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OPINION

Good Morning: Saying goodbye to a friend

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

There are many things in life that you don't realize the true value of until you no longer have it, and then the true sense of that loss sets in. I am feeling that all too keenly today.

Over the past week, I received news that a close friend, maybe even my best friend, from college passed away suddenly last week in a wreck while driving home from work in the Metroplex. They were 30 years old.

I first met Aaron after transferring to the University of North Texas after taking my basics at a junior college. The transition was tough, as I really didn't know anyone and was in a new environment. They were one of the first people I met on campus.

I remember our first interaction was mutually telling each other to go away, but I started talking to them at a club meeting a few weeks later, and things went from there. We soon became close friends through our mutual friends and similar social circles.

To this day, it still surprises me that we became friends like we did, because in many ways we are nearly polar opposites. During a eulogy over the weekend, Aaron's father described them as a free spirit, who went through life to the beat of their own drummer.

Whereas, in many cases I was the more grounded. They were a Bohemian spirit, I am not. 

Since graduation, we haven't kept as much contact as we had during the college years, but that didn't mean anything about the friendship. We kept in touch when we could, but in hindsight I can't help but wonder if we could have done more.

 I know that is dangerous thinking — playing the what if game — but the thoughts keep coming back. Thoughts reminding me that there isn't going to be a next time. There won't be any late night games of mahjong. There won't be any taco dinners over a myriad of bad puns that still make you laugh.

This isn't the first time that I've had to cope with the death of a loved one or family member, but this one stings more than some of the other situations. In many of the other cases, I knew that it was coming and had the time to cope and prepare for it. When it happened, it was more of a conclusion than a surprise.

However, I didn't have that luxury this time and the feelings are very raw and real.

Happy birthday to Marjorie Hinton of Raytown, Missouri and Steve Owen of Denison. Happy anniversary to B. K. and Stephanie May of McKinney, 27 years and Charles and Wanda Greene of Sherman; 37 years;