It’s difficult to even know where to begin here. I’m at a loss. I’m grieving with so many others at the loss of a dear dear friend, Kappel yesterday. Sudden. Unexpected. It’s like a dream that you’re expecting to wake up from. It’s as if at any moment my he could walk through the door and I would see the love in his heart that shined on his face and I would get the most genuine and best hug, which was always coupled with the question “How are you?!”
I’ve been thinking about those hugs a lot. I always thought to myself during and after them, “I should hug people like this more often.” When you got a Kappel hug you were made to feel that in that moment that you were truly cared for and thought about. That’s the way he hugged everyone. With true sincerity.
I keep thinking that I want just one more of those. Even if I didn’t know it was the last one… just one more. Just once more night of tacos. Just one more backpacking trip. Just one more conversation, even if we don’t talk about anything.
I almost invited him for coffee yesterday. Instead I buried myself into editing and now think to myself “What if I had?” “Maybe his day would have gone differently just because of that direction and maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”
I say this and I couple it with a image of myself taken today to share the vulnerability. To share the pain. Not so that you’ll feel sorry for me but so that you may remember the delicate state and the often unthought of value that life truly holds. Our friends are our chosen family and the last thing you ever say to them could very well be the very last thing. My last conversation with him was a general catch up. We talked about recent happenings and I asked him questions about video work. A couple of days ago I sent him a funny meme over text. I wish now that text would have said nothing more than “I love you.”
Our lives are so very fleeting. It doesn’t seem like it most of the time. Especially when we’re young. It seems like we have the whole world ahead of us, and then something as simple as running an errand can bring us back to reality with a swift reminder of our mortality.
It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to be vulnerable. I have had many conversations with people about vulnerability and how we all long for it. I share my own with you now to let you know that you’re not alone. Weather or not you had the great fortune of knowing Kappel or not I want this to serve as a reminder of life and love, and how very fragile it is. The idea and mortality of loss is the very thing that strengthens our love for one another and makes it so precious. We always know, in the back of our mind, that it could so very suddenly end, but we can’t think about it because even the thought is terrifying.
I say remember it. Remember that the ones you love most dearly could be gone at any moment. Remember that while you are brushing your teeth, or working on a project that you are so tired of, or like in my case, editing photos, mortality is out there, and sooner or later it will come to your door.
It hurts to think of this now as I grieve for the loss of my friend, Kappel and for all of those that love him so dearly. I would have given him another hug. A big Kappel hug. You can bet I will give such a hug to all those I care for now, and I will hold the memory of him and the standard he set high.
I miss you, Kappel. We all miss you. There seems to be a huge empty space without you. There will be so many questions that I will never have the answers to, but I do know that I will do my best to fill that space with so many fond memories of you and also with the love that you displayed. You were so very worthy of so much love and those that I see weeping for you now is only evidence of that.
Love aimlessly, my friends.
Images below are from mine and Emily's wedding, which Kap officiated. All are from Josh and Amber Ulmer, aside from the "ceremony selfie" that Kap took himself.