In tribute, for my friend.
This week tragedy unfolded as the unimaginable happened, my dear friend passed away just before his 5th wedding anniversary and his 26th birthday, leaving behind his beautiful wife and child. To give to a memorial fund for his family, see here: Cox Family Fund
1800 words is hardly enough to capture the many memories that I and our friends have. He lived life well, full of laughter and love, and he leaves behind a legacy in all our special moments and in his son. To read a beautiful sermon from my home church that has helped many of us cope with our suffering, see here.
Was it only a few weeks ago I sat watching you and your son run in the park and I marveled at the man you have become?
Thinking back to the day I first cut your hair, holding the scissors to your neck I said, “Hurt Kylee and I will hurt you.” That. That was 7? years ago. Just before we went to hang out with your brand new girlfriend Kylee.
In contrast, the last haircut I gave you, on August 3rd, sitting on your front lawn as your son grasped at those curly red hairs falling to the ground. You, talking to him while Kylee stood by. Us all telling jokes, because laughter was never far from you.
“Sas” you always called me, you were the first to start it, and it stayed. “Sas, maybe we need to start (something related to my work which I won’t say here so no one gets offended) in Canada, that way you will come home to stop it, since we can’t seem to find you a boyfriend to come home to, and you love your work the most. Maybe then you will move home.” Joking, you were always joking.
I never could have imagined that you would love my friend Kylee so ferociously. All those lovesick months when we had to listen to you pine away for her in Australia. I was more afraid then that she would hurt you, because you loved her so incredibly much.
Then Jesus got ahold of your heart. It was this crazy answer to so many prayers that held a transformation none of us ever could have imagined. I watched you go from the Aussie bartender to the Jesus-loving Aussie bartender who had the Aussie nerve to swear the first time you ever shared your testimony in church. You told it like it was and we all loved you for it.
You remember when you said to me, “Get in the car Sas, we are going to church. I really want to go out and party, which means we need to go to church right now.” We drove to that big church across from Sevenoaks mall to listen to Brian play music, and I sat in my seat with my arms crossed, and then we both started crying, you because God was moving, and me because I wanted to feel God the way you did.
I remember the first reunion after all your and Kylee’s months apart. I went with her to pick you up from the airport after Costa Rica because she didn’t know if it would be awkward. It was, in a way, but in that adorable, puppy-love-turning-into-real-love kind of way.
You both smiling like kids on Christmas. And then you didn’t wash your hair for months after in order to keep the Costa Rican sand in your hair. Roxann used to complain about how your hair smelled. “I would not go anywhere near his hair” she would warn me.
I tell people all the time about how my Australian friend talked me into signing up to go to YWAM. We were walking around fishtrap creek, and you said, “What are you doing with your life?” You said, “Sas, you could either keep partying and go no where with your life, or you could party for Jesus. And you could even snowboard while doing it.”
Only you could make the words “party for Jesus” sound cool.
You got me back into the church, and even though we were showing up late from whatever adventure we happened to be on, we all went anyway. That group of 18 year olds sitting in a row on the side of the hall, I don’t think they knew what to do with us at first, but man they loved on us.
Dom – the only guy I know who wears sandals to a formal grad! Who then told me it was the most boring grad ever, and wanted to leave early. You felt so bad after, “Sas, I didn’t know grad was such a big deal.”
When you asked Kylee to marry you, I was so excited but also convinced you were both way too young. And maybe at 19 you were too young, but thank God you took advantage of every moment you had together.
I was so honoured on your wedding day to serve as a ‘grooms-woman’. While all the other girls had to worry about serious things like hair and make up and nails, I got to smoke a cigar with you and the boys. And, God knows we were all so young. We had no idea how weddings were supposed to be, only that this one was for two people who loved Him and loved each other, and that made it a stunning wedding.
Jared and my speech for you, is still, to this day, the worst speech I ever made in my life. I wrote some scribbled notes on a piece of paper that didn’t even make sense. I told Ky this summer that at your 25th wedding anniversary I dibs giving an awesome speech to make up for it. Although nothing could compare to Chile’s poem about your first date at Taco Bell, that is still, to this day, the best wedding speech I have ever heard.
I never thought there wouldn’t be a 25th wedding anniversary.
I never thought you wouldn’t be there the day I got married so I could make you get up and say wonderful things about me (haha).
I never thought the next time I would sit down to write something about you, it would be in circumstances like this.
Watching you as a husband and married man always made me think, “Dom is such a dude.” Marriage made you a man.
The way you loved Kylee made her even more beautiful. It is the kind of love we all wish for.
The weekend of Amanda’s wedding when I guessed that Ky might be pregnant, the three of us were in the truck, joking that now you had a DD for the next nine months. We made so many bad jokes, the three of us, but only with people as safe as you and Kylee can we joke that much.
And I remember watching you watch her as her belly grew with baby Nixon. I kept asking, “Is she even more beautiful to you now?” You would just wink at me and make a bad joke.
The day we got you both dancing, her with her belly, and you with all your ridiculousness. I have a picture of my hands over my face, doubled over I was laughing so hard.
That was such a good day.
And then you became a dad.
You two made raising a family look like the greatest adventure. At times I have been so jealous of all the love you guys shared.
Oh, little Nixon, you need to know how much your daddy loved you.
If Dom was a dude when he got married, he became a legend when he had a baby.
You worked so hard for your family and you loved them so well. You took care of my dear friend Kylee, even when things were hard.
I think of this image of you chasing after Nix in the park as he tried to make friends with all the local dogs being walked. Sitting with Jaclyn and Kylee. Watching you and Jared, oh God, just a few weeks ago, playing with him on our last picnic together, laughing at you boys…
This is so unreal.
I know we were probably the most sarcastic friends anyone could put together.
While poor Kylee would try to instruct us to be a little nicer, every sarcastic moment was just a way of appreciating a friendship that led me to Jesus and made me part of a church family I love so much.
You helped change my life. That is legacy.
When I talked to your wife the day after it happened, man she humbled me with her love for God, her image of you going home to heaven. “Perfection in heaven, Sas.” She said.
That wrecked me. Huddled in the back corner of a conference hall in the middle of Eastern Europe, feeling so far away, her making me weep with her beautiful trust, and you, unknowingly making me laugh as I recounted to her all these memories.
“I’m so thankful he came, met Jesus, we married young and had children young, because it was all the more time to share.” That was what she said to me.
Dom, she is giving thanks in her grief.
When people see me crying here, they ask me what happened, they ask me if it was someone in my family.
I can’t put words to explaining that my love for you and Ky runs as deep as family.
That you are a brother to me, the kind you tease relentlessly but know will have your back no matter what.
How can I make sense of how you and Ky represent home for me. Every time I curled up on your living room floor and whined to the two of you, Kylee was there to comfort, and you Dom, were there to toss me a beer and make a joke that helped me get over my troubles. “Saskia’s having a hard time Dom,” She would say. And then you would get me alone and ask me seriously, “Are you doing okay, Sas? You would tell us right?”
This trouble though, this one, beer and jokes won’t fix.
I told you not to break Kylee’s heart. Oh my boy, you never would have wanted to. Not like this.
To have loved the way you guys have loved.
That is special.
I’m not ready to say goodbye, none of us are. You would love it, all the good things being said about you. All the memories being shared, all the support for your wife and child, for your family far away, God, it is so humbling. You affected so many peoples lives in such a short time. And now you are are in Heaven.
“Heaven is perfection Sas.”
So save us some perfect waves up there. Play a little hockey, honourary Canadian. Cause this world; it’s not our home.
And I know, I know, I know, that now, you are home.