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.

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20 Responses to remembering

  1. Christine says:

    What a beautiful tribute. The loss of a true friend is so very hard… I’m so sorry you know what that is like.

  2. Erin says:

    That is horrible!!

  3. Ok, Kelly…how incredibly sad. My heart goes out to you and Craig (and anyone that that knew your dear friend).

  4. What a terrible thing to have happen. I’m so sorry for your and Craig’s loss, and for this senseless tragedy to occur. But how wonderful that you are able to keep his spirit alive in so many ways.

  5. Evelyn says:

    Life. Sad. Hard. And yet beautiful. Your memories are precious.

  6. Leah says:

    What a beautifully written post, and I’m so sorry about the loss of Charles. He sounded like an amazing man. And what a senseless act of violence. 😦

    I agree. . . major fail on the justice system. How he got out of jail after killing a woman is beyond me.

  7. Kelly says:

    Oh man, I do not understand these kinds of violent acts, but I guess that’s why we call them senseless. I’m so sorry your friend was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m glad you have this photo and, more importantly, the memories, of a good friend.

  8. Jenny says:

    man. that’s just so sad that idiots can ruin other’s lives, especially when those idiots should have been off the streets. i’m so sorry you guys lost such a close friend. thank you for sharing some of him with us.

  9. michelleoryl says:

    Thank you for sharing your tribute. He seemed like a dear friend. Senseless act of violence is to state it mildly.

  10. Alan says:

    Kelly, so sorry for your and Craig’s loss — even years later. This was a terrific tribute.

  11. E says:

    I’m so sorry about this very sad and tragic anniversary. I hope that your many great memories of your friend continue to give you and your husband comfort. Sounds cliche, but that’s what will always keep him alive in your hearts.

  12. Kris says:

    I’m at a loss for words. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been. Sounds like he was an amazing friend.

  13. Janet says:

    Losing people we love is the hardest thing. I’m sorry…especially the way you lost this wonderful friend of yours. Thank you for sharing the photo (I can see why you love it!) and your memories.

  14. Jodi says:

    (((hugs))) to you and Craig today as you remember your friend. So tragic…

  15. Zoe says:

    Tragic to lose such a wonderful friend in such an awful way. But your tribute is touching and the memories so precious. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  16. Joanna says:

    I’m sorry for such the painful loss of a great friend. I’m glad you keep his memory alive.

  17. sue says:

    it broke my heart to read this. he sounds like he was an amazing friend/person. thinking of you and his loved ones today. . .

  18. angela says:

    Wow Kelly, I’m too familiar with this subject. My step-dad was also robbed and killed. It’s something you never get over, the pain just eases up over time. Bless your hearts.

  19. Tami says:

    Wow. I’m sorry to hear about that but aren’t memories the best? Lots of hugs.

  20. klarobinson215 says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Memories really do last a lifetime.

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