It’s been a year since I said goodbye to Denver. Since we had our last conversation. Since I held her hand for the final time.
It’s been a year since I lost my best friend, my confidant, my trusted advisor, my partner-in-crime.
It’s been a year and the heartbreak is still raw. The pain still so very real.
It’s been a year.
How the hell has it been a year?
Monday, tomorrow or today depending on when you read this, marks 366 (thanks Leap Year) days since she peacefully slipped away surrounded by friends and family.
It seems like yesterday. It seems like 10 years ago. It still seems unreal she isn’t here.
There are a dozen things a week that happen that make me instinctively want to go to Denver regarding advice. There are a million moments where I think “she’d be really proud of this,” or, “she’d tell me I was doing something incredibly foolish.” Reading that sentence makes me sound selfish, and oftentimes I wonder “did I give her as much as she gave me? Did I move her world like she moved mine?”
I think I did. I hope I did. It’s why I think we made such a good team.
I walk into Chatham and look at the table we always used to sit at (it was one of the few with access to a power outlet for our laptops…because, you know…entrepreneurs work out of bars…), and I walk into the Speak Easy still looking for her at her old spot at the main table or glance at my original perch where we had our earliest conversations and where I fell absolutely head over heels for her.
Those moments still take my breath away and hit me in the gut. Hard.
This community has been amazing, both how you all cared for her when she was alive and how you’ve helped honor her in death. From awards to memorials to a beautiful brick at the Speedway; it’s been a community effort that has allowed her legacy to live on.
This week, we’re going to collectively celebrate Denver’s legacy in a way that I hope will carry on for years to come. We collectively have some tricks up our sleeve, because if you know Denver, you know she loved surprises. And she gave us all one last big one…she outdid herself one last time.
The appreciation I have for the Hutt family is immense. We’ve navigated the last year together, grieved collectively, and are connected in a timeless bond. The people Denver left to take care of me, the ones she knew I would be in good hands with, have helped me navigate the lows that make it hurt that much more and have helped me celebrate the highs of the last year in a way that she would approve.
Denver-I miss you. And I wake up in the morning with a goal to make you proud. I strive to represent this city with the same passion you did in your time here. I yearn to help finish what you started. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have Nine13, I wouldn’t have found a belief that I could succeed when nobody else expected me to do so. You kicked my ass, you pushed me to think big, think differently, challenge norms, blow up the status quo and (occasionally) be politically correct. You showed me how to be a better man, a better partner, a better friend. You helped me find me.
But you never taught me how to lose you.
And I never wanted to learn.
In all fairness.
You never learned how to ride a bike.
And I wanted you to.
So I guess we’re even.
I hope you’re proud of me. I know I’m so proud of you. Every. Damn. Day.
I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.