Knocking out some typings this morning!
Couldn’t sleep for anything last night/this morning. It’s been quite the year to date looking back. Lots has happened, lots of very good things, but as life would have it, there are some things that I could have done without.
June 25, 2015, my friend Benjamin Chad Carson passed away. I met Ben right around my 12th grade year of school. He had that go get it, sleep is for the weak, if it doesn’t kill me it makes me stronger kind of attitude. The kid always seeked new adventures, anything crazy, edge of your seat, jam packed full of adrenaline kind of adventures. If you weren’t worried or stressed out about what you were about to do, it wasn’t worth doing it if Ben had anything to say about it.
Ben had this contagious laugh that even if you didn’t find something funny, once he got going with the laugh, you couldn’t help but join in. I remember when he was making fun of this guy that was in charge of a car show, that ended up stealing a lot of the money the show made for charity, we were pretty pissed at the guy. But the guy that stole the money and wasn’t heard from again, he drove a Nissan Xterra, and I remember sitting around at 5 Star restaurant with some of the car club guys, and Ben goes, you know, “so and so is probably driving around in a 24 karat gold Xterra yelling, I’M RICH ***** out the window.” It was so out of left field and random because he had been quiet to that point, but he started laughing and I thought it was pretty hilarious. So, anytime I would right Ben when he was in Leavensworth, Kansas for 2 years, I would usually somewhere in my letters ask Ben if he was saving up for a 24 karat Xterra for when he got back.
When Ben came home, for a while he was doing very well. Avoiding the crowds that he got mixed up with that completely impacted the Ben I once knew. The change seemed so immediate, all of a sudden he was back at it, resorting to his old ways. At the time, it made me so mad because of all the letters he wrote me saying he was changed and would stay changed when he got home. I would only periodically talk to him, when I saw a Facebook post that was very unlike him to say, I would text/call him to ask if he was ok. Normally, it was a, “Yeah man, it’s just this girl”, or “I should have kept hanging out with you man”. But every time after, there would be a social media post of him at a rave, big party, etc. The choices and group of friends he was involved with took over. I remember when he broke up with his fiancee, and he posted a photo of the new bullet bike he purchased. The moment I saw the post, I had a horrible gut feeling. I have seen a lot of people I once knew have horrible wrecks, some die, not just from their choices while riding the bike, but the unaware driving of others.
I was at work last June 25th, 2015, logged onto ksl.com to read the news and saw a deadly motorcycle accident article. I clicked into it and my heart dropped when I saw the bikes fairings and a hat in the road that sad “Live Fast Die Fun”. I knew it was Ben. Trying to talk myself out of it, I logged onto Facebook and sure enough, his page was filling up with the “RIP Ben” comments. I broke down.
Now, I’m not saying I could have changed anything. The world spins, the sun rises and sets, and people make choices regardless on what others say or recommend to others. But, what I do know, is some times, the world isn’t always about me or my feelings or perspective on others. I admit, there are times where if it doesn’t benefit me, or if it is a scenario where there is no immediate pay off, in the past I would shy away, make an excuse not to help, or hold a grudge on why I wouldn’t be a part of it. This was my problem with Ben. I was mad, mad at him saying he was going to change. Mad at him telling me he’d wished he’d kept close with me instead of the high-seeking, drug taking “friends” he ended up hanging out with. When he relapsed and went back to his old ways, a part of me thought well, maybe it’s me? Maybe I just am not that interesting to hang out with? But after seeing all the posts on social media about the parties, the same friends, I gave up. I lost the drive to stay close and even said to myself, “it’s your life Ben”.
Looking at it a year later, I still wish I had the mentality I do now. One phone call. One text message. Life changes course in seconds. Opportunities present themselves to us every single day, sometimes with more than one ending result. Without thinking through all the options, we can find ourselves in situations that are life changing. I try to keep an open mind, I am far from perfect, I make mistakes daily, but what I won’t ever do again, is shy away, turn the other cheek, or block out a friend of mine, past or present, who is struggling in life and is just looking for some level ground to stand on.
I miss the kid every, single day. To see him one last time, to say I’m sorry for not being there when he needed help the most, would mean the world to me.