Sometimes I wonder why the good ones are taken too soon. I don’t think anyone will ever know why, but they teach us to cherish our sweet time on this earth.
James Elwyn was one of those good ones who was taken from us far too soon. In the days leading up to his death I had meant to text him, to check in, and wanted to just chat with him like the many fun times we have had. I remember deciding to wait, I didn’t want to overwhelm him with a message or add any stress during his medical and hospital visits. Just a few short weeks later he was gone.
The phone call hit like a brick wall. He was gone, I hadn’t talked to him, I hadn’t told him how much he meant to me. I didn’t have the chance to tell him everything I wanted to. So that night I sat down, I pulled up his contact and I texted him:
“Elwyn, I know you aren’t going to reply….I know this is too late. I know I should I have said these words a long time ago but I want you to know this. I want to thank you for being a father figure to me. I want to thank you for believing in me from the time I started swimming in middle school, through the depths of my hardest years you were there for me. You texted me during a time I thought I was forgotten and helped me realize my worth. Then into high school you showed me how to believe in myself, and how to work hard for a team. You believed in so many high school girls and empowered them to change the world. You changed the world Elwyn. You taught the importance of work ethic, of doing a crap ton of 100s and never quitting…and finding humor through it all. You were an amazing coach, roll model, father figure, counselor, and more.”
I saved the text in my notes and cried myself to sleep. That night I had a dream more vivid than I have ever I had. My phone buzzed in my bed right where I was laying. I picked it up to see Elwyn’s name pop up.
I had a text from him that read simply:
“it’s ok, it’s all ok”
I woke up to no texts messages on my phone, but a feeling in my heart that he is now in a better place, and that he knew what I wanted to tell him.
I’m lucky to have had Elwyn in my life for the nine short years that I did. Elwyn’s passing has not only helped me reflect on how he impacted my life and the lives of thousands of others, but how important it is to love those around us. Elwyn taught me not only how to swim faster than I ever thought I could, but more importantly how to appreciate every single person in the pool, how to work hard, and how to be a good person.
So don’t put off text messages, hugs, and telling everyone in your life that you love them. Remember at the end of the day we are all human, we are created to love.
See you on the flip side Elwyn. I love you, and so do all of your swimmers. <3