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Old 04-13-2015   #1
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 316
Moving forward after a loss

We live in a very small community with a small amount of paddlers. Yesterday I lost one of my dearest friend in a kayaking accident. I read of these things happening but have never experienced it. I am heartbroken. How will I ever love kayaking again.

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Old 04-13-2015   #2
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 47
Sorry for your loss. Sincere condolences to you, friends and family. The loss of a friend is undoubtedly difficult.

Rally around your other river friends and family. There you will find support while also providing support and comfort for others. River people are amazingly tight, even complete strangers.

How do you feel? You may have a lot of questions. Why, how, what do I do from here...? It's ok to have questions and doubt. It takes tome to heal.

Take your time and grieve. Try to accept that closure is a necessary part of the process. Also take your time if you ever have the desire to get back on the river. Whether you kayak, raft, or use any other craft... still try to get near the river, even if it just means walking to the river and enjoying the experience. The river will call you. It's ok to take a break. If you love paddling, you will eventually get back on it.

If you believe that your lost friend would want you to continue paddling, it may offer you inspiration to get back on the river. Do what feels right.

I'm sorry if this sounds too poetic, but we lost a friend to a kayaking accident last summer. I didn't know, or still don't know if I'm the same... or if our group is the same. I do know, that there is still enjoyment that the river fulfills if you give it a chance. We're still paddling, especially with a new heightened respect for the river. Take your time and keep your spirits up with friends and family.

See ya on the river.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Mountain Buzz mobile app

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Old 04-14-2015   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Sending you river love, Brenda.
It's too soon; don't even worry about trying to answer the questions like when/how will you love kayaking again.
There's time for that later.
Just love your friend, and yourself. Let grief be how grief needs to be, for you, for a little while.
The river will be there for you when you need it, and so will the river community.
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Old 04-14-2015   #4
Blade&Shaft's Avatar
Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 227
Hang in there and find comfort and support from friends and family - Sending positive vibes your way. You'll find your way back to the river when the time is right!
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Old 04-14-2015   #5
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,046
Loosing a friend is tough, my heart goes out to all of you that knew and loved him. I lost 2 friends in ski accidents a few years back ,in the side and back country, it ruined the kind of skiing i loved for a while. What helped me a lot, when i was ready, was going out and skiing a run for them, it took me a while, a long while, to be okay, but time heals.

Love and good vibes your way.
Matt Man
" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 04-14-2015   #6
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 316
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Old 04-14-2015   #7
Cascade, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 19
It's been about five years since I lost a great friend and mentor to the river. I still think of him every time I go paddling and, yes, I'm sad to know that he'll never be in is boat there with me. But more importantly, I'm happy to remember the times we shared and the great positive impact he had on my life. When I think of Allen, any awareness that he is gone is quickly replaced as I think about the first time he followed me down a run for a change and the long Peruvian bus rides sitting next to each other and the love we shared for the river and the inspiration he offered me to explore new places and seize opportunities.

It has always been helpful for me to tell stories about him out loud. It took me a week or two after his death to build up the courage to even say his name, but when I did, the stories always built into smiles and laughter as we celebrated his life. I believe celebration of life is more important than the mourning of death.

I am so sorry to hear about your loss and feel for you and your friends. Keep their memory strong and do not be afraid to share within your community. Share stories, share pictures and show each other that you remember them as for their beautiful life and gratitude for being able to be a part of it. The impact they've made on you will never vanish.
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Old 04-16-2015   #8
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 316
I cannot even begin to express how helpful your words have been to me. A group of us are going to paddle the river we all learned on together (class 2) Denis loved flowers of all kinds. We will each bring flowers and float them down the river with us and say goodbye. We are going to have a campfire after and share stories.
It is funny how people you connect with on a forum can help in so many ways even though we probably will never meet. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Old 04-16-2015   #9
Divide, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 38
BC, every thing that previous posts state, I would agree & say much the same.

As I have lost many paddling friends to the river, also to cancer, plane crashes, and aging issues, each step allows us to value each day that we live. A loss to the river seems devastating. Yet, an accident, be it "Medical". "sport-related", or 'vehicular'; those deaths can be the most painful of all. These losses allow us to acknowledge our own mortality. And the depth of Love for Others.

My last 4 years I've lost all my immediate family, neighbors & friends who died of illness, cancer; then my own cancer surgery this past Nov.( I had no chemo, no radiation. Lucky me.) I never though I could paddle, the past few years. The grief was too hard. So, I tried, but it was not good. I saw I had to back-off, and that was just what happened.
When I was younger, it was easier to accept these river fatalities. I paid attention, and still, I've had my own Whoa moments on the river. I tried to be sure my head was Right in it's Mind to paddle whatever I chose that day. And if not, I was willing to Walk, Portage, Not Go. No pier pressure, do what is best for you. Be instinctive. And thank Great Spirit (if that floats your boat) for a good Run Today. Start Small.

I chose to paddle a few downriver races 2 years ago. Never done that in my 31 years of paddling, DR race. That is where I had to start. Thanks to a supportive community, Happy Paddlers can brighten your day! Now, on to year 33. Some years I skipped; skied, worked, traveled. I am on the wane at 58 y/o. As a woman who started paddling in college, I never imagined being timid to paddle. It is OK to back-off, to change, to see what Works for you Now. Life is Fluid. It's all about following your heart. And yes, your friends not only want you to keep paddling, they are With You There on the River. Look for Them. There are Signs. You will learn in time, what it best for you. It's not a competition. It's the Enjoyment of Kayaking and Being on the River.
I wish you well on your Journey of Life. Namaste, J. Tip
jill tip
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Old 04-16-2015   #10
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
Loosing a friend on the river is a tough situation. I've lost 3 over the years, although none on the river.
I've found comfort in knowing that they died with the river experience in their hearts, and carry them in my heart, along with my river experiences. It doesn't hurt to reflect for a moment while on the river that they just might be sitting there with you, enjoying the moment.

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