Friday, September 5, 2008

To my dearest friend...

This is about my dearest friend, Daniel Duncan. He was killed Wednesday night by a drunk driver while he was riding his bike at his college in West Virginia.

Dan is the reason I post on this blog. Dan is the reason I have such a great interest in bells, in church buildings, their architecture. Dan and I have been in countless churches, as well as their belfries to visit their bells (and ring them just to annoy the neighbors). Besides, who do you think would be behind that bell trying to hide from me?

Dan is the reason I hold music so close to my heart. It was by his example, by his ministry that I have become so involved with the churches, and their ministries - even though I have my doubts about "God" himself. He brought me out of the 1970's church folk group music. He helped me bring into the Catholic church in our area the songs that all the other Christians have been singing for years.

He dared me to go to the next level...even if it meant breaking all the rules (not to mention a little trespassing here and there).

He inspired me to be so much better at music. He always had that faith in me...I can't tell you how many times I have fretted to him about my upcoming college audition...And I can't tell you how many times he just told me that I'll be fine...and that I'm a good enough musician.

I was so proud of him when he made pianist in his college jazz band; when he made the top choir; and when he made the cycling club. He couldn't stop talking about all the new stuff he had to get for his bike so he could race with the team...

He died doing one thing, out of the dozens, that he loved. I only hope I can be so honored as to end in the same way...

I feel as if I have to pick up where he left off. It feels to me like an obligation. There is so much to be thankful for in this world, and there is so much to praise. He taught me that. I may not like someone for what they do...but I have hope in them. I have hope that they might turn their sorry lives around, and contribute to the greater good. Even that dirtbag that killed him, I have hope in that he will change...and turn around do all the good for the world that he could possibly do, just like what Dan did every moment of his life. Even though the chances are slim to none, Dan planted that hope in me; that everyone gets another chance...

Rest in peace, Dan. Keep pounding on those keys, and singing those notes I could never imagine hitting even on a good day. I love you so much, and really owe you one for what you have given to me.

..."I can only Imagine..."

I hope you all see his passion, and take an ounce of it into your life in any way that you can.
You can read about him HERE


Kevin Hammer said...

That is tragic. Thanks for sharing his story with us.

Epijunky said...

I read about his passing.

I'm so sorry.

ShariYS said...

Alex, I am so very sorry to hear about this! My prayers are with this young man's family, as well as with you and the rest of his friends.

It is also my prayer that justice will be done, to the good of this young man's memory and the good of all the rest of us who ever have to get near a road. The state of Ohio is FINALLY clueing into the fact that drunk driving is NOT just a traffic offense. If the driver in this case is convicted according to law, I will hope for the full weight of the law. Nothing else would be justice. Let God do the forgiving.

Irene said...

Very touching. I most regret my inability to help diminish your pain. But as you have implied, you have a better comforter anyway.

And I can understand the feelings of those who wished for greater enforcement. But I think that as good Catholics, in our calmer moments we will remember that revenge punishment cannot accomplish anything. I can assure you of that from a lifetime of working with such people.

Improvement requires a spiritual change -- something which we can help with in our roles as the hands of Jesus, but which we also are unable to accomplish by ourselves. The Holy Spirit is there for that purpose, and it is our responsibilty to forgive and to invoke him.

Fr. V said...


Please know of my prayers for you and him.

CycloneCross said...

While drunk driving is a horrible act which needs to be condemned and eliminated, the 'hit-and-run' aspect is what really drives it home for me (as an avid cyclist myself). It's one thing to disregard both one's self and others by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, but it's a whole other act to flee the scene after an accident occurs.

However hard it is though, I do agree with Irene. At the funeral Rob Duncan, Daniel's father, said that he felt sorry for the drunk driver who took his son's life because it didn't sound like the young man had the same opportunities and light which Daniel had both in and through his life. While my first reaction had been to call that drunk driver a murderer and wish for his punishment and demise, Daniel's fathers statement of forgiveness and pity is a powerful one.

While I never had the privledge to meet Daniel and know of him only through his passing, I have been touched by his life and the values that he and his family represent.

Alex Fries said...

Thank you all for your support. It has been overwhelmingly amazing.

Adrienne said...

So sorry for your loss! I will keep Daniel in my prayers.

If they wish to curb the growing trend of alcohol related deaths they need to enforce the laws that are already in place.

I am speaking as a 18 year member of AA. It is only through the grace of God I did not ever kill someone.