Andrew Harper, rest in peace my friend.

I opened my eyes and looked into complete darkness. I was disoriented coming out of my deep slumber. I found the alarm that awoke me and turned it off. I listened through the open window to a perfect silence and felt the cool dry air softly blow over me. As I begin to gain consciousness I realize I am in a hunting camp, I am in Africa. I turn on my phone and it uncharacteristically gets several messages all at once, many of them were cryptic with urgency implied. One other message was from my friend Charlie, it said that Andrew was no longer with us.

I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. I let one thought guide me in that moment; if Andrew were standing in front of me and put his hand on my shoulder, what would he say? Little did I know how many times I would need to ask myself this question in the time since that morning. I made a good cup of coffee and went out to my blind in the darkness. I watched an incredible sunrise over the veld as I felt the steady stream of tears fall through my beard and get soaked up by my facemask. I watched a majestic kudu bull walk across the horizon silhouetted in front of the sunrise. I realized that I would never have been in Africa to see this dawn had it not been for Andrew’s inspiration. I cried some more.

Andrew was my best friend. We called one another “brother” and meant it genuinely. We were big enough men to hug and say “I love you” when we parted ways. I’m grateful to know that he knew exactly what our relationship meant to me. There are volumes I could say and share about the man, but I will chose to keep them to myself and share them with only our mutual friends who are also mourning him.

Life is short. Kiss your spouse, hug your kids, book that hunt, and live boldly.