You and I began this all, she was not just mine first, but ours. Some years the anniversary of your passing are a little more difficult than others, and this is one of them I found as I had a meltdown shortly after midnight. Thank you to my dear friends for being there for me. It means a lot. Hugs are something I avoided for years, but from people you know care about you, they really do matter.

How the hell has it been 15 years already since we last saw your face? That fucking smirk you always had with just mischief written all over it! We lost so much that day. Most of all for me was the hope that someday you and Ava would become close, as you were just in the beginning stages of doing so. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. You didn’t want to be a father at 19, I understood that. But I always hoped things would change as you got older. Except you didn’t get much older… I know you never wanted to, and that gives me some comfort. You are forever beautiful and young, you never had to experience a lot of bullshit that comes with age, and responsibilities. But I’m so sad for all

you’ve missed, all Ava has missed.

You’re going to be a grandfather very soon. I can only imagine how you would have handled that news as I’m still not thrilled about being a grandmother. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for Ava and to meet princess Cali, but grandma?! Ugh, lol! One of us got old… I think you would be thinking the same thing. Or you’re laughing your ass of at me from wherever you may be.

I saw you trying to get to know Ava, and making an effort to the best of your ability in the months before you died. That bracelet you made her was so special. You were so talented. A lot of people remember you for your skateboarding talent, but I loved your art the most. You were so creative. I think you would have become very close with Ava if you had that chance. She’s so much like you. Really she’s a complete mix of us both in every way. I wonder sometimes if things would have been different with her if you were around. We’ll never know.

I remember every second of the day I heard you were gone. The phone call I got while I was in the shower from your sister and the urgency in her voice to come right now, there’s been an emergency. I didn’t even rinse the soap out of my hair, just grabbed the kids and flew over. I remember Ava happily chattering away in the car, and just knowing someone was gone and her heart was about to be broken, but I had no idea it was you.

I saw your dad as soon as I pulled up. Your sister had called. Your brother in law answered the door. That only left one other person in my mind until I heard your mother wailing. It still hadn’t clicked it was you. It wasn’t fathomable to me. Until I walked upstairs to hear the news that our lives would never be the same.

I was instructed to leave the kids downstairs with your brother in law before going up. Ava later told me she and her cousin thought the adults were planning a party. That just cuts like a knife whenever I think of it. The innocence that was about to be stolen from them.

Only you know exactly what happened that night. All we know is your body was found in a snowbank, curled up like a baby, no shirt or shoes on you, those and other personal items had been removed from your body, and that what ultimately caused you to die was hypothermia. It was so cold that night! Whenever it’s that cold I think of you. I don’t think you felt any pain, just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. That helps a little I suppose.

The speculation is that the “friends” you were partying with that night thought you overdosed. You had Xanax and a lot of alcohol in your system which probably slowed your heart perhaps down to an undetectable level to get a pulse. The way your body was found with your shirt and shoes placed next to you made it clear you hadn’t put them there, you were in no condition to have carefully placed those things. This was a common occurrence at that time, if people thought someone had OD’d, they just wanted the body out of their home so they wouldn’t have consequences. What they maybe didn’t think of in that moment was that guilt they would feel possibly forever. It eats away at you slowly and painfully. One of the people you were with committed suicide on Valentine’s Day several years later. I’m sad for her, I have no anger left in me for those people. I wonder if you have forgiven them as well? I feel like you have.

I wish I knew just how much pain you were in. I’m sorry you didn’t get the help you needed. I’m sorry you missed so much of Ava’s life. We really would have wanted you here now to meet Cali. It makes me laugh a little because that’s where you had run to when I was giving birth to Ava because you couldn’t handle the situation. I know you loved it there, as does your daughter, so it’s still the perfect name. Just a little ironic in a way.

I just want you to know that you haven’t been forgotten even though it’s been all these years. The older Ava gets the more she misses you. I hope you have the peace you deserved from your demons. I wish you could have gotten that in life, but you fucking knew how to live to the fullest! There’s so much more I feel like I want to say, but I just don’t have the words to even articulate them.

The brightest stars burn out the fastest. You really were a star. Rest In Peace Ricky.

Please take a minute to watch this amazingly talented man in action with the link below.

Ricky Tribute