CONVERSATION ON LOSS ~ from DBP. Photos by Mike Toughill

Once again our global community suffers a loss on the river. Sean Curtis of New Zealand died last week. We mourn his passing. 
We thought it an appropriate time to share these thoughts that passed between members of our inner circle at Dirt Bag Paddlers after one of our friends was lost in a tragedy last year. We hope these words will help those left behind and hurting. 

K: A good friend of mine died in the river a few days ago. How do you deal with that?!
O: All I can say is believing everything happens for a reason even if we don’t understand why has helped me through. And whenever I’m on the water I feel close to them. Nothing will ever make it easier or fill in that little bit missing, but if you focus on all the good times together and all the best parts about them, it’ll give you the strength to keep carrying on.

M: Perhaps writing about them will unburden your heart… This is what I did when my friend died. Telling their stories may help you, and others.
K: And there are so many thoughts. How are we supposed to get back on the river? My best friends are going to the same place in a month.. I really don’t want them to go now, but I could never tell them that.
M: We must always remember that it isn’t the river, it’s only that particular time and place. Any spot has the power to take our friends and ourselves. If we are to remain river runners, we must see this and know it. 
But do not hesitate to tell them how you feel. It is honest and it will make you feel better. They will know that you care, and  do what is best for them. 
When we love the river, the joy will replace the fear. And the love will overpower the sadness my friend.
K: I hope so! Thanks for the words, it helps.
M: Just remember in the tough times that the emotions are natural and only reaffirm that you are a compassionate caring human being! Embrace them, do not hide them in shame or wonder what others will think of you. Live, love, even lose, with all of your heart!
And know this… Anyone associated with loving running rivers knows this feeling, if they are blessed to be in our sport… The power of the river is what attracts us all. Respect.

T: Reach to the River
Wet your hand
Touch your face
For the tears 
We cry today
For those that have
Left this place
It is hard. We all grieve in these times. It seems as the consciousness of the community has expanded from a regional to a global perspective, the size of our tribe has grown smaller and more tight knit. With the expanding circle comes more exposure to tragedy. Be safe out there dirtbags, be safe. 

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