The Day the World Lost Chris Carter

The world has lost the best of the best today.  Shortly after 10:15 am this morning, doctors came out to the waiting room and informed those waiting that Chris had passed peacefully.  Thank you God for allowing us to share our lives with the most amazing man.

I met Chris Carter during JMU Summer orientation in 1996.  I was instantly drawn to the magnetic personality and smile known as Carter.  He was a senior.  I was an incoming freshman.  I knew we would be friends for life.  I just didn’t know that life would be taken from him only 13 years later.

Most of my freshman weekend nights were spent in the basement of AKL fraternity house, dancing and sweating and drinking with Carter.  We didn’t skip a beat on that nasty, sludgy dance floor…always in sync, always laughing, always happy and having fun.  With the best of the 80’s and 90’s blaring from the basement speakers, we ruled that dance floor and I felt like the luckiest girl to have Carter as my dance partner.   Days were spent watching “Friday” over and over and over again in his dorm room…talking about life and laughing about everything.  He was my big brother and best friend.

He graduated and moved on with his life, but always made time to come back to JMU for special occasions (namely Alumni Weekend, Lombardigras, Kamakazi, Homecoming, etc.).  The first glimpse of Carter at these events always filled me with overwhelming joy and giddiness, followed by an amazing bear hug and kiss.  It’s almost like his energy seeped through his pores and I hoped it would rub off on me.  He made my college experience a million times better, and taught me so much in the short time he was at JMU with me.

One of the funniest conversations I had with him at JMU was about my virginity.  I was 18 and (for those of you who know me) pretty comfortable in my own skin and with my sexuality (not in a promiscuous way, of course).  As Carter would say to me, “You exude sex.”  That being said, I was still a virgin and waiting to share that with someone special.  When Carter found this out, he didn’t believe me.  Seriously.  He said, “There is no way you are a virgin.  I am not trying to be crude, but I just don’t believe it.  Women act and move differently after experiencing sex, and you move and act like that.”  I just had to laugh.  Some women may take that as offensive, but I didn’t.  I knew what he meant.  I finally convinced him of my virginity and he told me something that has stayed with me ever since.  He looked me straight in the face and in a very scholarly tone he told me, “Well Love, just be careful because once you get it you will want it again and again.  Ahahahaha!”  We laughed and laughed, and to this day that conversation still brings a smile to my face.  Mainly because (sorry Mom and Dad) he was right.  He was always right.

As our friendship grew, our conversations about sex and relationships evolved and he continued to give me advice even up to about a month ago.   That was one of the special things about Carter.  No subject was off limits, and he made talking about certain “taboo” things fun and easy.  He allowed me to learn and grow through these conversations (not only about sex) because of the ease he brought to the table.  He sat back and watched me experience certain things at JMU and after, and interjected with advice only when he thought I needed some guidance.  He delivered it like no other…in a very classy, caring and honest way.  Very Carter.

As years passed, he continued to support and love me.  He made me see and appreciate my beauty both inside and out, and always brought the best out of me.  His infectious laugh could make me smile on the darkest of days.  When we could, we would meet up for meals or fun events like an Orioles game at Camden Yards and Fighting Gravity concert at Wolf Trap.  He always treated and never asked for anything in return.  He was a giver who just loved his friends and valued each and every moment with them.  Believe me, he treated EVERY ONE of his friends like gold.  He also ALWAYS gave his full attention.  In a time when people are constantly multitasking, Carter never once checked his phone or allowed his gaze to drift when we were together.  I had him…100%, and in turn he had me.

Carter was not only a great friend, he also had amazing friends around him, men and women who would do anything for him.  When his mother passed away, his fraternity brother Gary called me as I was leaving FL and driving up North for Christmas.  I hadn’t talked or seen Gary at that time for about 6 years, but that was what Carter’s friends were like.  They made sure that he was supported during difficult times, because they knew he would never ask for help.  I was able to spend some time with Carter shortly after his mom passed and it meant so much to both of us.  I remember I went over to his house and we just hung out and laughed about old silly memories.  Despite the circumstances, I never saw him sad.  He injected humor into everyday, no matter the situation.   I would have been a wreck if I had just lost my mother, but he was so strong.  He had this gift to be able to accept everything that happened to him and be at peace with whatever was thrown his way.  He tried to teach me to do the same, because at times I am sure it was hard for him to watch me suffer through certain experiences.  I am still working on the “not suffering” thing Carter…right now it’s not working too well.  I am still asking why you were taken from us, and waiting for the tears to stop creeping up on me without notice.

The past two days have presented me with feelings I have never felt before.  Two days ago, Carter’s fraternity brother Vince called me to tell me the bad news.  Carter was in the hospital in a coma.  His blood sugar had reached 1000 and he lost consciousness shortly after arriving at the hospital.  When I arrived, it was so hard to see him lying in that hospital bed.  It wasn’t him.  He was too quiet.  But I sat by his bed, held his hand, kissed his beautiful bald head and spoke to him.  I felt so lucky to be able to go into his room and spend time with him before he left.  I refused to say goodbye, but told him I would see him when I get up there.

Carter, you were such a bright light in my life.  You were my big brother and best friend.  You watched over me and reminded me to love and respect myself.  You assured me that my life will all fall into place as it should.  I will always remember all of the words of wisdom you shared with me.  I will always remember your laugh and smile.  I will carry all of those gifts with me as I move forward and live my life, knowing that you are smiling down on me and all of those who love you.

I selfishly ask one favor Carter.  Please send me a sign from time to time that you hear me when I talk to you, whether it be a song on the radio or movie on TV….better yet, a burst of wind trying to lift up my dress…I will DEFINITELY know it’s you CC :).  You dirty dog!  hahaha!  Each and every day I will look at your picture and remember you as I saw you last…laughing and smiling and living and loving life fully.  I will laugh when I imagine you saying “Oh my god, Oh my god, Oh my god” or “Phrrrrrrr”.  Despite being gone from this Earth, you will always have the ability to make me laugh CC.

My life has been so blessed by your friendship for the past 13 years.  I love you and will miss you ’til we meet again.  Rest in Peace my love.

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December 30, 2009. Friends.

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