I'm just a normal human being like everyone else. Over the years I've learned that life happens; events, milestones, friendships, breakups, family, success, failures. In life, we've all experienced the emotional roller coaster that take us from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.
Unfortunately, within the span of four years, my emotional roller coaster plummeted into a crippling depression.
This is the date that I lost my best friend Douglas Owen Kyle. Doug was the quintessential best friend, closer to being a brother. Growing up, we did everything together. Played sports, rode bikes, had sleep-overs, chased girls, went camping, hosted bbq's, jammed at concerts, created an air-guitar band, and the list goes on and on and on.
One thing Doug kept from me was his suffering from depression and alcoholism. Early 2008, Doug moved to Las Vegas and severed his communication with me. I tried to reach Doug over the course of several months but he was completely disconnected. Never in a million years would I have expected to receive a call from his roommate in Las Vegas informing me my best friend Doug had gone missing, leaving several suicide letters, including one to me... but it happened.
After several days of panic and trying to track down Doug, I received a call from the Flagstaff police department. They found Doug's body in a motel, alone and unidentifiable.
In Doug's "final note" he asked that his family and friends gather for food, drinks and celebration. That we "reminisce our long and comprehensive past, remember the small details...those count the most." I agree with Doug. It was the small details that meant the most to me.
One of the last times I saw Doug was Thanksgiving Day, 2007. I remember we were playing catch with a football outside of my parents home (this is the home that Doug and I created endless memories). My son Ethan was three at the time. Doug kept throwing Ethan the ball and Ethan would throw it right back. I remember the smile, joy, and laughter that came from both Doug and Ethan that day. It is that 'small detail' that I consistently recall and it fills my heart with love and joy.
Doug will always be my best friend and brother. His memories fill my heart with love, warmth, and gratitude.
This is the date I lost my brother-in-law, Noah. I wish I had the opportunity to grow this friendship. I loved Noah for the fact that he had such a kind soul. Unfortunately Noah couldn't find his purpose in life, and like Doug, Noah battled depression.
What I remember most about Noah is the warm summers when he had moved to Phoenix, Arizona. I'd invite him over and we'd crack open a Sol (Mexican beer) and we'd chat about life, music, family, and we always end up playing some Wii or hopping in the pool with my kids. They loved Noah too.
Early February 2010, our worst nightmare returned. We received a call from my wife's father informing us that Noah had gone missing. We formulated a search party, notified his friends, family, and local police. We all made hundreds of calls to Noah's cell phone until his voicemail was full and then it happened...again. Local police found Noah's body in a desert in Cave Creek, AZ. We were heartbroken and crushed.
We all pray for Noah and know that he is with God.
June 17th, 2012 was the worst day of my life. I lost my sister, Holly. If you have a close sibling, you know they can double as a best friend and partner in crime. My sister taught me a lot about life. Looking back at our time together I remember the 'small details' that made life so special. Easter Egg hunts, waking up at the crack of dawn Christmas morning to make a mad dash to open presents, home made videos that we made during birthday parties, night swimming during hot summers, soccer tournaments, her taking me out with her "hot" friends when I was a freshman, my first party, graduation...the list of memories are never-ending.
If there is one thing that I loved most about my sister it was her smile. She had a smile that can light up a room. It was so inviting, kind, and warm. Her smile made me smile. It was infectious!
It was Father's Day (Sunday) in 2012 when I received a call at 5am. "Who in the world is calling me at 5a on a Sunday," I thought to myself. I looked and it was my sister who was calling. I thought she was trying to be funny and wish me a Happy Father's Day on her way to work. She worked in the restaurant business so working at 5am was normal. After hitting the ignore button on my phone I received another call from Holly no more than 30-seconds later. Concerned, I picked up the phone.
It was Holly's roommate, John. John was bawling. In fact he was crying so hard he could barely talk. It took me a few seconds, but I finally made out what he was saying, "I'm so sorry Kevin. I'm so fucking sorry. Holly has passed." Confused and still half asleep, I tried to grasp and understand the words that I was hearing. In an instant life started playing in slow motion. I couldn't breath, I couldn't think straight, my ears were ringing, my heart was pounding, and my body went numb. I dropped my phone.
Why? What? How? Why? Why? Why? What the fuck??? How can this possibly be happening AGAIN???
Holly didn't take her life. She tore a tendon in her ankle and she passed due to a blood clot. Like ALL of us, Holly battled her demons. She was an alcoholic and a bulimic. I never viewed her as either. To me, Holly was an inspiration, my sister, my friend, my idol. Not a day goes by that I don't think about Holly. Her smile, her laughter, and our silly conversations.
Holly is my biggest inspiration for creating our "Recovery Rockstars" community.