I think I’m writing this on behalf of everyone. You’re gone, and you were so young. The very night of your twenty first birthday, you left this world, but you definitely left it changed by your mere existence. You live on in the hundreds of lives that you touched, and you died doing what you loved most – climbing. It was ironic to me, nearly unbelievable. You were the kind of person, the only person really, that I thought would never die. You were so wild and free, and you always got away with it. But not this time.
I drove to your house the other day on the way home from your memorial service. I hope you know how much love there was in that room. It was insane. I felt it in every bone, vein, and blood cell in my body. You were so, SO loved Johnny. But I broke down. I realized that there would be no more running to my house at any hour of the day and then running some more along side of me. I wanted to run with you forever. Not because we were best friends, although I certainly wish we had been, but rather, it was because you were infectious. You bled passion for everything you did, and it was nothing short of contagious. It’s so hard for me to accept the fact that you’re gone. How can someone so spirited and so full of life die so soon?
I miss your fire engine red hair. I miss your wit. I miss the crazy-eyed face you made in 99% of the pictures that were taken of you. I miss the hawaiian shirts and orange soda cans. I just want you back. I want you here, even just for a minute, so that everyone who misses you so dearly can say goodbye, and hear you say it back, because right now, this isn’t over for me. And I’m sure it’s not over for anyone else either. Losing someone, especially someone like you, never gets easier. It only gets bearable. And I’m going to wish for the rest of my life that I got to tell you all of this to your face, because that’s what you deserve. You were one of the few genuinely phenomenal people to have graced this planet. I don’t blame God for wanting you up there, if that’s what you believe. And if it is, Johnny, I hope and pray that I’ll see you on the other side.
Bless your heart, and may you rest in peace.