How We Cope, May 10 2015 - Mark Rafferty
Climbing Joshua Tree 2015

You always hear about natural and personal disasters on the news. Other people around the world or in the community being affected by so much loss. We never think that disaster, that unbalanced unit of measure, would happen to ourselves. We carry on through life looking upon those events thanking God that that wasn’t us. How can someone who made a lifestyle of close calls and sketchy activities be taken away from this life with something that was a relaxing activity. In a single instant our lives can be taken away. Without warning, without closure we are gone. leaving behind hurt and healed people who dwell in the greatness of that person. Why is it that whenever I look at a picture, listen to a song, or experience an area that reminds me of you my stomach hurts? Why is it that a kid with so much potential and so much success ahead of him was taken away? Taken away from all of his works, all the bloody knuckles, scared faces, sore muscles, calloused hands; all progress taken away by a single misread turn signal. That’s one thing that will never make sense to me. That’s the question that will replay in my head that can’t be answered. Why are we suppose to stand strong and not show our hurt to others? Instead we hide under our lifestyle that we lived before hoping someone will come up to us and ask us how we are doing. Even though when that person asks we hide back even farther. I don’t know how to deal with this sort of thing.

Seeing these types of situations in movies, I bring myself to do things as if I was in a movie. Which seems weird to say, however I believe we all do it. So as the stars in Hollywood would do I venture out into the places with the most memories of him. Yet as I get out there, sitting high on a rock or hiking low through a valley. I feel that stomach pain come to me. Doing what he can’t stopping in the exact spot where he helped me gain my confidence. Looking down the valley where in the past I first experienced simplicity of life. I begin to feel grateful. Grateful that this out of place kid, who admired life and found Christ through adventure, that he found peace and happiness through struggle. He embraced the worst situations, almost like he craved it. You could tell too. Whenever we looked at each other looking for the “Oh Shit” look, he always had his little smirk or his tale of intensity. He enjoyed the challenges that were thrown at us. However when we go back to town he wouldn’t say much on it, as if he just brushed it off his shoulders as if it was nothing. Do I think that he will be there whenever I’m facing a challenge like that? Well I’d like to think so, I like to please my mind in saying that he is there helping out, walking me through it, but I don’t feel anything. Shouldn’t I be feeling a hand patting me on the back, a burst of strength out of no where? I stand there waiting for that moment when I know he is there with me, but it never comes. Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. On this earth we always want the answers right away. If we don’t then we refuse to believe it. Why is that? Humans are very stubborn, so maybe I just have to patient. Go about what I’m doing hoping that someday he will give me that extra push, that helping hand that will lead me to success. I admire how uplifting he always was. Going to the one place everyone dreads and has absolutely no patients yet sharing his passion and love for everything. Now why cant I do the same? Why cant I walk into school with the best mood even though I’m feeling like shit? I don’t get it. Everyone is saying that he has changed so many lives spiritually after his passing. As I hear this being said across the room or eaves dropping on my mother’s conversations it doesn’t give me a sense of peace that this was the right thing. Instead I feel alone. Alone in the way that I haven’t been affected spiritually. If this was suppose to happen why is it that I feel drained of my faith? Am I wrong writing this? By saying I am mad at God for taking my best friend away when the biggest transformation in my life was coming and he was going to be apart of it. Does this make me a bad person, and am I the only one that feels this way?

Looking up into the sky for answers is something I’ve been struggling with lately as well. The thought that is always brought into my head is that I need to do this trip for him. To find more questions or maybe even answers. If he is able to help me through those struggles and hardships I like to think that of all places to find him in, it would be in the places where he wanted to go with me, though now it will be alone. There are so many regrets I have of the opportunities I missed of experiencing those places with him. So many regrets that shouldn’t be, because how would I have known he was going to be gone so soon? Life is a pain in the ass. I read somewhere that “Its not an adventure unless something goes wrong.” I referred to that statement for minimal things going wrong like bad weather, a car breaking down, or a broken bone. Maybe this is the something that went wrong. Making everything I do an adventure. However its only an adventure if you carry out the journey you originally planned. This pain in the ass life of ours isn’t going to be an adventure if we take the easy way out. Following his example of embracing the hardship and pushing toward the goal, I believe thats where people get their answers. By pushing through the pain and the worst case scenarios is where the wisdom reveals itself. I mean, who knows I’m just an 18year old kid about to graduate. So as I finish out my final days at school my body is present but my mind is off looking for that place in the hills where hardly anyone has been and to just listen to the oldies. The times he and I ventured out and captured that moment of being on top of a place where no one else had been. Looking out into landscape you get this overwhelming feeling that what your seeing is unique. Well millions of people have seen the landscape we are in but out of those millions few had shared our unique perspective. As we experienced that moment very few words were ever said. The only thing you would hear was music playing out of his speaker. It wasn’t loud music to get our energy uplifted it was classic music. Music that always fit perfectly with that moment. A sounds track to our perfect movie. Whenever I would look over at him you would tell he was experiencing something completely different than I was. Those were the times where he has the most inspiration. Time disappears, weight lifted off your shoulders, and warmth running through your veins. Sitting, breathing deeper and deeper so the warmth becomes overpowering in your body; time slows. Then the clouds and the sun form this bond that creates a sunset that turns the whole landscape a new color. Almost like it’ editing itself and testing multiple filters. Scrolling through different colors determining which color will shine the brightest. Seeing this happen we do the same with our phones. Trying our best to capture that moment where the earth is changing dramatically and so creatively, we snap a photo. The photo is never able to describe that moment exactly, but it gives us that remembrance. So when we get back home we look upon that photo and relive that feeling of freedom. I find myself looking at a lot of photos these days. Maybe that’s why I feel so lost; I’m watching a movie now instead of living one.