Jan 1, 2007, 5:25 AM
Post #1 of 200
Fatality at Eloy (Dec. 30), Condolences for Cliff Heller (Apoil)
His Rodriguez Brother profile states that his favorite quote is:
Don't Knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run away. He hates that.
It was really funny a few days ago. It isn't really funny anymore. I guess I am the wrong person to ask though, since I havent really laughed since I heard about this. And the way I feel right now I dont feel like I'm ever going to again. I'm sure I will, but I certainly dont feel it right now.
I was out of the loop for about 24 hours. When I found out, I spent the better part of an hour calling everyone I could to dispel this nutty notion that Cliff was gone. My thanks and apologies to everyone who listened to me scream into the phone.
Now it has become my turn. I am getting phone calls and emails from all over the world, as more and more far flung friends hear the news, and want someone to tell them that it isn't true.
This was my best friend. This is the guy in charge of pulling the plug on me in my living will. This is the guy who was a brother to me. This is the guy who always looked out for me when I was being an idiot - which was often.
I guess that I have to stop being an idiot now. Because there's nobody there to look out for me anymore.
I'd really like to hear from anyone who knew him out there. PM me. I'll respond when I am mildly less of a basket case.
In the meantime, I will be punching things, screaming, and doing everything in my power (which is fucking nothing) to make everything go back to the way it was before this happened.
I know we all have a 50-50 chance of having to bury our best friend. That doesn't make it suck any less. If you read this, do yourself a favor... call your best friend today.
(This post was edited by skymama on Jan 1, 2007, 8:18 AM)
Jan 1, 2007, 5:56 AM
Post #4 of 200
Re: [Andy_Copland] Fatality at Eloy (Dec. 30)
[In reply to]
BSBD sorry to hear... but ive learned to accept that when it syour time to go you have no say in it, is just your time. so the only thing to do is keep your eyes open and hopefully through careful planning, training and lots of luck you can stay alive to kick another day. didn't know the man, but it still hurts
Sorry for your loss mate. Remember the good times and smile at the memories.
I kind of wish I could *forget* the good times. Thinking about those is what breaks me up. I just found a roll of photos of us from when we were in Thailand. I have six pictures of him, and four are of him eating bugs.
Thanks for all the good wishes from you and everyone else. They *are* making me feel a little better.
I know I'm not the only one to lose someone. I do feel like it though.
Last night I was telling my girlfriend that I thought it was doubly unfair that this should happen to MY best friend. Because, I'm fuckin weird. Not too many people can stand me as it is. So, when someone is a brother to you and has never turned his back on you (and I will say, Ive been such a fuck up in the past that he should have), it feels doubly unfair to lose him, and I feel a lot more orphaned than I could possibly have imagined.
This sucks. This sucks so bad. This is the worst thing that has ever happened in my entire life.
Thanks for reading my ranting. Sorry if I'm bumming anyone else out. I just dont know how else to cope at this moment.
He'd say "this sucks." Then he would go into an hour long lecture/diatribe about what death is really like. He'd cite at least 5 books and 5 movies about death, and tell me how each one of them was full of shit. He'd laugh at how ignorant they were, and would discuss ad nauseum his newfound expertise in the subject of death.
It sounds depressing, but I'm actually smiling writing that. He was such a "know it all." Of course, thats because he knew it all.
He probably wouldnt know what to say though when I asked him "who is gonna look out for me now, big brother?"
Ok, im not smiling anymore.
Actually, he'd probably tell me that I dont need him to look out for me, that I can look out for myself. But that's not really the point. Its not that I *needed* him to look out for me. Its that I loved that he *wanted* to look out for me.
I just want my friend back. I've buried lots of friends. Never my *best friend.* Burying a good friend doesnt even come close to how bad it sucks to bury your best friend. Not even close.
I hope that nobody reading this ever feels the way I do right now.
I keep getting private condolences messages. Thanks to everyone who has sent them. I'll try and reply to all of them. They really do make me feel better... as do all the posts on this thread.
Last night I was telling my girlfriend that I thought it was doubly unfair that this should happen to MY best friend. Because, I'm fuckin weird. Not too many people can stand me as it is. So, when someone is a brother to you and has never turned his back on you (and I will say, Ive been such a fuck up in the past that he should have), it feels doubly unfair to lose him, and I feel a lot more orphaned than I could possibly have imagined. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ More people love you than you know (thats the beauty of life). When its your turn to go, someone WILL mourn you deeply. I lost a person that I thought would fly my ashes and someone else dear to me said 'don't worry...I'll take you up.'
So sorry for your loss but you HAD a friend and he is probably right over your shoulder trying to tell you that the ride wasn't that bad--the view from where he is is magnificent and he'll hold a seat next to him for you. You are not orphaned...you had a friend and HE had a friend and you still have other friends that are hurting too. Stick together.
Damn..........I haven't seen Cliff in quite a long time. Last time I jumped with him was Jan of 2003. I remember that trip to Z Hills well. I trashed my camera when I ran into a Canadian. Fortunately, that was AFTER I had some jumps with Cliff. One of them is on my "1St Vid" which I think is posted on Skydivingmovies.com. I always appreciated that he took the time to jump with me. He was a pretty awesome free flyer and here was me at 300 jumps still trying to figure it all out. It was the winter time week day thing where finding people to jump with can be hard some days. Thanks for the jumps Cliff. Blue Skies Bro! You will be certainly missed.
I remember that trip to Z Hills well. I trashed my camera when I ran into a Canadian. Fortunately, that was AFTER I had some jumps with Cliff. One of them is on my "1St Vid" which I think is posted on Skydivingmovies.com.
Oh my god. Thank you. That is beautiful footage of him. I've been watching it again and again and again. The first time, I flipped out and broke my hand punching the door. I dont hold you responsible :). I cant wait to make it through the entire minute without screaming and crying.
If you, or anyone else, finds video of him. I would love to see it, and I'm sure lots of other people would as well.
Jan 1, 2007, 9:35 AM
Post #18 of 200
Re: [marcorandazza] Fatality at Eloy (Dec. 30), Condolences for Cliff Heller (Apoil)
[In reply to]
Haven't seen a lot of Cliff since he went back to school, but got a chance to catch up with him at Thanksgiving. Blue Skies, my friend...it was great to jump with you, even better to get to hang with you for a while.
Cliff was the first person i met when i started skydiving. He taught my first jump course and did a few of my AFF jumps. He kept me inline while i was a student and while learning to freefly. A smart one he was...and a lot of fun to get smashed with when the beer light went on. Ill miss him greatly.
Jan 1, 2007, 10:32 AM
Post #21 of 200
Re: Fatality at Eloy (Dec. 30), Condolences for Cliff Heller (Apoil)
[In reply to]
This is the last post in the thread "Dead Friends List" by apoil
In reply to:
In reply to:
Thanks for posting your thoughts, everyone.
But I'm not sure that I'm willing to get close to any more jumpers. And I don't know that the sport is worth putting my family through the pain that would come if I die jumping.
What you are talking about now has nothing to do with skydiving. It has to do with dealing with loss.
Many people stop getting close to other people after getting their heart broken, or losing a loved one to disease.
There's the deeper question of what it really means to be alive which ties to why we jump in the first place. The route you are contemplating might reduce the chance of pain in the future, but it also cuts off something. And that something is part of what makes life worth living.
As to the pain you might put others through if you die, here's two things:
1) Don't fucking die skydiving. Seriously. Stay sharp and do everything you can to not let it happen. Learn from every incident and don't repeat the mistakes of others.
2) While it will be painful, how do you want to be remembered? As that person that was so passionate about life that she lived it to the extreme and took risks or as that person who was always safe and nothing ever really happened to her. Most families of skydivers have already come to terms with the possibility. If not, they will. They are your family - they share some of your genetic traits - they WILL understand. If you are talking about your extended skydiving family, they know that the risk of pain and loss are part of the full spectrum of experiences in life.
I remember him being mad at me for flipping to feet down. I was having trouble slowing my fall rate enough to stay up so right there at the bottom of the skydive I went to a sit. I can still remember saying "I know I know but it made for AWESOME video!" The compression has NOT been kind to that copy. If you want a DVD in full resolution just PM me your addy and I'll make sure it gets there.
He was one of my favourite tracking rabbits. He could stay as flat on his back as I could in a full max track with booties on. I kept meaning to find out where he was to do another tracking dive with him to work out how my tracking had developed in the years I didn't see him. I'm sorry that I won't be able to track with him again in this life.