Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's Already Started, and It Ain't Cool--or Is It?

As I've fought through the haze of the past week, one of my fears about Ashley's departure has already come true.

It's a selfish fear, but here it is: how I will feel when I go to events or places, and the big man ain't there.

It happened Saturday at the Lusher Crawfish Boil. I first met Ashley in person at the Lusher Crawfish Boil two years ago. This year, he wasn't there. It hurt.

Then, last night, I saw what the rolling impact of this man's non-presence will be like.

For my job, I attended an awards dinner last night at Harrah's Casino Theater. At the end of the evening, I was talking to a few people, and I saw the sound and light crew on the stage, breaking down equipment.

And then I noticed Troy, a neighbor from section 635, row 7, in the Louisiana Superdome. Troy and his wife, Kayla, have spent a lot of time together at Saints games with Berto, Ashley, Oyster, and me. I only see Troy at Saints games, and I hadn't seen him since the end of the season.

I walked up on to the stage with a smile, shook Troy's hand. It was good to see a guy who has been around for a lot of happy times (Saints 20, Falcons 3), and some bad times (those miserable Saints games--all losses--in Tiger Stadium).

Then, something happened. I got unexpected tears in my eyes, and just blurted out to Troy about what happened to Ashley.

I guess it was ultimately a selfish thing to do, but honestly, it was almost involuntary. I just had to share it with a proud member of the fighting 635.

Troy looked like I had punched him square in the nose. He teared up. He made a short gasp for breath.

We both chilled out quickly, but it wasn't fun.

This is going to keep happening, too.

It hurts, but it's a sign of what kind of mark a good person can make in the world. In the end, it's inspiring.

P.S. You can see John Pope's excellent memorial article about Ashley Morris here. Ray Shea and Mark Moseley obviously had a great role in the crafting of this article.


saintseester said...

Thanks for the article link; that one was really good.

My husband had a similar reaction; Late last wednesday night, in shock, I turned to him and said, "Ashley died." He reacted like I sucker punched him. Which, in a way, I suppose is what happened.

You do realize, the next time I see you, whether it be in a week or a year, I will break down. Just a warning.

Send him off tomorrow with fanfare - I so wish I could travel down for the funeral.

Leigh C. said...

Glad you told Troy NOW instead of at the startup of the Saints' season. Still and all, that news is gonna hurt no matter when it's shared. I felt like I was being asphyxiated when I found out.

Gonna be one hell of a day tomorrow.