I will never forget the summer of 2012. In June, I met a guy who I consider a great friend. His name is Stuart Brooks. On Sept. 1, 2012, he was in a motorcycle accident and died instantly. Stuart is a man whom I will never forget, and he is one who impacted my life.
It all started at iCopy. I worked with an 18-year-old named Audrey. One day she asked me to hang out with her and her friends, Lizzy and Stuart.
The first time we hung out they took me to see my first R-rated movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” at the movie theater. That night Stuart had already left an impact on me with the way he viewed life and with his personality. I have a fear of scary movies, and Stuart told me I needed to be brave, take risks and trust my true friends.
Ever since that night my life has been different because I have continued to achieve the three life lessons. I then found myself hanging out with them the next week, and the next week, until I just became a part of their “group.”
I also remember the time we all went to Southlake Town Square to celebrate Audrey’s birthday. After we ate dinner at 10 at night, we went to the top of the parking garage and hung out for a couple of hours. It was again, a first for me. We ran around, danced, had a spitting contest and enjoyed life. When I am around our “group,” I am myself; I am embracing every second of life and learning lessons that will change me for the better.
After weeks went by and summer came to an end, I had to start preparing for school. I became busy, and I was not able to hang out with them as much. Stuart stopped by iCopy on Saturday, Aug. 25. He was coming to pick up Audrey and say hi to me. He told me even though school was starting, we all needed to get together again.
A week later on Saturday, Sept. 1, I got a message saying my 24-year-old friend, Stuart, died in a motorcycle accident on his way to visit his newborn nephew. I was speechless, traumatized, terrified and shocked.
With his death, I look back at all the great memories we had. I realize how much he impacted my life from the first day we met. He taught me to live every day to the fullest, to take risks, be brave and trust my true friends.
He taught me to not care what others think of me and to be myself and to laugh, to go for it and know anything is possible with God. I learned that it’s OK to make mistakes and to learn from them.
When I was around Stuart and our other friends, I felt happy and welcomed. I am so thankful that God put Stuart and the “group” into my life because I feel closer now to God than before.
Even though Stuart is not here anymore, I still reflect on the times we had fun together. Even though I will never get to share first moments, such as my first R-rated movie, with him, I know he is in heaven looking down on Earth at our “group” watching over us.
I will miss him, and I greatly appreciate the short time `God let me know Stuart.
Cristin is a senior at Decatur High School. To read more from our Youth Spoken reporters, visit WCMessenger.com/youthspoken.