Two years ago today, I lost one of my best friends to a car crash. He was an amazing individual with a great heart, amazing spirit, awe-inspiring faith, sick talent as both a soccer player and a leader, a loyal friend and admired person by everyone and anyone who knew him. We met in Teen Leadership class my sophomore year, introducing ourselves the first day as “Andrew Apricot” and “Nicole Nacho”. I remember thinking it was weird how he choose something so odd, like apricots, when he could’ve chosen something awesome, like apples! I found out he was new to our town, just moved in. And then he said he played soccer, so after class I introduced myself as the manager and told him good luck at tryouts. And that was the start to a beautiful friendship that was seriously way too short. He told me I was one of the first friends he made there, and he was actually nervous about trying to make friends. Which now I think is hilarious, because he got along with everyone. I used to call him Mr. Humble as a joke, because he seriously was so humble, so modest, about his talents, gifts and dreams with everyone…except with me. He always used to brag about himself to me and didn’t even realize he was doing it until I started laughing. What was just a fun inside joke now has become a memory I will cherish in my heart forever.
Now, while I may only have memories, it blows my mind how much Andrew is still with all of us. People still write on his Facebook wall, we still talk about him, and think about him every.single.day. And today, I know a lot of people will have statuses on Facebook in honor of him. It doesn’t matter that half of us are spread out across the country, attending different universities or doing different things; or that some are still back at home, walking the same halls we walked in with him. The fact that all of us are still brought together in some fashion, even if it is as simple as a Facebook status, in honor of him is so amazing to me. It is so powerful, that so many different people in so many different places are all brought together. I just love that he is still here with us, impacting our lives just as much as he did while he was alive. I will always look up to him for that.
A lot of us reflected on what Andrew taught us while he was alive in the weeks after his passing. And there were so many different answers, because he was such an amazing guy. But one thing he taught me and I believe now is a reminder for me, is the title of this blog: Carpe Diem. Sieze the Day. Make the most of the time you have. Tell those you love them that you love them. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, take a chance. Follow your dreams. Fail. And succeed. Smile. Cry. Live. Take every opportunity you have and run with it. If the opportunity doesn’t present itself, make one. All these things and more, he taught me by just being himself. Now, I think of him as a symbol and use his memory as a reminder that life is beautiful and that I should live everyday like it is the best day of my life. In December, I’m getting a tattoo on my inner right ankle saying just that, both in honor of Andrew, and what he taught me; not only just so I can remember (but honestly, how could I forget something so powerful) but so I can also share that message with others when they ask about it.
I am so thankful I knew him for the short two years that I did. He will be an inspiration to me for the rest of my life. So today, if you’re reading this, please tell everyone you care about that you do care. Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. Tell your friends how much they enrich your life. Hell, take a picture with a friend you haven’t yet. Because you never know if that is the last chance you might have to do so.
Keep flying, Mr. Humble. ❤
“Keep away from people you try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you, too, can become great.” — Mark Twain
P.S. Just a quick note, Telle (remember the guy I quoted from my other blog) posted his most recent blog and guess what? His topic is the EXACT same as mine here! How odd is that? Obviously we’re in sync. So I’ll provide a link below, because he has a great message as well!