Monday’s state basketball feature deals with the relationship of Springville High School point guard Carly Martin and her late brother Chase, who died of heart failure at age 17.
Carly, a senior, was kind enough and open enough to speak about her family’s loss. And she was gracious enough to send me copy of the many poems and letters she has written in the past 3 1/2 years. All of the copy is as she wrote it.
********************************************* They say time still heals everything. I have to disagree though. Time does help heal, but there will always be a scar. Every time you see that scar you are reminded of the pain. ************************************* For the rest of my life, along with many other people, we will always see and hear things around us that remind us. ************************************ "People say they wouldn't change a thing, even if they could Oh but I would"- Kenny Chesney There is so much i would change... ************************************* As you get older you learn that showing your gratitude for someone can't just be through words. Your actions are a visual representation of who you are and how you are feeling. There are times in my life where I feel like no matter what I say or do, people won't believe me. But I like to think that there is a point in every person's life where they look back and remember those things. When a time of tragedy enters a person's life, they look back. People search for little details that give them comfort. When Chase passed away, the next morning I woke up and got out a notebook and started writing down things that he loved. Why? I didn't know why i was doing that. But looking back, I think I was just looking for things to comfort me. What made him happy made me happy too. Who doesn't want to be happy? So many things were left unsaid. If you knew you were going to lose someone very close to you, I know you would spend what time was left telling them everything you felt. I wish I would had that time. But the thing is, I had that time, I just didn't know it. I didn't know that October 5th, 2005 was going to be the worst day of my life. If I could just have one more minute I'd give anything for it. One minute doesn't seem very long, but it's enough time for me to say "I Love You" *************************************** I remember going into my freshman year how excited I was for high school. Especially sports. No more middle school games, it was the big stuff. I wish there could have been at least one varsity basketball where he could have sat in the stands and watched me play. And after the game I would have been able to hear those classic words from him, "Did you hear me cheering for you?" He is here spiritually though. There are so many crazy little things that make me believe that. I've told some people this story... One night I was driving home from school while talking to someone on the phone (Even though I knew my parents don't want me talking on the phone while driving). I was listening to 98.1 when "Live Like You Were Dyin" came on the radio. As much as I love the song, it's hard for me to listen to it. So, I immediately changed the station to 102.9.... as I heard the Lyrics "Shut up and drive" being sang. All I could do was smile. Things like that show how is looking over me. ************************************** Feb. 4th--- I really wish you were here right now. I need you. I want you to be here at our games.... We are doing so well. I can just picture how excited you would be at our games. Sometimes it really seems like things are getting easier, but then I see things that just make me sink back down. I cant imagine how things would be if you were still here. Losing you changed everything for, it has shaped the type of person I am. Things are so different. But things are always going to change as time goes on. Everyday I look at my wristband and think of you... every game my wrist band is around my water bottle... that way if im tired or feeling down, ill have to do is think of you to help give me strength. Please help give us the strength to play to the best of our abilities as districts start. We wanna go to state! I play for you... ************************************** Our English class was assigned a paper. It had to be on your life changing event. Of course, I knew mine instantly. This was my paper..... Losing Something Irreplaceable By Carly Martin Anyone who has a sibling has a special bond with them whether they want to admit it or not. You wake up and you see them as you go to breakfast, as you go to bed, and they are always around. Siblings see the mistakes you make as you grow up together, the things you learn, the places you go, and so much more. Siblings affect your life more than you may realize. And the worst part of all of this is... most people don't realize this unless they are gone. When I was a fourteen, I learned the impact that a sibling has on your life. My brother, Chase, was born with a heart condition. He had two open heart surgeries and three closed. He took about seven medications every day. He had heart check-ups twice every year to see how he was doing. In 2005, when we went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, they told us we only had to come once a year from now on. We were really happy with that report. Chase's condition wasn't getting any better, but it wasn't getting any worse either. He was holding his own. October came and so did our annual church supper. We hosted it every year for mostly elderly families. Our church members all helped to make it a successful event. Even us younger kids were able to help out. The supper was pretty much over; everyone was cleaning up. Kim and Spencer (our cousin's), as well as Chase and I, all had homework that we needed to go home to work on since it was a school night. Spencer, Kim, and I all went out to Spencer's truck to get ready to leave. We were waiting for Chase to come and join us. We finally saw him; he was running toward us in the rain while carrying his football. All of a sudden, he fell. At first, I thought he had just slipped on the wet grass from the rain. Either way, I got out of the truck and raced over to him to see if he was okay. I looked at him and said, "Chase are you okay?" He couldn't respond and I could tell by the look in his eyes that something was wrong. I raced to the church screaming and yelling for help. I found my dad and he ran out, along with many other people. Everything was happening so fast, but it all seemed so slow. My aunt and dad were giving Chase CPR while waiting for the ambulances and LifeGuard helicopter to arrive. The rain was still coming down the whole time. I was lost; I didn't know what to do. I prayed as I watched all that was happening. The helicopter finally made it to the church and soon MY brother was off to the Emergency Room at the hospital. My dad drove, while my mom and I rode in the ambulance. We waited for a little while once we got the ER. My dad, mom, and I sat in a room, waiting for a report. The doctor finally came in and said, "I'm sorry, but he didn't make it. We worked for forty minutes. His heart just couldn't hold the beat. We did everything we could." Just like that, my life was forever changed. All the T.V. programs like ER and many others had become my reality. I thought T.V. was the only place I would hear and see doctors telling a family those words. There are things I will never forget; the room they told us in---room 11, the room he was in--room 4, the time it happened-- 10:10 PM. I have so many things locked into my memory. We went into the room where he lay upon a table, covered by a sheet. Again, a horrible thing had happened that I always saw on T.V., not in my life. I stood there in shock and in tears with my family. I will never forget what my grandpa said when he saw him, "It should have been me." It was getting late and we were still in the ER, all in shock. Calls were being made and tears were being spread. I was sitting in the hall with Kim, cold from the rain and shaking in fear. But what was I scared of? To this day I'm not sure. Maybe I was scared for my family, my parents, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, or was I just scared of the truth? I was stuck in a moment. My life was going in a good direction and all of a sudden I was put in a whole new place, with no idea where to go. We finally went home and tried to sleep. When I woke up the next morning everything seemed normal. Normal, until I walked passed Chase's room on my way to the living room. Chase wasn't in his bed and I remembered what was really happening. It wasn't just a bad dream. I went to my room and got out a notebook. I started writing down everything about Chase. I think I was afraid I was going to forget everything about him. I then started listening to my MP3 player. As I listened to "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw, I knew it would be a perfect song to play at his funeral. He loved country music and Chase really did "live like he was dying." Family came over throughout the day to help make pictures boards. We all sat in tears, trying to help each other, even though nothing was going to be able to take our pain away. I even went to school that afternoon to see everyone. I wanted to make sure everyone was okay. I just needed to see my friends. The night after it happened there were tons of people at our house. Many of my friends came over and we all just sat and cried together. Eventually they had to go home though. I spent that night mostly with family members. My little second cousins didn't understand what was happening, but I tried to explain it to them the best I could. I sat at the computer and told them I would type letters to Chase for them if they told me what they wanted to say. I also typed a letter that night as well---one to Chase. This is the letter my uncle read at Chase's funeral. "chase I love you, I'm so so sorry for all the times we fought...i, love you so much and you were the best brother in the world to me! u couldn't be replaced, your beatin me up as we grew up made me tough i just wanna thank you for that....i dont know what to do i cant stop thinking bout u,...the tears wont stop....everyone at school is a wreck they decorated your locker and wrote u poems and colored u pictures cuz they love you so much...mom and dad are so sad too..this is the first time ive seen dad cry in a long time,,,your in a better place now..you can run without getting tired ..u can prbly run faster than me now...i want you to know that they did everything they could to bring you back but God reached out and took you to where youll be in no pain/ say hi to everyone for me up there and ill say hi to everyone down here for u...this is so hard Chase....i dont know what to do ...i cant tell you how many tears ive shed for you ..prbly almost enough to fill a ocean but and when we settle in to this that ocean will be filled with the best memories i could ever have thank you for every ball game you went to i cant wait till you can watch me play a game up in heaven....i play for you buddy..i play for u...your my inspiration..... i dont wanna be a only child i want you here beside me but instead i have you in a closer place.... my heart.. I love u........I'll never forget you ...please don't forget me...thank you for teachin us all to "live like we were dyin" were gonna try to get wristbands made for you that say that and were gonna give them to everyone in school and everything....I cant say it a million times I LOVE YOU----your sister, carly don't beat to many people in basketball, remember, man-to-man defense is the best. Only go into a zone if you are ahead by a LOT, love, carly" The visitation was really hard. I think when people came to the visitation it really hit them. They realized that this was really happening. About eight hundred people came to say goodbye to Chase. I cried so much that day; handed out so many tissues to so many people, gave hugs to people, and just tried to be there for them while trying to take care of myself. By the end of the day, I had no more tears. I had literally cried all of them out. The funeral was held at the school. About six hundred people came-the gym was filled. It was the last time I got to see him before they closed his casket. I remember seeing so many people in the bleachers-so many of my closest friends sobbing. When "Live Like You Were Dyin" was playing, so many heads were down. The reality of what was happening just kept sinking in more and more. It has almost been two years since my brother passed away. My life has changed so much in that time. I grew up so much my freshman year. I look at things in a different way. I've learned to notice the little things and appreciate them all together as a whole. Always be thankful for what you have. Give more than you take. Let the people you love know how much you truly apprecaite them. Remember to remember. Reflect on the past and the times you spent with people that are important to you. Take a look at what you have done today to help make someone else's day better. After Chase passed away, I could have hated life and hiden from the world. Instead, I try to take what I have learned and embrace it. I try to live like I'm dying to honor him. *************************************** Keep us under your wings... Try to help us understand things. I'm tired of feeling empty, sometimes i feel like im filling in when i wish i could be the one to stand back and watch him do it instead. I know your watching over me tho, today ..especially i noticed... while i was doing my shooting drill for basketball -- i was frustrated with a lot of stuff and the radio that we had playin in the gym started to play "Live like you were dyin' " ---thats when i was reminded that basketball is the sport where i really want to succeed in for you. I also realized how much im keeping locked up, my eyes started to water as i heard the lyrics and i just started thinking about everything. ************************************** Dear Chase,--- Sometimes in life you think that things that happen to you are unfair. In this case, that's how I feel. But I guess the more that I think about it, the more I realize that is was only fair to you. You are healthy now and no longer in pain. That's all I could ever ask for. I miss you so much and sometimes I just can't look at the truth, so I hide myself from it and try to ignore it. But when the truth is put right in front of me, it hits me like a wall. I lose it. That's what happened on the year anniversary, I lost it. I didn't know what to do. I thought about you all day long. I think about you a lot the way it is. I sit here and wonder how I did cope with it last year? I was only 14, I had to witness my brother passing away. I had to hear those words that I thought I would only hear on t.v. programs " We did all we could to bring him back," and the you hear the one word that changed my whole life, "but". "But he didn't make it." Just minutes before that moment I was calling some of my closest friends and family telling them to start a prayer chain for you. And then I heard that, I was in disbelief, I didn't know what to do or where to go, all I knew is that every inch of my body didn't want to believe it. I started to cry uncontrollably, I was scared, but scared of what? Looking back I guess I don't really know what I was scared of, it was probably the truth. All the E.R. shows and Grey's Anatomy shows were becoming my reality. The next thing you know is I'm in the room, looking at my brother, lying there on the table...... It's something that I wish no mother, or father, or sibling, or anyone would ever have to see. But I saw it, and ill never forget it. It's the worst feeling the in the world, it's the biggest thing that has ever happened in my life. Its like your whole life's plan has been put on hold, you don't want to take another step. You don't know which direction to go...you feel hopeless, confused, sad, angry, and emotional on so many levels. Life is an amazing gift that should never be taken for granted. I am forever changed from this whole experience. I've realized so much and have grown up a lot. It makes you think about making a difference in the world, so why not start now? Everyone has their own special qualities that should be shared with everyone around them. You shared yours and it has affected so many people in a positive outcome. Maybe you need to find what that special thing is within you, or maybe is just who you are. Chase, you were who you were, you pushed yourself to go past what you could do. Makes me think that all you need to do is use who you are and what you have as much as you can and to your best ability. Like I said, life is a gift. And when you explore that gift and let what's inside be revealed, your qualities are visible, everything that makes you who you are is revealed to the world. You become the control of yourself. God will guide you and try to help you when your in need. And when your time is up here on earth, your gift is put back in its "box." But before that day comes, I hope everyone chooses to use all the contents of the gift in the most beneficial way. I believe you used all your contents. you made us laugh, smile, and cry. You showed us how prayer changes things, and how giving in to your weaknesses is not the answer. You push your weakness to make it stronger. I love you so much and think about you everyday, thank you for everything you've taught me. Merry Christmas Chase. Love, your sister, Carly **************************************** As we all know the anniversary is coming up, so i thought id make a note with some things about chase in it. You may have already heard or seen these but yea.... HIS AIM away message:HEY sup this chase not here right now so if u wld please leave a message i will respond back when i am back...Goooooooooooooooooooo SPRINGVILLE!!! Iowa State 3/1 Go Iowa State!!! Next game baylor at jack trice.. Go springville beat olin next friday nite!!! Orioles 0/5... *************************************** My letter that i wrote to him that was read at the funeral: chase I love you, I'm so so sorry for all the times we fought...i, love you so much and you were the best brother in the world to me! u couldn't be replaced, your beatin me up as we grew up made me tough i just wanna thank you for that....i dont know what to do i cant stop thinking bout u,...the tears wont stop....everyone at school is a wreck they decorated your locker and wrote u poems and colored u pictures cuz they love you so much...mom and dad are so sad too..this is the first time ive seen dad cry in a long time,,,your in a better place now..you can run without getting tired ..u can prbly run faster than me now...i want you to know that they did everything they could to bring you back but God reached out and took you to where youll be in no pain/ say hi to everyone for me up there and ill say hi to everyone down here for u...this is so hard Chase....i dont know what to do ...i cant tell you how many tears ive shed for you ..prbly almost enough to fill a ocean but and when we settle in to this that ocean will be filled with the best memories i could ever have thank you for every ball game you went to i cant wait till you can watch me play a game up in heaven....i play for you buddy..i play for u...your my inspiration..... i dont wanna be a only child i want you here beside me but instead i have you in a closer place.... my heart.. I love u........I'll never forget you ...please don't forget me...thank you for teachin us all to "liv like we were dyin" were gonna try to get wristbands made for you that say that and were gonna give them to everyone in school and everything....I cant say it a million times I LOVE YOU----your sister, carly ************************************* don't beat to many people in basketball, remember, man-to-man defense is the best. Only go into a zone if you are ahead by a LOT, love, carly A poem i wrote: Chase's Life Born with a heart in a world of trouble, Doctors working to fix it on the double. Doing tests deciding how to operate, Before it's too late. Sitting in a waiting room in worry, Hoping he could be healthy in a hurry. Trembling as the doctors come near, Going over and over what you hope to hear. Taking a deep breath of relief, Not having to worry and be in grief. Time goes on and things still aren't right, More surgeries are now in sight. Traveling on the plane again, Wondering if everything will go ok, and when, This wasn't the last plane ride there, Too many hours spent looking out in the air, Things finally are as good as they can be, Finally seeing him happy, Living a pretty normal childhood, Hoping things will always stay good, Going to pig shows, Combining the living-room floor in rows, Playing in the sandbox with his best friend, Having so much fun like there is no end, Working hard in school, And then in the summer swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool, Helping dad on the farm, Making sure not to lift over forty pounds with his arm, Mom helping him with homework for hours of the night, Making him become very bright, Talking online, Yelling at him telling he's using up my time, Going to Minnesota for more tests, Praying for things to come out best, Leaving knowing we don't have to come back for half a year, Erasing some of the worry and fear, Going to church almost every Sunday, Learning that God is the way, Living life as if tomorrow is the last day, Celebrating his birthday every 20th of May, Going to every basketball game, Complaining if a call was lame, Sitting through softball games in the summer sun, Celebrating a win and having fun, Getting his first truck, Watching him drive hoping he will have good luck, Summer came and left. Helping dad in the field, Carrying corn with a good yield, Going to the church supper like always, Walking through the hallways, Eating the best meal ever, He could have eaten that forever, Spending his last moments with his best friend, Who was with him in the end, He really went home that night, To the place where everything is right, No more problems with his heart, He got a brand new start, It rained, And we cried like we never had before, While he was in heaven we all remained, He went through the door, He's with god now, Watching over everyone he ever loved, We make ask ourselves why and how?, But all we need to know is he is above, He loves you. He lived like he was dyin', ~While we were cryin'~ Someday I will see you again, But until then, I will always wonder when. ~~Thank you Chase, you're the best brother in the world~~~ Chase Andrew Martin May 20th, 1988-October 5th, 2005 **************************** Another poem: wakin up........the day after the worst night in your entire life............ its like nothin you will ever experience..and if you do i just want you to kno that im always here for you and love you you'll wake up hopin it was all just a bad dream... or a very cruel scheme.... but its far from what u want it to be.... its what i call the worst reality.... u wake up and go to your parents in tears.... hopin they will help erase your fears..... but they sit there crying as hopeless as you.... not knowing what to do..... u hate seeing the sadness in every eye..... even though you know they see the same when you cry..... that day i couldnt remeber the last time i saw my dad with tears running down his face... i thought id never see him cry again....but this was a different case.... my mom sittin on the couch in disbelief...... as we all suffer in grief.... having to plan ceremonies the day after.... when you rather be back in the good days of laughter... you still sit tears seeming as if they will never stop.... feeling as if you could just drop...... sorting through millions of pictures.... as you try to think of good scriptures.... preparing yourself for the last goodbyes.... as i remember the last look i saw in his eyes.... i love you chase.... and when i ran over to you to see if you were ok, i sure hope you saw my face.... it was our last goodbye on earth.... i cant even desrcribe how much you are worth... id give anything to have you right hear.... but in my heart...u are very near................ by-carly martin Dedicated to my brother -Chase Andrew Martin- 5/20/88-10/5/05 ************************************** last thing: "every minute of every game i'm going to do it all for you- every drop of sweat, every bruise, and every mistake- i will pick myself back up and push myself like there is no limit- you are the one who gives me all the desire to dedicate it all to you- your in my heart and i'm going to keep you safe there- and you will watch my ups and downs in the best seats out there- and when i feel like i can't hold on much longer- i'll keep on moving and say to myself...i've got nothing to lose but all the more to gain- and when I myself make my touchdown into heaven, I'll smile knowing that i did it all for you" ************************************** ADDED OCT. 5th. 2006 A year ago today, I woke up and got ready for school. A year ago today, I heard Chase fighting with Mom and Dad bout driving his truck to school. A year ago today, I walked through the halls seeing my brother. A year ago today, I got dressed for our Church Supper. A year ago today, Chase got dressed up and told me how if he could play basketball, he would wear those clothes on game days. A year ago today, we helped at the Church Supper. A year ago today, Chase laughed with his cousins. A year ago today, we ate a very good meal. A year ago today, we played a little football. A year ago today, we decided to go home to do our homework. A year ago today, we waited for Chase as he ran out to meet us in the truck. A year ago today, I ran over to my brother to see what was wrong when he fell. A year ago today, my brother passed away. ************************************ "IT'S THE DASH BETWEEN THE DATES THAT COUNTS" - will your dash be filled the way you want it to be?