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Nick Adenhart: One year later

Apr 9, 2010, 7:30 AM EST

Nick Adenhart large.jpgOne year ago this morning we woke up to the news of Nick Adenhart’s death. As Lyle Spencer of MLB.com reports, the Angels are still working through it all. “The shock … I don’t think you ever get over the shock,” Jered Weaver said. “Any time you bring it up, it’s there.”

The Angels will award Weaver with the inaugural Nick Adenhart Award tonight, which will henceforth go to the team’s most valuable pitcher. And with that, the formal part of the grieving process will end. Gone will be the reminders that were everywhere last year: his
locker preserved in game-day condition. His jersey hanging in the
dugout. His number on the outfield wall.

Personally, I don’t do well with this sort of thing. I don’t mean death itself. I can deal with the actual death of someone close to me as well as someone can be expected to deal with it under the circumstances.

The hardest part for me is the expected and inevitable return to normalcy. When the person’s clothes and possessions are disposed of. When you change the entry in the address book from “Husband and Wife Smith” to merely “Wife Smith.” When you serve a meal and, for the first time, someone feels comfortable taking the dead person’s seat at the table. Those are the kinds of things that truly cause the loss to set in for me. They underscore the finality and, in some cases, tragedy of it all in ways that affect me far more than the initial moment of shock and the first few days and weeks of grieving do.

The Angels are now returning to normalcy. For those on the team closest to him, Nick Adenhart will necessarily transform from a source of raw, immediate and visceral inspiration to something different. And in some subtle but important ways, that may be harder to deal with than what they went through last year.

  1. Matt - Apr 9, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    well said sir

  2. bigfun - Apr 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM

    well put (wrong Weaver though)

  3. thisisbeth - Apr 9, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Amen.

  4. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 9, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    well said Craig, RIP Nick

  5. Real Vikings fans wouldn't cheer for Favre - Apr 9, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    “The hardest part for me is the expected and inevitable return to normalcy….”
    Couldn’t agree more with that paragraph more. Just had an Easter dinner without my Grandpa. Not the same at all.
    nice article, Craig.

  6. Brian - Apr 9, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Outstanding entry, Craig.

  7. Nina - Apr 9, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Well said. Nick had so much potential to be one of the greats. A sports team always becomes a family, of sorts, and to lose a family member is heart wrenching. One good thing to come out of this is that Nick’s family knows how much their son was loved by his fans and friends. Gone too soon, Nick. RIP.

  8. Miriam - Apr 9, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Very heartfelt article. I am a junior high school band director. Six years ago, one of my 8th grade students died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. We displayed his uniform and alto saxophone at a concert the first night we knew of his condition, and displayed his saxphone in the band room every day until his funeral. Each day, a different saxophone student would pack up his saxophone, and his family requested to bury him in his band uniform. I had a number of band parents thank me for doing this, as it helped the band students through the grieving process. However, to this day, I haven’t been able to replace his band uniform. #215 remains blank in the uniform room.

  9. Lucy - Apr 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Very sad and very moving article. RIP to Nick and those friends who were lost in that accident too.

  10. Sheri - Apr 9, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Beautifully written. Nick may now be more than a “visceral inspiration”, in that, they’ll continue to learn, both personally & professionally, based on what they respected in him.

  11. Joe - Apr 9, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Always about us and never about those who never get to have grey hair, perhaps children or at least challenge their potential.
    I am confused by the article should we be sad for those who knew him, I think not. We should be sad for Nick Adenhart.

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