We were in Minnapolis celebrating our 3 year anniversary (of dating). I was 20 years old. We wanted peace & quiet, time just to ourselves. We were packing up to head back to college. I turned my phone on. 23 missed calls. 6 voicemails. My heart sank. I swallowed. And called my mom.
In the lobby of the hotel I dropped to my knees. She said he was gone. One of my best friends. Tears ran down my cheeks. Hunkaroonie grabbed my hand and held on tight. He didn't know what to say or even what happened.
Instead of driving back to school we drove home. I remember sitting in the car at the gas station. Staring out the window at the cement. Hunkaroonie got me a Diet Coke. I never touched it. I never said anything. But I appreciated the Coke and that he allowed me to process my thoughts.
The weeks that followed I thought a lot about my friend and the memories we'd shared. Growing up together only a few blocks separating us. Family vacations. Rollerblading to school. School dances. Camping. Sports. Jet Skiing. Talking about our futures while fishing in his canoe. We went our separate ways, off to college. Our friendship didn't end. Infact we even dated. We always stayed in close contact. He knew me. My family. And was even my friend when I wore my big round glasses.
The single hardest moment in life thus far. Being a pallbearer at his funeral. It was a defining moment in my life. This is the time of year I think of him the most. I don't talk about this moment a lot. Or really ever. I miss him. So I thought I'd write.
We all have them. Defining moments. I don't believe they define us but rather help shape us to who we are. And for that I am thankful.