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still missing them 2 years later.

When I sat down to write this blog post, I realized it may not make sense to some people how I could still have things to say about the accident that happened two years ago tomorrow. A good friend and a potential friend were killed, and another friend was critically injured. And yet, even now, I am in tears remembering.

It’s weird what time does. In the past two years the name Tom has become almost foreign to me. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I don’t have any other friends named Tom, and maybe that is why. It’s also weird how life goes back to a new form of normal. I-75 near Mt. Vernon was always home for me growing up, being where my grandparents and Aunt and Uncle lived. But now it’s a place of sadness. But that isn’t what’s mostly on my mind today.

I know as believers in Jesus Christ, we can celebrate that Tom and Brad are in heaven now, where there is no death and no tears, but I still struggle with celebrating. Maybe it is where I am in my life, about to uproot from Lexington and move for seemingly no good reason other than God is telling me to do so. I just don’t think its fair that Tom had to die for me to realize how much like Jesus he was. And I’m not exaggerating things for the sake of being kind. Tom was so much like Jesus. And I’m ashamed that I didn’t learn from his example until he was gone.

That day is engrained in my mind forever. The sound of Erin’s voice on the phone breaking the news to me, Ben catching me when the news was final, and the funeral. What a horrible day. It all changed me, even when its not obvious to me.

The facts haven’t changed. I still can’t believe Tom and Brad are gone, even two years later. The sadness and disbelief are still very real, even for someone like me. But God is using Tom’s death still today, and in that I will myself to celebrate.

I want to be so much like Jesus, just like Tom was. That’s what I learned this past year. When I get to heaven, I want Tom to be proud of me, and then we can play Killer Pong, Assassinations, and SmudBall for eternity.

Categories: Life Tags: , , , ,

Tom & Brad: 1 Year Later.

November 9, 2009 2 comments

Tom - at Fall RetreatBrad - at Fall Retreat

I can’t believe it’s been a year…

I was filling up at a gas station in Richmond while the girls went inside for a bathroom break and caffeine. I was excited to be the first car getting back to Lexington; I was exhausted and ready to graduate school in a little over a month. I’d had a good weekend at Fall Retreat, my last one, but nothing spectacular or earth-shattering for me. I had a massive test in my hardest class, Music History, on my mind, and I hadn’t started the incredibly large amount of studying.

But then I got the phone call.

It was from Erin, who was in Lexington, wanting to know if we were okay. I was so confused. But then she cleared it up for me. I had to go in the gas station and get the girls and we prayed and took off to Lexington. Then the phone call & text message floodgate opened.

The memories of the rest of that day and the following week are still so vivid in my mind. I sat in a cubby on the 4th floor of Willy T. unsuccessfully trying to concentrate for hours. I got in my car to just drive and realized I had nowhere to go. I walked without purpose around the BCM building, my home, unable to sleep or hold a commonsensical conversation.

I avoided the stretch of Interstate for a long time. It was actually only a little under a month ago that I drove it for the first time. I cried the entire length of the new guardrail they’ve constructed. The overwhelming thought was how unfair it was that they got to leave us here. They are eternally in the presence of the Creator of the universe, and we are stuck here in a world of pain and death.

There are some things I have come to realize are forever changed about how I live because of the accident:

• I forgive much quicker.
• I don’t take time with people for granted.
These both go together. Since Tom and Brad went to be with Jesus, I try not to spend any time with unresolved conflict, or not being completely honest with those I care for. I don’t always succeed, but I have definitely seen where I normally would have held onto my hurt, I now let go easier. Time is so special.

• I invested time in those younger than me.

I didn’t like that I didn’t know Brad until that weekend. So after the accident, I purposely took more of an interest in the freshman, especially once my job fell through and I was in Lexington for the spring semester. And I thank my Lord that He brought two of those freshman into my life for good, as they are my very best friends.

• I no longer believe it couldn’t happen to me.
When someone is on their way somewhere and they are late and don’t call, I almost immediately think the worst. I no longer think something horrible like that would never happen to me. I make those I love text me when they get home safe & meaningfully tell others to be careful while driving.

I will forever cherish the memories I had with Tom. From the “Mike story” to his killer skills. From his pick-up lines to his horrible chants at my intramural football games… “B-A-P-T-I-S-T, BAPTIST CAMPUS MINISTRY!” I’m so thankful I got to spend time with him that Friday before we left for Fall Retreat. We were two of the only people in the building that morning and we played Mario Kart and Killer, reminiscing about the time Andrew hit me in the face with a ping-pong ball. He always thought that was hilarious.

I’m thinking of the May and Hall families today. I’m praying for all of us who were effected by this tragedy. And I’m thankful God spared Ben, and I still have him in my life being goofy and leading a great praise band at the BCM.

Hope will always guide me.

Tom and I - Hayride 06Brad at UK HockeyTOMnBRAD

what I wrote the night of the accident: Goodbye Friend.

College in a nutshell.

December 18, 2008 Leave a comment

FRESHMAN YEAR: so long ago – did it really happen? The good ol’ days of Patterson dorm living, trying to adjust to being in college, and all the while trying to maintain friendships back home.n12918440_7456121_2436

-I remember riding to the BSU for our Halloween party and I was in the back of Jenna’s jeep with her toy gun. I kept popping up and shooting people until I accidentally did it to a cop car! Needless to say, I kept a low profile for the rest of the ride. That was when the leaves on the trees along Columbia were bright red and I was so in awe. It was my first autumn! I loved everything about it, including flag football, even though Kristina was bitter and jealous toward my immediate rise to freshman star quarterback. Haha!

n12918731_30356112_20301-I loved living in North Campus, and the Annex girls of Patterson that year were truly one of a kind. Though I have parted ways with most of them, they were influential in my first adjustments to college. Jenn and I enjoyed rearranging the furniture in the room every few months or so, and it always was a challenge to maneuver. I was so homesick that first semester, but the fact that I made friends fairly quickly was the biggest encouragement of all. North Campus was especially great because it was so close to Lauren’s apartment, where I spent the majority of my spring semester. We scrapbooked, had amazing game nights (IMAGINEIFF!) and watched Cats’ games.

-Architecture school. Ugh. I never realized how miserable it made me until I was no longer in it. There aren’t even any good memories except getting to spend time with Danny. Jerzy’s class almost killed me to begin with, followed up by four hours of studio four days a week in the spring. I applaud those who have stuck with it, but it sure wasn’t for me, no matter how much I tried to convince myself it was.

-Fall Retreat (PUT IN WILL SMITH!), Freshman Council meetings (where’s Bustle?), the beginning of the FAB 4 (WinterJam, Spring Celebration, Thunder), mine and Kristina’s roadtrip to Florida, a summer back in Florida working 40n12914974_30880638_4075 hours weeks at Chick-Fil-A.

SOPHOMORE YEAR: As a whole, the worst year of my life, but the year I learned the most. It was spent living with Kristina in the Wesley Foundation’s dorm, the Methodist campus ministry – definitely an interesting experience. I can’t tell you how many times I was woken up by an alarm in the next room, or got to take part in conversations I could hear from upstairs. Oh well, it was only 2 minutes walking distance from the BCM…

n12918712_31876020_662-SMUDBALL! one of the most fun times I’ve had on campus. Those clothes definitely went in the trash. I do remember falling asleep on the floor of Carrie’s room while I was waiting for Kristina to get out of the shower, ’cause we didn’t want to shower in the Wesley.

-Going to West Virginia for fall break and seeing the most gorgeous views I’ve seen EVER. Oh, man 4-wheeling for hours in the mountains was amazing. Front row ball games with Kristen. Flying Carrie’s step-dad’s plane for a dinner trip to Rough Ridge. Spending Thanksgiving break up here in Lexington. Leading worship for the Hayride. My surprise n12934172_32907691_78621birthday present, getting lost on the way to Fall Retreat, the beginning of my car Corey’s competition with Ben’s car Wallace,  “quality time” with Tiffany, my first time skiing, PHONE BOOKS, Carrie coming home with me to Florida for Spring Break, Thursday night Grey’s at Kristen’s.

-My 19th birthday. Carrie and I driving to dinner when Kristina suddenly pops out of the trunk. Surprise – Chris Tomlin concert in Louisville! That night had some very memorable quotes. Kristina: “I was in the trunk for 45 minutes. I’m such a good friend!” Me: “Don’t both telling me anything once we get inside, cause I’ll be in awe.” Carrie: “Well then, now’s the time to tell you. I’m preggers. And I’m smoking crack. But don’t worry, I’m going off it for the baby.”

-The Lip Sync Contest: Fab 4 does OK Go on Treadmills. Utter glory. The video is my most watched clip on Youtube to this day. It only took us a couple hours of sweaty practice in the Wesley basement to get it down. We should have won. SO ROBBED. But everyone liked it so much that we got to do an Encore at the end anyway. Fab 4 rules again!n12900452_32954957_5463

JUNIOR YEAR: one for the record books. Essentially a year of starting over with most of my closest friends deciding they wanted to live in Louisville. 🙂 Finally living off campus in a beautiful house on Woodland. Five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and barely any heat. Though I felt like I practically lived alone, it was worth it. This was a year where I finally developed friendships that I knew were going to last for the rest of my life, be it a future roommate or a BCM intern. 🙂n12932532_35523421_57201

-Spending every weekend (practically) at Tiffany and J’s house. That big red couch became my second bed. I loved the times we spent there, studying, watching Grey’s, having serious conversations, making pancakes!, having girl’s nights, and playing guitar hero (J, I did beat you at My Name is Jonas!), cooking dinner for the boys (you guys just let me stir the mashed potatoes), getting ready for Spring Celebration, crashing after my week in the DR.

-There was that one night we had a party and were drinking white strawberry juice, or whatever, but all the pictures make me look like i’m downing a bottle of whiskey! And of course the random picnic and photoshoot at the arboretum. All the girls did senior photos and I just pouted and didn’t want to participate, so instead I look like a bird in every picture. Haha, that was such a great weekend. There were the many weekend days spent “studying” at Erin’s apartment, and playing MarioKart and SuperSmash brothers at the B together. I improved enough for Erin to consider me halfway decent. 🙂

-Football season. We rushed the field! I was happy to have Kristina by my side in blue, considering she was a UofL cardinal now. And then the best 21st birthday present of all, beating #1 LSU in 3 OTs! Watching with my best friends in Louisville being celebrating was a night to remember always.

-I finally managed a flag football championship, winning in 28 degree weather. I have no idea how I even threw a football with fingers that cold. My parents got to come, cause they moved to Kentucky (finally!). We spent the first 8 months in a 2-bedroom apartment and finally bought a house in Somerset in April. I love being able to go home on the weekend.

n12917418_34934782_9222-The most random roadtrip of my life – Chicago! Gabe, Ben, Rachel and I spent the weekend walking aimlessly through the city. The Navy Pier Ferris wheel was probably my favorite part, being able to see the whole city’s skyline, although Rachel about hyperventilated. And of course, how could I forget the creation of “The List” on the way back. (and the chaos that ensued from that piece of paper once we returned…)

-Wisconsin in April? Spending 4 days on a choir tour to Wisconsin was something I dreaded so much I can’t even express, but it ended up being a lot n50907677_31777331_1348of fun. I got to know two little freshman a lot better, and of course spent quality time with my adopted mother, Ms. Rachel Henn. 🙂 Lindsay bought me my first purse and we shopped. A lot. Then we sang. Then we shopped. Oh, and how could I forget the night in the random people’s house? Rachel, Erica and I talked Robert into asking Rachel to Spring Celebration. Hahaha!

-of course I rocked out the Lip Sync contest again with Lori and Tiffany by my side. We were robbed. I will argue it forever. How can you beat 4 choreographed dances to Staying Alive, Thriller, Can’t Touch This, and Cupid Shuffle? Exactly.

-my week in the Dominican Republic. It was the beginning of big changes in my life. My first trip out of the country, my first bit of analyzing what I was doing with my life, and my first experience of culture shock. I fell in love with a little boy named Jeffrey, talked about my hairy past through an interpretor to inner city Domincan kids, and helped bring clean water to a little village in south central DR. We played Risk, Euchre, and crammed 16 of us in a 12 passenger van. It was glory. Even though I spent the next month insanely sick, it was worth every second.n12917418_36249505_7660

SUMMER 2008: Although this isn’t a year in school, my summer spent working at Jonathan Creek camp was the msot influential time in my life. I went scared, anxious, and full of dread. I left changed, with amazing new friends, and with a better grasp on my relationship with my Lord.

0524f-03-videos… Dumping water on the boys in one take – I knew from the beginning Tracy was a champ. Boat Race promo – putting a kayak on the Tower, on the mountain bike trail, in the boys bathroom, etc. etc. The Turkey Leg promo – no one knew I was filming it: surprise! The Lark video – the only time I got in front of the camera. At least we have funny outtakes from me not being able to lift the log. “Oh no, it’s Bivens!” Haha, and re-voicing that video was amazingly funny. The Poo Pond video – Corky’s dance. Enough said. Creating that Staff DVD is one of my proudest works, especially the time I got to spend with the likes of Tracy, Laura, and Brittany in the tech booth late at night coming up with superlative names. Haha.

-our room’s rap song. It started training week and continued far into the summer. “hey yo ho, get yo panties off the flo’ / bright pink flower panties on the flo’ / hey panties! hey panties!” Our room most definitely had the most interesting late night conversations. We will rival any claims from any other room. Our room was also the messiest, no thanks to my bunkmate (right AC?).0627-10

-Capture the Flag/Softball weekends. I was really sick and running on 3 hours of sleep (like every Friday), but I was hardcore. After chasing down the boys after finding the flag the first time, I took to the offense and after a 30 min stint on the boys’ side, I completed the only successful jail breakout. No thanks to Corky and his cheater flashlight! Of course, all the boys cheated. In the pool? I mean, really?! Then the glory of the softball game. Brittany took the video camera so I could focus on playing. I will never forget our trash talking into the camera right before we had a 6 run inning to come back and win the game. Classic.

-Zambia. TA time. CC. late night talks on the dock, in the tech booth, in the POI room, outside JCafe, and at the POI lunch table.

SENIOR YEAR: Living at the BCM. It was the perfect set-up. I’ve practically lived there for 3 years anyway, free rent, and living with my best friend. What could be better? Then there’s that whole stripping and waxing the floors thing… Considering I decided in early September that I was graduated in December, I think I got a lot crammed into my last semester as a college student.n27401108_39153863_2483

-YOU SHUT UP LATISHA! Oh LaSarah, you have brought such joy to the BCM this year. Lauren and I love to yell it through the apartment, joined by Tiason upstairs. I’ll never forget him jumping on the window at Fall Retreat. Other Youtube videos that have affected us this year: Can I Have Your Number?, Bon QuiQui, and Beyonce’s Single Ladies.

n51804604_32730701_87432-Refocus aka Summer Staff Reunion. Lauren, Shelby and I went to worship and absolutely nothing else all weekend. It was very relaxing and definitely interesting to be back at JCreek. But I got to eat Matt B’s with Lindsey, spend time with the Rouses, and of course Corky, Susanne, and the girls. I still wish that weekend was like real life. I got to show Audra where I spent my summer, and we got to have some great conversations late at night in our sleeping bags.

1013f-20-My birthday. The girls surprised me after my night class with a party in our apartment! We played karaoke, ate pizza, and then Erin, Josh and I ended up with a crazy night downtown with a finale of running through the fountains by the courthouse. It was a great day to be 22.

-The claw. It’s stupid. Ben heads up the pro-claw club, and I am queen of the anti-claw. Third down stops will never be the same again. And that’s all I have to say about that.

n1196970013_30171490_3118-Retro Prom. Utter glory (or laud, right Aud?). I’ve never seen all my friends look so hideous (except Erin, leave it to her to look cute…) and I’ve never had so much fun with them at a BCM dance, that’s for sure. Everyone was so much more relaxed cause there wasn’t the pressure of trying to look pretty, haha. And of course, the boys chose me to be serenaded to “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” as a celebration of my last BCM Formal. It was completely embarassing, but really fun all the same.

-Camp friends. I’ve been able to not only maintain friendships from camp, but they have become some of the cloeset and most treasured friendships I’ve ever had. We’ve enjoyed football games, the golf driving range, basketball games, movies and books (Twilight, Trace & Laura?) awkward social situaions with friends from “real life,” sledding, getting tattoos, and concerts. We’ve helped each other through school crises, family situations, boy drama, and other deep things I know I would not have made it through as easily without them.

-The accident. As sad as it is, I cannot have a complete synopsis of my Senior semester without mentioning the impact this had on me and everyone here at the BCM. I never felt like the BCM was more of a family until we had to help each other mourn the loss of two of our brothers. I think about them every day, especially Tom, and thank God for the final moments I got to spend with them. Losing them and having to learn to help each other mourn different taught me more about love and grace than I can say. The deaths of Tom May and Bradley Hall have unified us, taught us, and driven us. I am excited for what we have planned in their honor. And I’m excited for the fact that they are in heaven.

i wanna go Home.

November 17, 2008 1 comment

Last week was unlike any I’ve ever gone through. Quite high on the difficulty scale, there was little sleep, little class, much tears, and much driving, leading to a lot of playing catch-up for a lot of us this week. Not good timing with the end of the semester quickly approaching.

Yesterday, as I was pulling out of church, I was thinking about the way situations and relationships where handled this past week. Death, especially untimely and seemingly unfair death like we’ve experienced, many times brings about perspective. I used to hate that word. It brought me nothing but guilt. Now, I’m a little more keen on the subject. Anyway, I realized that no matter how I feel, I should do everything in my power to make sure people feel nothing but love from me. Even if I feel wronged, even if I want them to see my hurt, I should never make them feel anything but love. God will take care of the rest. Now, I know this sounds like another Christian cliche, but I hope you know I’m above that shit. This is truth. Easier said than done, but truth. It’s all about perspective.

Mostly the overwhelming feeling I have had this week is jealousy and anger. I am jealous that Tom and Brad got to leave this world, and angry that it wasn’t me. If that sounds morbid, so be it. This world is not my home. I don’t belong here. As a follower of Christ, I know that’s the truth. The most common thought I’ve had besides “I can’t believe he’s really gone” is “I can’t believe they got to go.” Heaven isn’t something I think about a lot, and with this perspective, (there’s that darn word again) it’s been on the forefront of my mind. I hate not being able to wrap my mind around things, and heaven is definitely one of those things. It’s times like these that I realize the fleetingness of this world, and relationships here, and my heart yearns for Home.

My heart yearns for Home.

Goodbye friend.

November 10, 2008 1 comment

tomTom, I never realized how many memories I have with you. You were in integral part of my life since you stepped foot on this campus almost 2 and a half years ago and Kristina introduced you as “Tommy,” which of course led to the infamous “Mike” story. You knew how to push my buttons right from the beginning. I remember trying to get behind in Killer when you first started playing ’cause you were BAD. I guess that’s not the case, now, huh? We have been saying all day how you’re playing with Jesus now. I said you’re losing, but Ben had a little more faith, he said you’re teaching Jesus the U-shot. 🙂

I love the final memories I have of you, from this past weekend. It was my last fall retreat, and I didn’t even want to go. I enjoyed a game of Killer with you, and we talked about the night Andrew hit me in the face with the ping-pong ball. It seemed like so long ago. And of course your accidental “shit” into the microphone that had the entire group laughing for a good 2 minutes. You always did make me smile with that mischievous grin of yours.

You were always helpful and sweet, and damn I hate using the past tense. I can’t believe this has happened. It’s the stuff that happens to other people, and you hear about it and are sad for them, but then go about your life. I can’t go about my life. I realized that when I had to call Kristina and tell her you were gone only to listen to her lose it over the phone. I wanted nothing more than to span the 70 miles that separated us.

The BCM wasn’t how you would have liked it today. An awkward hush abounded. I felt stifled after hearing about Bradley, went for a drive, only to realize I had nowhere to go. I returned just as we got the call about you. I made it downstairs before I lost it. Now that I have no one to be strong for, it’s become hard. My mind keeps telling me you’re gone, but I make myself stop before I really realized what that means. You’re GONE. Oh, gosh. Oh gosh, oh gosh.

I know you would want us to continue life. I played 2 games of Killer for you tonight, and almost beat Josh for you. I’ve been staring at my Music History notes for 7 hours now, and nothing is sticking. It’s a sucky distraction. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to lose someone. You were 20. Gosh, that damn past tense.

I want to go on, but I can’t. Oh gosh…

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