Scar on my Knee, Scar on my Heart

10 09 2011

When I was young, maybe 8 years old, I got this scar on my knee. I remember like it was yesterday exactly how it happened. It was during the summertime. I was in a Day Camp put on by the Rec in Deerfield. Me and the other kids were behind the Elementary School playing in the parking lot. My older brother just got a new bike and I wanted to ride it, even though it was way too big for me. I hopped on and began to pedal as the bike was wiggling along. I rode off of the sidewalk, down the handicap ramp, and into the parking lot. All of a sudden I look to my left and there was my buddy, Josh Skipton, coming down the hill on his bike as fast as he could! I couldn’t stop my bike because I had very little control of it in the first place, and I ran right out in front of him and we collided! We both fell to the ground, Josh got away with a few minor scratches, but I scraped up my knee real bad, I thought you could see the bone (it probably wasn’t that bad…)!!! As the scrape began to heal, I knew that I would develop a scar, but what I didn’t know was how much that scar would mean to me in the future.

Josh Skipton was such a special person, truly. He was a “family comes first” kind of guy. I loved that about him. He was loved by so many people and it was easy to see why. He had the biggest heart! There was not a person who he was mean to, he treated everyone with respect. It didn’t matter whether it was one of his best friends or someone he was passing on the street, you could bet that Josh would greet them with a genuine smile. He would always put others first, before himself. He was such a role model, a lot of people looked up to him. He was so full of life. He always had an optimistic attitude, no matter what life threw at him, he saw it as a challenge. He was one of my BEST FRIENDS, someone who I could ALWAYS rely on, no matter what.

Josh and I always ran the same events in track, from my first year in middle school until he graduated from high school. It was so much fun working with him everyday at practice. We would always compete, it was just our nature. But I remember one day when we were in middle school at a track meet in Deerfield. At the end of my 200m hurdle race, I stumbled over the last hurdle and did a face first baseball slide across the finish line. Just a few races later, Josh did the exact same thing in the same place! It was like he did it on purpose, just to make me feel better. He was such a great guy!

Last week, the world lost that great friend of mine. Josh Skipton was the victim of a motorcycle accident. When I heard the news, it was too difficult to comprehend, it didn’t seem right, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I still feel that way. It’s hard to believe what you can’t see. If you’re reading this, you realize that I am in Africa serving in the Peace Corps. Being so far away from home, thousands of miles from my friends and family who loved Josh like I did, was very difficult for me. I catch myself shaking my head in disbelief all of the time, thinking that when I get back to the States he will be sitting on the porch with his mom or working on the yard with his dad when I drive around the corner to go to my house.

Every night since Josh’s accident, I’ve thanked God for all of the time that I got to spend with Josh. I am so happy that we went to Florida together over Spring Break this past year with a few other friends. We all had such a great trip and I will never forget the time we shared and the memories we made. I talked to Josh on facebook chat about a month ago. He wanted to make sure I was doing ok over here in Africa. He said that what I was doing was so cool! That meant a lot to me coming from such a good-hearted person. One of the last things he told me was to “stay safe”. That is so like Josh, always trying to take care of me. I know now that I will be protected from anything and everything while I am so far from home. Josh will always be there protecting me, keeping me safe!

That scar on my knee is still there, but I’ve gained another from him in the past 10 days. It’s on my heart. It started out like the scrape on my knee. At first it ached and hurt so bad, it felt like there was a hole in my heart, but by the power of prayer from friends and family and Josh looking down from heaven and telling me he’s in a better place it’s turned into a scar. Unlike the scar on my knee, this scar still hurts, but I can smile when I think about it because it is an everlasting reminder of all of the good times we shared that I could never, ever forget.

I am so thankful for every memory that I have of Josh and am thankful for the scars I have to help me remember.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me through this difficult time. My family and friends from home and also my new Peace Corps Volunteer friends in Ethiopia have been an incredible support system. I wouldn’t have been able to go through it without all of your thoughts, prayers and kind words. Thank you!

In Loving Memory of Josh Skipton!

Rest In Peace Josh!