Where do we begin? Okay, deep breath. Here we go. April was to be our best travel month to date. We had toured the Villages of Northern Thailand where the local tribes still practice their long-neck traditions for tourists. We finally found children to give our writing books purchased in Luang Prabang, Laos during March. Spontaneously, we booked a flight to the Perhentian Islands at the Northeast Coast of Malaysia. Our idea was to rent a car and drive down the coast to Singapore for a bunch of business meetings. That quickly turned into a flight to Kuala Lumpur, then bus to Melaka, Malaysia for a few days before bussing to Singapore. The plan was super exciting with trips set for Bali, Lombok, Flores, Komodo and the treasured Maluccas “Spice Islands” in Indonesia.
And suddenly with one email on April 17th, life changed forever.
Sitting at the Singapore Airport
One troubling email from a friend led to one of the worst phone calls of Brett’s life. Brett was crying before he even picked up the phone to call the states. His friend Kevin of almost 20 years was missing for 36 hours near his home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey. His house boat was found in the lake nearby… with motor running and cell phone aboard. He was thought to have drowned. We had chills running down our spines knowing the worst was inevitable, while still keeping hope that everything was fine and Kevin would return home that day. We boarded our flight for Bali, Indonesia hopeful and frightened.
Every few hours, we’d check the local NJ news website and our emails for updates. We were 12 hours ahead of New York EST. Our day in Bali was miserable as we felt totally helpless. Friends had already flown in to support each other and Kevin’s family …… and here we were 35 hours away by plane waiting and waiting for some news.
Traveling long distance for long periods of time is such a mind game. We’re one minute looking to explore and “get away” from reality and the next feeling lonely from the far comforts of friends and family at “home”. Life is such a delicate and precious thing. It pulls you in so many directions and challenges you to grow against its hard realities.
This tragic story ends with the celebration of Kevin’s wonderful life in New Jersey with close friends and family. Kevin was the true definition of a free spirit. Kevin was ready to spend time, talk and do whatever fun idea came up in the moment. He didn’t judge and always welcomed new friends into his colorful world. We had so many differences, yet grew so close over the years on a pure brotherly bond. Kevin was my brother and I will never forget the love he gave me.
Kevin always had a big smile on his face and made you feel special. We have several recent memories of Kevin showing us the unbelievable work he did building his basement. He visited our house in San Francisco and couldn’t stop complementing us on the improvements we made. He was so happy and excited for us when we visited last year and told him of our grand travel plans. Kevin was super talented in so many ways. Whether it was hockey, acting, sales, driving, building or being a great friend…… Kevin was enthusiastic and amazing.
Our times together were so great and vivid that we never wanted them to end. We don’t want them to end. We promise to always remember and relive them in keeping Kevin’s vibrant spirit alive and with us forever. We wear the “It’s Easy to Grin” orange wrist band as a reminder of Kevin. “Broken-hearted” doesn’t capture the magnitude of how upset we feel.
We love and miss you Kevin.
Brett & Christie