As I sit in my office, watching the sun set over campus yet again, I drift off. The past two weeks have made many of us take a step back and look at the big picture--something we do all too infrequently.
The news on the evening of Mon., Sept. 29 was jarring. Calgary native and NHL superstar Dany Heatley lost control of his car, sending it into a brick wall at 130 km/h, killing good friend and teammate Dan Snyder in the process.
This consumed my thoughts Tuesday as I went about my daily routine. It came up in conversation and I found myself online regularly, looking for new information.
That night, as I was leaving campus around midnight, my stomach turned. As I pulled onto 32 Ave. I saw police tape sealing off the road. I knew it was an accident and I prayed it wasn't anyone I knew.
My fears were realized the next day. Brian Collins and Joah Atkinson were huge parts of this campus, contributing as much as anyone to the happiness of those around them. The pain on the faces of those who knew them best looked almost unbearable, but as time creeps onward, a certain beauty has been born of the horrific tragedy--a truer, fuller appreciation of life.
Life is simultaneously a valuable and fragile thing. I have often used the justification "I could die tomorrow" to rationalize doing what I want to do today. Heartbreaking moments like that drive home the night of Tue., Sept. 30 put that statement in perspective.
Any one of us could die tomorrow.
The sun has now set, and my body is covered in goosebumps. I know I have a multitude of things to do tonight--Wednesday's are busy for me--however there is a stronger realization of how valuable life is that I hope never leaves me.
Brian and Joah touched the lives of hundreds by simply living their own lives to the fullest. I have heard it said by a few people over the past week that they "led from the middle."
We should all learn something from this. Not from their deaths, but from their inspiring lives.
We're only here once. We only get one chance to get it right or wrong. We only have so many sunsets, so many love affairs and so many lazy mornings. We need to cherish every single one of them.
We owe it to their memory.
We owe it to ourselves.