Chris Severy Day (Weekly Inspiration)
On October 12, 1998, I was deeply impacted by the death of a friend Chris Severy. He was one of the brightest, friendliest, and most talented people I have ever known, and he was far too young to die. It was a morning like any other when he hit a tree while riding his bike down Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. I am pretty sure when Chris woke up that morning he had no idea that it would be his last. I had a hard time coming to terms with the idea that in one moment life can seem long, full of possibilities, and dreams waiting to come true, while in the next moment it can just end. I had just turned 28, and for the first time in my life, I think I understood my own mortality. If Chris could die in an instant, anyone could.
About two years after his death, I started an annual tradition with my high school students to help me deal with a loss I still didn’t understand. Each year on October 12th, I would tell a few stories about some of my memories of Chris and share how he died. I pledged, along with my students, that once a year we should set aside a day and let all the important people in our lives know how important they are, how much we love them, and how much better our lives are because we know them. It was a way to get straight with the world, resolve petty conflicts, and forgive wrong doings. I would remind myself, and my students, that none of us know when we will meet our tree or have our time run out. We are crazy not to take a few moments every year to get straight in our relationships, and make certain that the people we love the most, know how we feel, and that we appreciate them being in our lives.
I no longer have a class to stand in front of and tell these stories, but I have many former students who read this blog and remember the stories. I know there are other readers of this blog I have never met, or had in my classes, but you are still invited to celebrate this day and this pledge with us. Post a kind shout out on your facebook profile, send out a few emails, hand write a note or two, make a phone call you have been putting off, or whatever you feel you need to do just in case you meet your tree sooner than later.
I am so thankful to be surrounded by amazing family and friends who have added more life to my days than I can quantify. I love all of you! To my former students – Know that I learned more from you over the years, than you ever did from me! You have shaped my life and the person I am today! To the friends I have yet to meet – I love you too and look forward to our adventures together! Happy Chris Severy (Sev) Day!