Friend of JournalBMX, two-time BMX Olympian and one amazing person, Brooke Crain - lost her dad on July 2nd. We were beyond honored to write the words to eulogize his life. While what we say here can barely touch on it, please know that Todd Crain was a great person. Many great people lose their lives to mental illness every year. If you are struggling, reach out.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Todd Crain’s life ended too early. Yes, the length of his life is longer than many of us here today, but it wasn’t supposed to end yet.
Though it did.
Now we are left here to look after each other. To honor the best parts of his life the ways we can. To acknowledge that everything wasn’t always perfect. Far from it, actually. But what’s the point in dwelling on the sad? Todd didn’t show us sad. We wish he would have, if only just a little. However that’s not how he chose to show his life. Todd chose to show us love. Todd chose to show us happy.
Brooke tells us Todd was the happiest when his family was all together in the mountains, with a Coors Original in one had and pile of Swedish fish in the other. Seems like quite the combination.
And Todd was kind. He lived his life making sure everyone received his kindness. He saw the good in people. He never held a grudge. He never judged anyone - unless they drove a Ford - and then he judged you a lot. He had pride in the things he loved and took care of them.
We can all be more like him. We can double over, hands on our stomach laughing in that “You’re making my stomach hurt!” laugh. You can probably hear it now. You’ll see his tan hands, rigid and a bit rough, square ends and short nails on top of his tummy. Maybe his eyes would “sweat” just a bit in the right moment.
We chose to not care what others think. We can try to make other people happy - yet remain true to ourselves. That’s what Shelly says. She’s going to do it. If she can, we all can. She’s determined to be here for children and grand kids. She’s going to honor Todd’s life by helping others as he would, and by having a forgiving heart.
Shelly made a promise on June 21, 1986. She said for better or worse. So did he. They’ve had moments, as many marriages do. But Shelly says she chose forgiveness. The hurt in her heart was extreme. It’s deep and sharp and like ripping your soul out, that hurt is. Many of us feel that. But Shelly tells us her love for him was greater than anything in her life.
That’s what love really is. It’s an act of forgiveness and letting go. Love has no bounds or ends or beginnings.
And when you forgive someone, it’s more for you than for them. There’s a popular Netflix show right now - 13 Reasons Why - with very pertinent subjects to today. It’s says just this. “Forgiveness is your way of clearing your own heart. Forgiveness is showing up for each other. Over and over again.”
Todd died from a disease that is silent. Todd was silent. You don’t have to be. You can stand up and say I am not well. You can look to your friend, your neighbor, look the the person seated next to you right now. Tell them if you hurt. Tell them to hold your hand and that you’re afraid.
Then the day will come when your friend be it new or old may as for the same in return. We have the overwhelming privilege to be that light. Todd was our light. A warm place, a smile, a hug, a laugh.
No one will get out of this thing called life alive. That may be a twisted thought but someday we all will be no more. But each day we are breathing we have a chance. We have a chance to hold our grandchildren. We have a chance to smell the shampoo of our spouse’s hair and to watch our dogs - both pets and partners - be our dearest companions.
Ryan tells us he left big shoes to fill. Todd was worried when Ryan left his state job for his own company. But in a perfect euphemism for this life we know that failure in Ryan’s company is not an option. Showing up is not an option. Not continuing is not an option. Not breathing is NOT an option.
So for each of you that hears me now know this: You matter. Whatever is happening in your life isn’t so big that we can’t see you or listen to you. Your life matters.
Ask Mike. Ask Shelly. Ask Ryan or Brooke or the Wilsons or anyone else that is nodding their heads, hand over hearts right now.
Todd Crain STILL MATTERS.
Do not let his story end here today. Treat friends like family. Cheer for the USA. Do your job with pride. Give all people dignity - it doesn’t matter if they are behind bars, on the street or in your home. Go to the gym. Go and work really hard but goof off now and then.
We are all we need in life for each other.
Today I implore you to think of the things you most loved about Todd. When you leave here, take those memories and Todd’s bright light with you. Let that shine in your heart and let him be with you always.
I’ll leave you with this piece from Maya Angelou:
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be.
Be and be
For they existed.
All of our love to the Crains.
Written by Courtney Staton
Prepared for reading by Tony Hoffman, in memoriam, Todd Crain.