The Fourth of July means a lot of things to me. It's a day of celebration for our country. Our Independence Day. It also happens to be my best friend's birthday, Gina Grant. So I celebrate her life in mine. Twins.
But more so, every single year, I am reminded of the day a great friend passed away in a horrible car accident. Rick Girod was so young when he died. He was speeding on his way too church, the car lost control and he passed away in the hospital days later.
I got the text when I was at work. I read the words. "Rick died." My phone dropped and then my body followed. I fell to the ground and I couldn't process the entire situation. We just lost Corey.....I didn't watch a single firework that day. I didn't do anything except for lay on the couch and cry.
Is this really happening?
Is he really gone?
How is Abbey (his beautiful girlfriend) doing!?
And how can this happen so quickly, we just lost our great friend Corey Shaffer nearly a month before....
It was hard the next year. Insanely hard. I didn't want to celebrate with everyone because I was holding onto the memory that surrounded the day. A memory that I didn't want to be real. Couldn't it just be a mistake? It wasn't...It never will be.
So, it's that time of year again. When a million emotions come flying at me like a mass of angry insects onto a fast moving car.
But this time, I'm going to celebrate his life. Remember the happy times we spent together. In fact, the funniest part about my friendship with Rick is that he truly was my elementary school crush. I thought for sure we'd get married. So handsome and loved the Dallas Cowboys, come on, what else could you ask for!?!
But then one day Dad came home and told me we were meeting this new girl he was dating and her kids. I was excited. He said the boy was my age and the girls were a little older.....
You guessed it. I walked in and saw Rick! WHAT!?! Dad you can't date the mother of the my love. It's funny now looking back at the situation. So I've decided to smile and remember those moments.
And when I look up at the sky and see those fireworks, I'll think of Rick smiling down on us. And Corey. He will be dancing above with Rick. After all, Corey was the Pool Party Dance Champ nearly every single year. They'll be looking down at us while we look up at the sky. Just like they have been for the last five years.
Watching us grow older. Graduating from college. Getting married. Having children. They have been watching over all of their friends and that is worth smiling back at them in sky.
"But patiently, you slipped away from me, Oh God I want you back, Oh God I miss my friend, But so patiently..." O.A.R.
For you Rick and Corey, I say this with teary eyes- Much love,