So this morning I got news that one of close friends, Gabe, had committed suicide back in his home country of Sweden. Details are scarce and this time but the news hit me pretty hard as we were co-counselors for weeks at a time. It inspired me to write this post, not only as a memorial to him, but as a reminder for everyone else.
Gabe was a teenager when he took the long journey from Sweden all the way to Oscoda Michigan. At that point his English wasn't perfect, somewhat broken in fact, but his attitude and enthusiasm made him an instant favorite among the staff.
His hobbies included aggressive skating, making techno music and gymnastics. He brought the same passion from these activities and brought them to job of Camp Counselor. He inspired group after group of Metro Detroit youth with his infectious smile and playful demeanor. We grew very close throughout the summer as we learned about each others lives and cultures.
After camp ended, we parted ways promising to keep in touch. We did for a short while, and then the twists and turns of life made keeping in contact an afterthought. I haven't spoken to him in close to two years, and now I won't have the chance to.
I challenge each and every one of you to reach out to someone who you haven't spoken to in a long time. This could be anyone from a family member to an old high school friend, because you never know when you'll no longer have the chance.
""They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints in our hearts, and we are never, ever the same again. "