desire to be in control (especially when I realize just how little I have). Maybe someday I will remove the artificiality, but for now, I will mourn and marvel at the man that was Robert O. Knight.
Well, I gotta scoot.