This may well be my all-time favorite photo. Ever. (And of course we don’t have it in digital form, so this is a scan of a print.) It was taken at our wedding reception and shows Craig with his best man, Charles.
We didn’t know at the time this photo was taken, on a day of joy and celebration, that only four months later on January 27, 2001, our wonderful friend would be taken from the world in a senseless act of violence. Charles and a friend were both stabbed during a robbery attempt outside of a convenience store, where they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He and his friend somehow managed to run a block or two back to his friend’s apartment, where they called for help. Charles did not survive.
Thankfully the man who committed these crimes was caught and convicted, in major part due to the brave testimony of the friend who survived. This was the man’s third strike in California, and he is in prison for life without the chance of parole. Unfortunately this scenario is a telling example of how our criminal justice system does not always work very well. He had served time before for killing a woman with an assault rifle, but he was in prison only for a handful of years before he was released to kill again. What a major FAIL.
It is amazing to me today that it has been nine years since we lost our friend. I remember the many good times with Charles so vividly. He was a vibrant, fun, thoughtful, intelligent, empathetic man, with a laugh like no other and a truly good heart. He was a social butterfly and the life of any party (which he often hosted). I still think of him every time I see a Fed.Ex truck (he worked for them) and when I hear certain songs and when I pull out gifts or mementos from times spent together. I know that he would be one of our biggest supporters in our adoption quest, and I’m sad that our future children will not have the wonderful opportunity of knowing him. He was a brother to Craig. And as much as I miss him, I know Craig misses him so much more.
Today we are sad, but I am also reminded to sit back and remember the good times. So much time has passed, yet I could at times swear it was yesterday when we were hanging out and having fun together. I prefer to keep those happy memories in the forefront of my mind. There are SO many of them.