This week has been an awful struggle. I can’t shake the tragedy that unfolded over the weekend and the loss of my friend Chris Copeland. Chris and his friend went out snowmobiling on Conesus Lake, never to return again. I didn’t know Jay Fluet very well, but if he’s anything like all of Chris’ other friends, he’s a good guy. Most are great guys.
The part that I’m struggling with is that Chris and I grew up together. If you grew up in the crew our parents hung with, let’s just say it was a different kind of upbringing. To make it, you had to dodge a few bullets and in our lives Chris and I have dodged many. The perk of beating the odds is that you get to grow old. This doesn’t make sense.
I clearly remember telling Chris when I found out I was going to be a dad. He threw out his Chris smile that could charm Putin. It was a cool moment. We had a few drinks, a few laughs and a couple pats on the back for each other. We didn’t spend too much time on accolades though. We had work to do. He had his business to run, and I had mine. We respected that about each other.
I truly looked to Chris as a brother. Many of us did. I think that’s what made him so special. I scroll through his Facebook pics, especially those with his daughters, and I see myself and my love for my daughter. That’s the difference in this loss that’s becoming increasingly more complex. I see myself in Chris.
I know Chris is in a peaceful place, joined by friends and family who welcomed him to heaven with open arms. Chris isn’t alone. He’s in a wonderful place with beloved and deeply missed friends and family whom have passed before us. Many of them were tragically young.
My thoughts are now with the Copeland family. You can support Chris’ daughters’ college fund at this GoFundMe page.