Friday, April 06, 2007

e-mail to a friend

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brent Potter
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 00:09:25 -0700
Subject: My friend
To: Kim Manchip

My dear friend. You are sorely missed.

You have been an inspiration, a light, and an example. I have stuck in my mind that game we all played in Leavenworth when we stood across from each other and looked in each others eyes in uncomfortably close proximity--conveyor belt style. I remember your eyes clearly. I recall a distinct memory of the light in them, of deepness, of wisdom acquired by experience. It was out of admiration that I made fun of you for washing old people's naked bodies--and to enjoy it! What humility, what desire to bring hope to hopeless elderly! And that is what I admire most about your life--no matter what you did, you focused on others almost to the point of fault. I knew with 100% certainty that no matter what kind of situation I got myself into, no matter how far down I fell, no matter what I did, you would help. And you did many times; you continue to through your memory. You would notice what people like me did not see. Its like that one time at Wendy’s remember? On our way back from some trip. We were hungry, smelly, and I was broke. You "lent" me money (though I did not ask and was in fact outside at the time) and you refused to accept repayment later. It was the same with using your car, and same with lending out equipment in the back country. It was the same with everything you had--you would give it out freely for anyone to use. I wont forget our experiences, swing dancing on the beach, cooking buddy's on trips (we made wicked food...but always too much), skiing, you making fun of my tight yellow goretex pants (you even made fun of them in your last email to me!), hot tub parties, Italian pasta at your house (again, enough to feed a small
country...and delicious), Humpy your miniature humping dog (strangely attracted to my and James' leg), your excellent songs (you never did give yourself enough credit for how good they really were), we were even on the same group for hell night I remember when we were both freezing and traumatized, huddling under the one sleeping bag after the medical drill; we told any story at all to get our minds off the cold.

You were there from my very first trip in OL through to the GOSE. And I'm there by you in the pictures still--frozen in time with blissful smiles live with cheery expressions. My favourite pics are the ones where we’re jumping off the cornice and the dancing on the beach at the Olympic Peninsula. Damn it Kim, you had the most beautiful smile that would shine with love on all people you would talk to; but not only a smile, a genuine desire to get to know, to genuinely understand and appreciate those you would come in contact with--with no discrimination. I am left perplexed, vexed, astounded at how it could be that you, Kim, so beautiful by all standards, someone who the world desperately needs should be taken in an avalanche whilst the rest of us commoners live on to live out mediocre lives. Goddamn it Kim! You were going to get married to James, have a family in BC; I was going to have a family god knows where, and our kids were going to play together as we hung out drinking coffee and pretending to be adults. My wife would talk to you about how stupid I was, and you would talk to her about how stupid James was. How can it be that we should be allowed to live and you are not? Perhaps heaven itself could not wait long enough for your scheduled arrival.

I remember one of the quotes you told me, "I am only one tree in a forest, yet I am still one tree". People are always saying that they can’t do anything to change the world, they don’t have the resources, the don’t know the right people, dont have enough money--BUT I am still one tree. Because I am a person--that is enough to make a difference. Another thing you would quote all the time, "Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive... then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." I've wondered Kim. I’ve wondered about why you were snowboarding up there that day, and how everything would be different if you had only taken the second helicopter and not the first. I've been wondering about the hazards of anything outdoor related and what good can come out of it. I've been thinking that maybe all these risks we take pursuing vain activities in the outdoors aren’t worth it when there’s so much wrong with the world. But you were doing what that quote said, you were doing what made you come alive and by doing so you made the world around you come alive. That was the experience for me, and no doubt those up there skiing with you. For one tree in a forest Kim, I don’t think you could have been done better.

Tears cannot express how much it saddens me to send this email knowing that it will go to your inbox never to be read. Instead it will eventually be deleted by your inactive account; its storage space to be recycled for a new hotmail subscriber. You've no idea how much I regret never sharing my admiration of you while you were still with us...though I am not yet fully convinced that you are not. You lived for others and never grave yourself enough credit for all you did. I will remember you Kim, your smile, our trips, your dog, the songs, the quotes. I strive one day to talk to people as you did and to genuinely love them as selflessly as you did.

My dear friend, you are sorely missed.
I anxiously await our next meeting, days or decades from now. I await the day when we will sit down for a cup of coffee and talk about the good old days while pretending to be adults.
How I wish you'd reply.
Your friend forever,

You can read about what happened to Kim here.


Megs said...

.no words seem appropriate, call if you need anything.

Polythene Pam said...

Brent I am so sorry. You and her family and fiance will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Kuri said...

what a great inspiration and example of a life (however incomprehensibly short) well-lived. maybe thailand doesn't sound so far-fetched anymore...