Sometimes you do not realize the importance of moments shared until the moments passed. It always amazes me how someone can reach out and touch your heart when you’re not expecting it, and you’ll remember it forever. When my friend, Channing died last spring, I knew he was that person for me.
It was my third day in Costa Rica, and my first trip traveling alone in a foreign country. I had spent the night in a hostel, dreaming that I cried in my sleep all night. When I woke up and browsed through facebook, my only link to something familiar, I learned that Channing had died the day before in a base jumping accident. I lied in bed shocked. My aloneness had taken on a new meaning at that moment.
I packed my things and headed to the common area downstairs to regroup my thoughts before I took a bus out to the coast in Manuel Antonio. A couple from Spain walked in and sat with me. There was something comforting and familiar about them and they recognized that in me too as they told me they felt like they had met me before and I reminded them of home.
I told her this was my first trip alone.
“It’s like everything is filling with water, and you feel like you can’t breathe. It’s overwhelming. And the water fills you up, but then you breathe. And you’re doing it. You’re very brave.” She said
I could see the compassion in her eyes. As she was describing this all to me, it was as if I was experiencing it right then. I felt the water rise to my eyes, and sink back down as I took a deep breath.
I couldn’t stay and chat for very long as I had to catch my bus. The couple wished me well and the woman stood up and hugged me. My arms fell down to my side to release her, but she didn’t let go. I laughed, but she held me still. Her boyfriend chuckled and my arms reached back up. We hugged like I hug my best friend. Like when you get all gooey with each other and make cooing hums and sway. I gave in to thinking this was awkward to realizing this was exactly what I needed at that moment.
I left the hostel filled with love, from a stranger. When I think of that stranger’s embrace in Costa Rica, I think I met my angel and I connect that with Channing. I had only known him for a few months, but within that time, I spent almost everyday with him. He taught me to not take people face value and was the seed of awakening my voice.
Since that day, I’ve grown into a stronger person, carrying the values I know were important to Channing- Speaking your truth, living fully, embracing people, embracing life.