Thursday, February 26, 2015

Canyon McKay Copa

Dear blog,

On February 7th my friend Canyon was in a skiing accident and he died. He was skiing in Park City with my other friend, Chris Dixon, and he hit a lip in the snow, lost control and ran into a sign. The sign hit him right in his heart and he had an aortic dissection, which basically means that his aorta was ruptured and he bled out into his chest cavity. They tried to save him but his sister-in-law told me that there is only a 2% survival rate and the only reason that they tried to save him at all was because he was so young and healthy. 

I met Canyon my freshman year at BYU. He was goofy and outrageous and daring and different. I remember so many silly memories of hot springs and x-treme gulps. That one time we went to Beca's neighbor's house and played basketball in her basement and then went to mom & dad's and Canyon was adamant that we watch dumb & dumber. And that one summer day we took Beca to trafalga for her birthday. I remember we would argue about "NorCal" vs. "Southern California." He taught me what "hyphy" was (I still don't quite know) and tried to convince me that it was cool. I remember ghost riding the whip in my ghetto-fab mini-van and I remember Canyon dancing and laughing and having the time of his life (I was nervous.) I remember talking to Canyon about girls and I remember how wholeheartedly he loved. I keep giggling about that one girl he dated right before his mission that was going to wait for him (she didn't.) I keep remembering his giggle, soft and low and how comfortable he was just being him. I remember how comfortable it was to be around him. I want to remember his short, barrel-chested body and how he always would tug on the hem of his shirt and spike his hair. I want to remember how he would wear skater shoes and sweatshirts and shorts all year round. I can't distinctly remember the last time I saw him, which makes me really sad, but I think it was at this party around a year ago. I remember being so happy that he was there and just how normal and comfortable it was to see him. He's such a tender, loving soul.

His funeral was focused on "never stop adventuring" which was a major theme of his life. He loved running extreme races and he did ninja warrior and canyoneering and skiing and hiking and rock climbing and anything outdoorsy and daring that you could imagine. I am NOT an outdoorsy person so what Canyon taught me was less about being outdoorsy adventurous and more about being yourself adventurous. He taught me that it's cool to be weird and he embodied what it means to live your life to the fullest.

I took Beca to his grave last week because she was out of town for the funeral and she reminded me of a talk or a testimony that Canyon shared freshman year about how he was a little rebellious as a kid and he used to think that you had to be "bad" to be cool, but he was learning that it's more cool to be good. He exemplified that for me! He really is an impressive person. I think if I talked to him right now he might be sad that he didn't get to live and adventure for longer on this earth but I can almost guarantee that he would have few other regrets. That's how he lived his life! No regrets! I really love and respect that about him. That's what I want to learn from him now-- be brave and endure to the end. 
I love you, Canyon and I promise that in my own way I will never stop adventuring.


p.s. here's his obituary.