07 October, 2007

Farewell to a friend

I didn't know Zack Tellier very well. By the time this skinny kid from New Hampshire arrived on the American University campus, I was already on my way out. We played rugby for the AU Rugby Club for a year, but we never talked about anything of any importance.

He was a gentle soul. But also I knew Zack as a rugby player, and as a hard-headed and intense young man who lacked directions but took every opportunity to live life to the fullest.

On Wednesday, words that Zack was KIA in Afghanistan hit me like a ton of bricks. He wasn't my best friend, but he was a part of the AU Rugby Club family and he gave his life serving our country. We had to pay our final respect to Zack, and to the Tellier family.

Chris Rutyna, Dave Radcliffe, and I drove up to Massachusetts on Thursday night. We attended the wake in Falmouth, MA but had to drive back to DC on Friday.

I'm happy we went. But I wasn't sure how I felt about going to the service of a friend - the first among my college friends to leave this world. We conveyed our thoughts to Sara Tellier, Zack's wife. But I found myself lacking words when I needed my wits the most. Seeing Zack's coffin laying in the funeral home affected me a great deal more than I thought it would.

As we pulled out of the service and toasted a drink in Zack's honor, a thick New England fog fell upon us and escorted us the entire drive back to Washington, DC. I like to think that's Zack saying his farewell to us and seeing us home safely. He was that kind of person.

In Zack's memory.