Tuesday, November 3, 2009

7 Years Ago...

7 years ago, on this very day, I would have just gotten home from a 3 days vacation at a beach apartment with 12 of my best friends. Three days filled with alcohol, late-nights and daring stunts.

I was 16 and I don’t give a shit about the world. Let’s face it, nothing is sexier to a 16 year old than lots of fun.

After a hot shower, I jumped straight to bed, dead to the world. At about 7.30pm I was woken up by a phone-call but I was too tired to answer it so I went back to bed. I woke up the next day at 8.00am to ’15 missed calls’ staring back at me on my mobile screen.

I called the first on the list, Joseph, and there was an awkward silence when I said "Hello".

Through what I assumed were sobs, he murmured some shit that I did not understand. I told him, “Joseph, what is wrong?”

I didn’t hear the next few words properly, but I heard, “Bryan…. swimming…. drowned… hospital…” And he paused. At that very moment, I felt my own body breaking into pieces. He then said the last 3 words I did not want to hear, “And he died.”

At 16, life was supposed to be ideal – you have best friends, you be hip and cool, experiment with shits, hang out with your gang and who gives a shit about the world. However, at 16 I saw my best friend lying on his death bed – pale, calm and still. And through his death bed, I saw my own death.

I died that day.

For 3 months, I lived in a world of emptiness and darkness surrounded by pain and betrayals. I questioned my direction in life, my purpose of life and most of all, I questioned the very essence of existence.

We all lived to die. So why live?

Or so I thought.

Those much-needed three months really changed my life forever. It’s helped me to establish an identity for myself – my belief, values and place in the world.

Going through those three months also helped me to see the heroic act in others who are going through adversities of their own. Often, we look up to big public superheroes that we forget about people in our everyday life. For example, I have come to appreciate that for someone whose going through severe depression, even getting up every morning is a heroic act that needs equal acknowledgement in itself.

The world continues to spin regardless of what happens in our world and in the world. It continues to spin because of the many heroic acts, the generous actions that happen on a daily basis that go unnoticed.

I vow that I will not arrive on my death bed in “one piece”. Seeing myself in a death bed has taught me to live. I guess Morrie Schwartz was right when he said, “you don’t learn to live until you learn to die”. Everyday, I tell myself that I am more alive than ever, I am capable and I will surf every wave, reach every dreams and fight for everything I deem important. At the end, I want to lie in my death bed saying, “Boy, what a ride!”

The pain of losing someone you love never go away, it just becomes more bearable. It still hurt, and it hurts a lot when I come to think about it. But these pain reminds me that in my everyday life, in everything I do, I must make sure that I keep a warm heart, a cool head and lead with open ears.

Today is an important day to me because 7 years ago, today, I died. Because I died, I am able to live again – and live a fulfilled life that I have today.

Today is an important day, because today I honour, pay respect and remember my best friend… my brother. I believe he’s still very much alive in me because it is through him that I am who I am today.


Anonymous said...

guess it shows how ppl live different lifestyles and what they think it means to "live". (pls dont get me wrong, its just ive neva thought bout drinkin and doin thoughtless things)
isnt it strange how 1 event can change smone's attitude to life so differently?
and RIP for your best mate, and he did not die in vain as he has (in some way) shaped u into who you are now (^.^)

Anonymous said...

I can remember losing my favourite Gran when I was a teenager and how deeply that affected me and shaped lots of my attitudes about the sanctity of life, the worth of human life and lots of things to do with the kind of person she was and how there was a bit of her in each of her children and in us, her grandchildren.

I too had some very close friends when I was 16; and like many at that age, we'd just come through life-changing public exams and were in a winding down mood that summer, before we started on the next two year course to the next lot of exams.

The world was our oyster, yes! And if I'd lost one of those friends of my own age instead of my Gran (who was theoretically old enough to die) then I think I too would have been altered by the event to an even greater extent than her death caused.

Thanks for sharing that.

Dzyan said...

Congratulations, for you are able to live today, so sorry the price was so high, but what better way to celebrate one´s life than living yours in his honour, a memorial to his deeds in life, congratulations because life is indeed quite a fun ride and I too had a life changing experience that shook me around, woke me up and made me realize that life is just too damn short, let us celebrate Bryan´s, today seven years ago he gave you the best lesson life often saves for a few ones, how to be alive.


Just said...

Thanks Aaron , once again you touch me. Huggs. I am glad you took him with you along the way and you out look from this. It all anyone can ask , is how we go on. I know that what I would want.

So here is to Brian, Cheer's Man and thanks ....... Love Just

pathetic prophet said...

It is one of the most wonderful things about how we humans are made: we have the capacity to change total disasters into something life-affirming. Thanks for sharing something so profoundly beautiful

Anonymous said...

You're right, there are many heroic actions carried out on a daily basis. If we can start to see many of the even simplest daily actions as heroic, I think we get a deeper appreciation of each day and the events that transpire.

Anonymous said...

Wow this was such a moving post that really hit close to my heart.

I'm sorry that you had to go through this and I'm really glad you're remembering your friend and your brother in such a great way.

B. Kushner said...

I really appreciate you posting this. Thanks.

To lose someone so close to you is just unreal. I think it's so true what you said about "the pain of losing someone you love never go away, it just becomes more bearable." Even continuing to bear such pain, I'm very glad that you are able really live life!

Cooper said...

Thanks for posting this I've been reading a lot blogs and finding out there are people out there somewhat like me and these great blogs are helping thanks for sharing!

Jason Carwin said...

I just read this, and I think it is one of the most beautiful and powerful pieces of writing I have seen in a long time. Tears are still falling from my eyes.

Dean Grey said...


I know Bryan is proud of all you accomplished so far!

What an amazing tribute to him by living your life to the fullest!


Jason Shaw said...

I may have only come here very recently, however, I know I will be coming back more and more.

You show great courage and ability in putting words to the page and over coming such adversity.

No matter if our friendship be long or short, just know that it's filed with love in my heart.

Phunk Factor said...

People die all the time...and no death is easy to accept...the closer we are to the recently deceased the more we grieve...and the wise amongst us learn the best they had to teach!

You did that...and Bryan would definitely be very proud of u, Aaron! Very very proud!

Felix said...

What you have written is truly inspirational.

<3 Thank you,

Felix xx

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