20 Years After The Deaths of My Two Best Friends

It’s amazing how quickly life happens. Ryan Maxwell, my son Ryan’s namesake, was my best friend for 13 years. He was just days from turning 19. He was dating Lynley Herbert, 17 (my son’s age now). My family moved to town when I was 5, and Lynley’s family was the first family we met. I grew up with these two people. I often spent more time with their families than my own. 3/3/2001 is burned into my memory because they died together in a car accident that day. I can remember every aspect of that day… all of it. Looking back, I also now view that day as a launchpad for the remainder of my life that set me on a quest for answers. The questions didn’t come immediately, but I had lived my entire life to that point accepting the majority of what I was taught — especially about Christianity. Ryan and Lynley’s passing wasn’t what sent me looking for answers or questioning my beliefs; rather, it was what happened AFTERWARD that took me down that rabbit hole.

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
― Einstein

In the context of religion, that quote makes sense to the religious when considering an “afterlife”. But what it actually says is that life just is. Before you or I came into this realm, we were. After our avatars in this realm expire, we are. We are energetic beings of life. We ARE energy. We ARE life. It is my opinion that this is what Jesus was attempting to convey when he was asked, “Who are you?” and he replied, “I Am.”

You are, too, “I Am”. The entirety of the universe is bursting with “I Am” — none of it ceasing to exist, only changing form. If you want me to completely nerd out, have a conversation with me about consciousness and energy. Back to what happened after Ryan and Lynley’s passing…

The day of their car accident is vivid. The days that followed are more of a blur, save one night. On this particular night, I was at home and fell asleep on the living room couch. After I fell asleep, I was immediately awake in a dream realm. It was dark outside, and I was sitting on the same living room couch alone watching TV. Behind me was a large window that looked into the front yard. While I was sitting there, I heard a knock on that window. When I turned around, I saw my best friend Ryan standing there. I jumped up running to open the front door exclaiming, “You’re alive?! MOM, DAD! HE’S ALIVE, HE’S NOT DEAD! RYAN’S ALIVE!” As I opened the door, Ryan grabbed me by the shoulders, stopping me in my tracks and said, “David, I am dead. I’ve been allowed to visit you in a dream.”

At that moment, I became aware of two things: 1. Our understanding of life and death is extraordinarily narrow, and 2. The idea that the dream state and consciousness is a construct of the brain is false.

I looked at Ryan dumbfounded and then gave him a hug telling him how much I loved him and that I missed him. He told me the same. We then spent most of that night in deep conversation as we’d always done. At one point, I asked him where Lynley was, and he said, “She’s visiting her parents right now. She’ll be here in a minute.” We continued talking, and sure enough, not long after I asked where she was, Lynley came walking around the corner. I ran to her, grabbed her up in my arms, kissed her on the cheek, and told her that I loved her. She laughed, smiled, and told me that she loved me, too. We talked a while longer before they told me that they had to go. The sky was getting obviously brighter with dawn nearing the horizon. I gave them both one more hug, told them goodbye, and I woke up in my living room laying on the couch at the break of dawn.

I haven’t “seen” my two best friends since, but after encountering them in another realm of consciousness, I began to rethink some things. Now, I view hurting others and causing them pain as self-deprecation. The same is true when humans recklessly and ignorantly choose to destroy our life-giving planet and her creatures. WE ARE ONE. Through quantum entanglement, we are literally connected to all of existence, seen and unseen, to the farthest reaches of the expanding universe. When that realization is made, all life is sacred and ought to be loved and revered because it is us — it is “I Am”. Loving others deeply is paramount.

I love you.

Author: David Dietz

Born and raised up into leadership in the American Church, David is unlearning Christianity and instead advocates for the full acceptance of others. "To love someone is to allow that person to be fully themselves without interference or expectations of change--to accept them exactly as they are. Loving someone isn't just 'accepting' who they are, however; it's giving them freedom to be a wholly distinct individual. When you love someone so deeply that you relinquish any control or ownership you *think* you have over them, you are showing that person love untainted."

One thought on “20 Years After The Deaths of My Two Best Friends”

  1. Thank you for this info man. It’s good to be reminded of Ryan for me. He was a light as you are in lots of ways my friend.

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