I've gone back and forth trying to decide how to write this post...how to get the words out...how to formulate them so that they make perfect sense in an elegant sort of way. It's kind of impossible.
On Friday, October 24th, 2014, someone I knew from high school passed away unexpectedly in a car accident out in Arizona. His name was Dave Elam, and he was 21 years old. He left behind a wife and two-year-old son.
I really hate to be like the endless amounts of people who are attaching themselves to social media, digging up old photos and trying to convince the world that they knew him well and were his closest friends. This is a common thing when tragedies occur, especially when we're all part of such a small community as Bethel, where the high school is made up of roughly 400 students (or less) and everyone knows everyone. The thing is, though, a lot of people really were close with him. He's an Elam, for crying out loud. The youngest son of Bethel's band and choir director. The silly little brother of Danny III and Mitchell, who all three together, were the wild, UK-loving Elam boys.
The last time I saw Dave was in the beginning of September. He was home for a wedding and was driving with his dad. I thought he was Danny because hell, they all look SO much alike. Plus, I really hadn't seen him since going to his senior year musical with my friend Leah. He had grown up a lot. It got me thinking, though. You really just never, ever know when it'll be the last time you see or speak to someone. Life is funny that way.
Going to Bethel, it was hard not to at least know of or speak to the majority of people at school at least once or twice. Though I was never personally close with Dave, it was overwhelming and shocking to hear of his accident. My older brother, Tony, is one of Mitch's best friends. Dave had been to our house on many occasions. The running joke was that one time, he clogged our upstairs toilet and the boys never let him down since "poopin' on the flo." Poor Davey.
Anyway, I hate to make any of this about anyone other than Dave. His family is a beloved part of the Bethel community, and it truly seems unreal that something like this had to happen to them. I'm praying that they find peace from all of this. I pray that they know how much they are loved by all, though that probably won't ease any of the pain. I pray that everyone holds on close to their loved ones, because you never, ever know when it will be the last time you get the opportunity.