Someone I knew died.
Were we close? I don’t know. Not really…. Hm. It’s always surreal to be confronted with death.

I met family Tingey when they welcomed me into their home and lives through couchsurfing. Theresa, a powerful mother and woman, picked me up from the bus station and brought me to her sister’s house to celebrate her birthday.
The Tingey home was a stunning place – a place with an eye for detail, a place where people know how to enjoy life, a place full of love. A trampolin next to the pool gave a glimpse into the adventure life of some of the family members. Also interesting stories of ramps built to jump over the driveway on a motorbike and my very first encounter with a homemade potato cannon.
Josh – one of four sons – took me up a mountain. I visited waterfalls with his beautiful girlfriend, Bex and the three of us went to the local saltwater hot pools. Josh offered to give me a lift north, together with his granny and a friend of hers. On the way we had blueberry pancakes and they didn’t let me pay.
After we parted, Josh and me stayed in touch. He was always there to help.

I was there for his 21st birthday with all his family and friends. I went on a trip with him and a few other wonderful people to a little bay in the northern sounds of New Zealand’s south island.

In New Zealand I really understood that there is no point in fearing death. That it’s about knowing the risks, knowing yourself and enjoying life – every moment – as much as you can.
Josh was most definitely a part of that. During his 21st birthday he had a broken colar bone from a motorbike accident. He loved extreme sports.  He was always out, always doing crazy stuff, always craming in activities.
I read a facebook post from Bex. They had gotten engaged 7 weeks ago. I thought I was reading a wedding vow. Then I realized it was not…
Last week Josh had crushed into a cliff while paragliding. He was 28.

Death is inevitable. It can come anywhere at any time in any form. Fearing it will enslave us to a life in fear. Instead, embrace it, love life, live it.

Someone I knew died.
Were we close? We were friends.
Closeness and friendship aren’t determined by the time you spent with another. My tears tell me the answer.

I know that everything is in balance. So I know that this tragedy will bring many little moments of happiness and joy. I can already see it, in the loving words of Josh’s friends and family who celebrate this guy and his life.

I raise my glass to you, Josh. You were a king amongst men. You are an inspiration.


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