It seems like only yesterday I sat down to write a blog entry about Shane's death. Yet, here I am again, stupefied as I try to write about the death of another Tahoe friend who died in the mountains. The Squaw community just can't seem to catch a break. Maybe that's because Squaw is just such a rad place that daring, big-dreaming people congregate there, and occasionally daring, big-dreaming people lose their lives pursuing what they love.
CR Johnson died yesterday while skiing at Squaw Valley. It's senseless.
My heart breaks for his sister Kahlil and his girlfriend Jami. I remember a dinner at Kahlil's house last spring. CR had nothing but compliments for his sister's vegetable stir fry and fresh lime margaritas. Jami didn't join us because she wasn't feeling well; the thoughtful CR made her a plate of leftovers to bring home. At the time, I was still in a back brace, and CR wanted to know everything about my recovery: how I was feeling, how my rehab was going, how I felt when I saw snow falling outside. As an athlete who had recovered from a coma back in 2005, CR easily could have turned the conversation into "Well, when I was in a coma, or what happened to me was..." but he didn't. He asked me about me, and he listened to my answer, a rare response from anyone these days, let alone a professional athlete. He always greeted me by name, whether at physical therapy or on the ski hill. He smiled broadly, and often. He hugged people.
The first time I met Jami was at physical therapy. She and CR had come in because her ankle was bothering her. I was stretching my back out, but from my inverted prone position I could see the lemon meringue pie Jami made for the physical therapists. They bickered for the next two hours about who got a bigger slice or who took the last piece.
I wish I could make a pie for Jami today. Would it bring CR back? Never. Will this blog change the sorrow that Kahlil or Jami or all of us feel? Probably not, but I can hope.
CR, you were cool as shit. You will be missed.