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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 82: Celebration of Life at Whittier

Dogg Man,

The trip was short: In and out of LAX over the weekend for a Celebration of Life: Your life. A tour of campus and tour de force of people. Your people: The core group and then many extended from them. Of course the two Erics, Tyler, and Zach. Mentored initially by Pomp and Matt. And many with their own families: parents and kids. And we met some new buddies of yours, Alex, Pete and so many others. The ladies of Whittier showed up: All four of them to be with Mads and help her celebrate your life. I don’t know how you did it, but you did it again. Brought people together again and again. From all walks of life. Likely because of your smile and accepting ways: a lack of judgment of others and an easy roll to go with the flow.

Folk came from seemingly everywhere. Jackson, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and of course, Southern California, which was well represented. But distance is deceiving. Measurement of travel in the LA basin is in time, not in miles, given that 13 million people have decided to call it home. Squeezed in by an ocean with idyllic weather. Again you brought out the sun. Blue skies. No clouds. Temp in the 80s.

The four of us joined the three team captains onto the field to flip the coin. Redlands called it right, so picked to receive. And the game was on, but only for a while: Whittier suffered yet another loss with some big numbers against them, but it was awesome nonetheless. As Zach put it so well: Losing football games wasn’t as important as playing them. Being in it together.

So these celebrations of life are special. This was about your people in college that began after the U-Haul left one day, in the fall, 10 years ago. An adventure with KT off to a new life. A friend’s car in tow, a mother in tears, and a father welcoming the journey to adulthood.

We miss you so much, but will learn to let you be, quietly leading us from behind and trying like hell to smile, if only for you. You wouldn’t want us to stay stalled in this deep grief of your death; better to celebrate your life, as your footballers did on Saturday.

We love you.

Dad Man

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