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Still in our hearts 20 years later

— Others were more melancholy.

“That is still one of my saddest memories,” Mike Busbee said. “I’m tearing up now, and every time I hear Queen’s [‘We Are the Champions,’ which was played at his funeral]. I believe Nick would have grown up to be one of our most talented, yet humble friends. Having said that, I am quite sure he is shedding light and serving a more grand purpose now.”

Carl Schaus remembers a weekend sleepover that almost didn’t happen.

“In October before he got his bone marrow transplant I got a chance to spend more time with Nick than I usually did,” Carl said. “I was supposed to go to a big sleepover with everyone else at Joel Hiltbrunner's and Nick wasn't able to go because of his health. In hanging out with Nick, he asked me to sleep over at his house. I was conflicted but ultimately decided to stay at Nick's house because I was having an awesome time with him, just the two of us. We carved pumpkins, played Nintendo and ate crap food, the stuff adolescent dudes do. I had no way of knowing that I would never get the opportunity again but am glad that I was able spend that time with him. I never wanted to say goodbye to Nick but since I had to, I look back at it and feel privileged to have been able to do it in a joyful, meaningful way.”

Jennifer Saumure McLaughlin, Nick’s fifth- and sixth-grade girlfriend, has her own meaningful remembrances, including the necklace he gave her as a birthday gift, a charm necklace with the words “Someone Special.”

“Nick was my first boyfriend. He was the most special person [to me] in elementary school,” Jen said. “My necklace was very priceless to me. He and I also shared a song, [Bryan Adams’ ‘(Everything I Do)] I Do It for You," which I kept as only his and my song.”

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