On Sunday morning, September 2nd, I got a call that I’ll never forget; that my friend Dan Williams died from a motorcycle accident the night before. I almost collapsed in shock and disbelief, and quickly felt the trickle down effect into the community.
He was a good friend, but he was also like a big brother with the playful teasing and big hugs. Dan was also an important part of the motorcycle community, a family we adopt when we first sit on our two-wheeled machines. When we start the engines, the bike becomes part of our DNA, connecting us to each other. We are the only ones who understand why we ride and we are forever bonded because of it.
Dan’s send off party came and went, and there’s so much I want to share about him. I find myself struggling to find words to describe this gentle giant.
He wasn’t the usual man, he wanted to be the everything man. Dan wanted to be the protector, to fight for his friends and those who were helpless, to be the gentleman that his girlfriend deserved, to carry absolute knowledge about his passions in life. You couldn’t walk away from meeting him without some sort of tribunal from his life that he would enthusiastically share.
Dan was also a sensitive man, a contrast to his mammoth size. I’ve seen him cry and in the same breath ask me how I was, because to him, it was more important than whatever he was going through. He could also be giddy like a boy with his first toy car, and was always excited to share it.
He was my go-to man. If I had a question about motorcycles, cars, guns, racers… call Dan. His immense knowledge and passion for these things goes unparalleled. He held this level of passion for his friends, too. He spoke about each of us like we were the best at what we did, even if we were not. We were the funniest, even if we had a terrible sense of humor. He put us on pedestals and treated us with an enormous amount of respect… balanced with a healthy amount of teasing and torture, of course.
This week has been full of tears, not believing that I won’t see him next week. I’m sad that my everything-friend who has filled our lives with stories won’t be here to continue writing them.
On the brighter side, I feel gratitude for having known him. For being frustrated with him. For rolling my eyes at his bad jokes. For laughing every time he called me and asked “what are you wearing.”
As I helped sort and pack his belongings with his family and girlfriend, I laughed a lot. A LOT. I laughed at the endless number of fingerless gloves we found. I laughed at the ridiculous number of gargoyles he had laying around.
I left his house for the last time with a full heart. Among the laughter I also realized how much he wore his heart on his sleeve; saving anything nostalgic. There was no doubting Dan’s good intentions and enormous heart.
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” — Kahlil Gibran On Joy and Sorrow