This is a hard post for me to write, and it's not something I am, or ever will be for that matter, prepared for. Over the weekend, my family suffered a tremendous loss, when Derrick Alan Shaw(my cousin/very close personal friend/brother to me/my personal idol), better known as "D" or "DShaw/DShow" to his friends and family, slipped into a coma after a bloodclot made its way into his brain which ultimately rendered him lifeless, with doctors eventually pronouncing him "dead" on April 18, 2010. I say "dead" in quotes, because I simply don't feel like he has actually really left us. This came as such a shock (obviously) to all who knew him for the simple fact that "D" was such a healthy young man, full of energy and life and always willing to go the extra mile, and do whatever it took to make sure the people, and world around him felt that much better about themselves and the things they were doing at any given moment. This loss is a pure tragedy, and I don't think I will ever be the same again without him.
Now typically, this is the part of the "eulogy" where I would cite off the numerous activites that Derrick liked to partake in, and how so many times he would convince me to stop being a lazy poor sport and join in the festivities, and how he could turn a typical tuesday afternoon into a raging wild saturday night strictly by using his neverending charisma, his raw energy and pure zest for life. That was the thing about Derrick, he was always so willing to make everyone else have a good time, that it sadden's me deeply, all the way to the bone, that I am saying this about him, because the Derrick I knew, wouldn't want us sitting around grieving his death, rather celebrating the time we got to spend with him. It seems cliche to say, and it seems to me that far too many people throw this term around a little too loosely, but Derrick truly was a one of a kind soul, and a first class, stand up MAN from start to finish.
When I think of Derrick, so many classic memories come to mind. From the things he taught me, to the way he absolutely loved his life. The way he inspired people to do things. The pure entrepreneur, the father, the son, the brother, the cousin, the nephew, the uncle, the friend, the lover, and all around provider of good times.
For me, I suppose it's best to start from the beginning tho...
I was about 5, maybe 6 years old when I got my first skateboard. Why did I get a skateboard? Cause Derrick had a skateboard and by that time he had already mastered the art, and all I can remember ever wanting to be as a young man was to be like Derrick. He spent hours with me, teaching me the fundamentals that would ultimately define my entire outlook on life, and lead me to adopt the skateboarder mentality. Derrick was the definition of cool. He was purely good vibes, and kept all of us younger generation of brothers/cousins/friends schooled on what was in style, and would never let us be caught wearing the wrong thing, or doing anything that was unfitting of a shaw related person.
As we got older, snowboarding became the next thing that Derrick would master, and of course, being the rad dude that he was, he took it upon himself (after months of begging of course) to take us all up to learn the ropes. This time tho, he didn't hold our hands and walk us thru it, he put us on the lift, and showed us the way down and said "see ya down there". Awesome. It was that day, that I realized how incredible Derrick was. Not because he left me to fall off a cliff, but because how good he was at everything he did, and how he was so full of passion for everything he did. I remember telling all my friends about how rad Derrick was because he was on the "Sierra Summit" sign, and that I just knew he was going to be pro. And last I saw, they still have Derrick's billboard hanging in the lodge at Sierra Summit.
Derrick gave me my first job at the ripe old age of 15. I got to start his first business from the ground up with him and he really gave me a chance when he didn't have to. That's just the kind of guy he was. He had enough faith in me and Kris to let us run the shop for him one day, and to my recollection we didn't burn the place to the ground so I guess we could consider that day a success. I worked for Derrick for the entire duration of my high school career, and was the envy of everyone I knew, cause I got to work at the best skate shop around, AND I got a discount.
Most recently, Derrick and I had been spending most of our time hanging out together throwing bags, and playing golf. The skating and snowboarding was starting to take effect on our old bodies, so we took to the less strenuous activities. So I guess, in a way, you could very easily make a case to say that Derrick not only influenced just about everything I ever did in my life, but he taught me to do the things that I did in my life as well.
Derrick to me was much more than a cousin. He was like the big brother to us all. He took everyone in and always had enough room for one more when someone else wanted to come along. He was the definition of what it is to be a man, and I am forever grateful that I had the chance to even know the man, let alone spend the amount of time I got to spend, with him. Derrick's memory will be cherished for the rest of my life, as I'm sure he will live on in the hearts of everyone else who ever had the chance to spend the slightest amount of time with him. You truly were a one of a kind dude D, and my heart just isnt ever going to be the same without you here. I love you brother, truly and deeply.