February 13, 2012. The sun came up in the morning and went down at night. I attended school, went to basketball and went home to my normal evening routine. It was a day like any other. I still had 10 fingers and 10 toes, a roof over my head, and food on the dinner table. This day started out like every other day of the year but ended the way no one wanted it to. Little did I know that when I woke up on the 13th that day would be a day that changed my life forever.
The roads were icy and the air was cold and sharp. I had just finished basketball practice and headed home. I got home, ate dinner. I was hungry as any teenage boy would be after a full day of the high school grind and basketball practice. After I gobbled up my dinner, took a quick shower, it was time to relax, do some homework, and watch a little TV. It was at that point the my phone started buzzing; my best friend was calling me. I picked it up answering with a friendly “Hello.” Without responding to my hello, all I could hear was faint whimpering that was coming from the speaker I had pressed to my ear. The awkwardness was killing me, I timidly spoke up, “Hey, what’s wrong?” My friend mustered up just enough breath to say, “Blake just died.”
I stopped. Everything around me stopped. My knees got weak as I scrambled for a seat. I thought to myself, what did he just say? He said, “Blake just died.” Blake, the man who always had a smile on his face. He was loved by everyone in school. He was a friend to everyone, no matter who you were or where you came from. He was a man of character. He played the drums and drove a white Jeep Grand Cherokee. Blake was at basketball dishing me the rock not even 60 minutes ago. He was an amazing friend. He is… dead?
Blake was in a two-car accident when his Jeep hit a patch of ice and lost control, he veered into the other lane and was stuck by an oncoming truck. His car flipped once and came to rest in a near by ditch. He was rushed to the hospital where he died. Memories that I shared with Blake suddenly flooded my mind. Forty-five minutes ago I was messing around with him at basketball and now he is dead? I refused to believe it. There is no way this just happened to me. My friend just died. The days went on and his funeral took place and life didn’t care that one of my buddies just died. I would think about Blake and who he was and how I would never experience his presence again.
In the days and weeks to come, I had an extreme feeling of emptiness inside. There is so much I wish I could’ve said to him. Not a day goes by when he doesn’t cross my mind. Soon after, I placed an order for 500 blue silicone wristbands. The bracelets simply had his name, 1995-2012 with a cross on either side. I have worn the bracelet everyday since they came in the mail. I sold them at lunch and gave all the money to his family. They used the money to help fund a memorial that will be built outside a new sports park in town. The past two seasons the majority of the school searched for ways to honor his death. Our football team placed decals on the back of our helmets and the basketball team put badges on the back of our warm up shirts.
Blake impacted so many lives without even knowing it. Blake inspired many of those around him. Blake’s death inspired me to be a better man of God, to treat others with respect, and to give everything I have in everything I do because I might not receive a second chance. The motivation that he gave me in sports helped me to have one of the most successful times in my life. I am currently sitting fifth on the top 10 list at my school for the discus throw with a mark of 147’ 3’’. I was a senior leader on the football team which had an undefeated regular season. Finding a positive out of an amazing friend’s death can be hard but God had a plan. My life has changed since Blake’s death. I have become a young man of character and a young man of God. I focused up in school doing everything that I could to get my grades where they needed to be. After he died, I received an character counts for Caring. I will never be happy that Blake died but the positives that came out of it have changed my life for the better, making me a better man. God always has a plan and His plan is good. This was something that He put in my life for a reason and I took what I could out of it and turned it into something amazing. This was one of the darkest times in my life but turned out the be one of the most successful in terms of the strides I have made as a person.
Ben Konfrst (firstname.lastname@example.org)