It is funny how clearly I remember August 18, 2006.
I can recall the details as if the memories were a video recording, I remember exactly how perfect the weather was, how fantastic the assignment for the Seattle Times was. The drinks, sushi and the ridiculous fabulous company I shared that night.
I remember I was happy, deliriously, perfectly, giddily happy. I remember grinning up at the sky and thinking life couldn’t get better.
I had it all, the perfect job, fantastic friends and to top it off the weather was fantastic.
I remember not hearing my phone ring that night.
At seven am the next morning I heard the phone ring, I was sleepy so I let it ring.
Then rang again.
Then rang some more.
I remember thinking this better be important.
The last sharp memory I have is of putting the phone to my ear.
I remember the tone in my mother’s voice and the sudden denial that filled my heart.
My friend Bret had died, his helicopter had gone down.
From there my memories seem more of me than from me.
I can see me fall to my knees crying, tears shaking my body till I didn’t think there was anything left in me.
Numb, was a new feeling for me.
The sparkle in me that made me so damn perky, so persistent, so passionate was gone.
See Bret was the one that knew me better than I knew myself.
From the first second I met him, Bret just got me. He saw through the facades I put up that most friends didn’t even notice. He called me on my crap, and held me to a higher standard.
He had so much faith in me.
With him gone there was suddenly a void, and that missing person was the one I needed the most.
For a long time I stumbled around life trying to get back to happy.
My laughter rang hallow, my passion wouldn’t spark, my life had lost it’s snap.
Then slowly, happy started to bloom again.
Then one day I laughed again.
Deep from the pit of my heart I laughed.
Colors regained their brilliance.
Life, as it always does, moved on.
Still, every August the colors start to fade again, I get weepy, and I lose happy.
Bret would have hated that. He would have wanted me to face pain head on and fix it.
So I am.
On August 18, I will officially open the doors of Amanda L Smith Photography. Close friends will be invited to crack open some champagne and celebrate life
Perhaps it will be the band-aid my brain needs to stop me from becoming a mess in August, who knows.
In my heart I think Bret would have been proud of me. He would have laughed with me through these last few years, and forced me to see the good side of the bad parts.
So on August 18 I will celebrate a happy life.
His and mine.