*Photo pilfered from an amazing friend of the Floyd's Facebook page because it's perfect
I've had my fingers on the keyboard for 17 minutes.
I want the perfect beginning because anything less is not enough. I'm trying to put into words inexplicable thoughts and feelings and Henry's simultaneously asking me how to wash a plate and it's hopefully understandable, therefore, that nothing poetic is coming. So I'm just going to let my thoughts flow and pray that it's coherent.
Time is Relative
There are people you can know your whole life and yet never really know. And there are people you can know for a short time who will impact the trajectory of your thoughts and your actions for the rest of your life. Nick, you and your family are the latter.
Being Alive Isn't the Same as Living
Some people live to be 105 but never really live. Nick really lived. He took nothing---and no one---for granted. He lived every moment. Every experience. Every trip. Every thank you. Every card. Every zoo light. Every scoop of sorbet. Every glazed donut. Every moment with a hand on his hand. Every wish. Every everything.
Listening is Valuable
Nick was always listening. He is still listening. I'm sure of it.
Your Friends Are a Window into Your Soul
If you want to know who a person is at his core, look at the people who surround him during his darkest hour. For Nick, there is Nathan, who was---at one point---photographed wearing hot pink stretch pants and a hot pink shirt (I trust that won't happen again, but I'm afraid it might). There is Maddie, who is quiet and peaceful (and tolerant of Nathan!). There is Zach, who was at Nick's side right after being released from the hospital from having his left arm and shoulder amputated. There are his siblings and cousins and other friends who didn't shy (or run) away in fear from what was happening but instead jumped in and did whatever was necessary for their friend. There is his girl, and I don't have to meet her to know what a beautiful spirit she is.
This circle of Nick's has caused me to wonder: Of the people who surround each of us, which of them would continue to surround us in our darkest hour? For these people are the purest reflection of what we have put into the world. As we enter a new year, I'm taking stock of those people in my own life. Who would be there? Who has been there? Who lifts me up? Who accepts me for me? Who is a reflection of the type of person I aspire to be? Those who don't fit into any of these categories---who don't make me better, don't have my own best self in mind, don't make me proud when I see their attitudes and approaches and values staring back at me in the mirror---they will be graciously left in the album known as "People I Liked At One Point for Some Reason But Who Will Stay in 2014." And I certainly wish them well because I believe that's what Nick would suggest that we do.
God Moments Happen
I know this because I had one with Nick. It's not possible for me to describe it. I don't even need to. It was 3 minutes of peace and love and God and the deepest understanding that we are all connected. And I'm forever blessed by it.
Attitude is Everything
Good or bad can be found in any situation. No matter how badly he felt, Nick found the good. When he was frustrated, he was frustrated, of course. But he expressed it and moved forward. He never let it take over. Frustration wasn't his overriding emotion---not by a long shot. He is the epitome of grace under fire.
Angels Are Everywhere
The most amazing people came forward---by the tens of thousands---to support Nick and his family in whatever way they could. Each of these people believes that where there's a will, there's a way. That where there is great love, anything is possible. That the answer is not "No" but instead "How?"
Dragons were delivered from all corners of the globe (does a globe have corners?). An 8-year-old girl gladly awoke early to buy donuts not for herself but for Nick, and she'd never met him. An amazing couple happened to be in London at the precise moment he found his dream leather jacket---in London! And they carried it onto the plane with them as the priceless item that it is so as to not let it out of their sight for one second before it got to him. Tattoos were drawn in Sharpie. And then in ink. Perfect strangers dropped food anonymously at the doorstep. People who might not otherwise have met began relationships that will undoubtedly continue for years to come.
Nick brought people together. Period.
You Can't Stop the Waves, but You Can Learn How to Surf
And my God did Nick ever surf. Both metaphorically and literally. If he can do it mere weeks after major surgery, feeling like garbage, I can do it. Costa Rica, I'm coming. And Nick, if you could just drop a string down from Heaven to which I can hold on so I don't end up looking like an idiot, I'd so greatly appreciate it.
I'm so blessed to be able to call you My Friend, Nicholas. In such a short time, you opened my heart and made it better. I use the word "is" when I describe you. Not "was." Because your spirit will be here with us forever. Your lessons will be here forever. You are forever teaching and touching and amazing so many.
May you spread the wings you've always had that simply couldn't be seen here on Earth.
And may you spend forever and a day surfing the sky on your very own dragon.
All my love,