On Sunday February 22nd Michael Schaus a Kayaker, and friend to many, from Banook Canoe Club passed away in his sleep at 21 years of age. My memories of Mike consist mostly of a trip to Norway when he would have been around 16. Without trying to sound clichéd I remember thinking how kind and mature he was. Many of my close friends were extremely close with Mike and, though he was only an aquaintance of mine, it impossible not to feel how powerful an impact he had on the people he knew well.
I lost a friend to an accident when I was about 20. After a lot of searching for a way to glean some meaning from the tragedy that struck his family and friends, I realized there wasn’t any sense to be had. It just happened. After about a year of feeling a little off balance I realized, with help, that the only way I was going to grow from this sadness was to embrace his life and give a part of myself to his memory. I began to live my life with a little more thought and I began to make sure I was living my life in a way that would do him proud. It was an incredibly empowering decision. With Mike’s passing I’ve been reminded that by being here, I have to honor the memory of those who aren’t and that responsibility is a gift that I am truly grateful for. As much as a tragedy as this is, and as sad as I feel, I have no doubt that Mike would want all his friends to remember him with smiles and live their lives to the fullest in his honor.