There are places in my heart I call “dead zones.” They’re the emotional spaces—now gone, numb and empty—I once reserved for people who touched my life. When one of those people dies, his or her spot in my heart goes numb. The departed still live in my head, I still smile when I think of them. But that place in my heart I set aside for a Mike Fiore or a Reese Lewis or a Tom Newby becomes a void. I no longer remember those people emotionally—it’s just too hard.
Everyone processes death differently. That’s my process. Not good or bad, just mine.
In a couple of days, we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving—my favorite holiday because I am blessed with a tight family and an oddball assortment of loyal friends, and I love to eat and drink. That my girlfriend’s family winery makes one of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in Napa Valley, Calif., also doesn’t hurt. (When you count your blessings, it’s important to remember that every blessing counts.)
People don’t typically think of gift giving when it comes to Thanksgiving, but in my family it’s all about gifts, the ones we give with our presence in each other’s lives. Presence is the best gift of all.
The performance-community—and it is a real community—lost the presence of Reese Lewis, Carey Downs, Mike Fiore and Steve Tripp this year. No one in our community is “thankful” for those losses. To one degree or another depending on our closeness with each of our departed friends, we’re all anguished and grieving. We might even be raging, to borrow from the poet Dylan Thomas, at the dying of their light. As I said, we all process death in different ways.
And yet, dead zones and all, I believe this will be the best Thanksgiving I’ve had in a very long time, and that’s saying something as they’re always pretty damn good. Because while I’ve lost four people I enjoyed—one, Mike Fiore, a close friend—I had them in my life. And whether you knew them personally or not, you, as a member of this community, had them in yours. They made our small world a little brighter and a lot more interesting. Yes, they’re all gone too early. But we were damn lucky to know them at all.
Thank you Reese, Carey, Mike and Steve. Thank you so much.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.