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Reflections on a life lost...
in memorium ... gary a. clark jr. 1976-1993

9 years ago yesterday i lost my best friend from high school. he died .... freely, of his own choosing. a gun shot wound to the head, ending a life that held greater potential than i hold in my own 9 years later. well, maybe, maybe not, but that's how i see it. gary was to me much more than i could have ever imagined. more than i knew at the time... more than i think anyone could have believed.
my life, 9 years ago, held some purpose, i had dreams, plans, ideas about my future life. 9 years ago, they changed in a moment. 9 years ago i was one person one day, and a totally different person the next.
death does that.
loss does that.
but especially death.
i never believed i would be where i am now. not so much in my career life and plans, but in my life. in who i am. i don't recognize the girl from then. i don't know her anymore. 9 years have passed, a life gone too soon, and mine changed, literally forever.
people always ask me why i went into youth ministry. why i felt that was where i belonged. why i decided that i would live life answering phone calls at all hours of the day and night, answering distress of my "kids", checking up on them years after, maintaining relationships long after i am not "active" in their lives... why i would choose this life.
and i can only think of gary when i answer. i give other reasons... but he is the answer.
losing his life, losing the person he had become to me in 5 short years... i never could have seen what i would become ...
i suppose it's partially selfish. i loved him so deeply and so completely that i believed i failed him. in his greatest need, i didn't know he was dying inside, that he would die to me and the world soon enough. that i would lose the bright eyes, soft voice, gentle hands, kindest heart, and most compassionate soul my life has ever known in a heartbeat. ...if i had known anything, i would have given my life for his. i would have gladly taken some of his pain... a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved. if only...
but without living in the past, i have had to move on without him and what he was to me. and i have lived. i have gone on. but i have never forgotten. i have never left him for long.
and i cried yesterday for him just as i did 9 years ago.
everyday gary, always... you are never far from who i am... your life shaped me. your death shaped me. without you i wouldn't be who i am. i loved you then, and love you still. maybe more deeply now as i see more of the greater picture.
i only wish you were here to see it with me.


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