Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reed Mark Anderson

This past week my cousin Reed, who is one of my best friends, passed away after dealing with major health issues. The obituary in the paper was fantastic and I really can't add much to it, but I couldn't help but jot down a few of my own personal reflections of Reed.

Reed was one of my best friends. We didn't see each other all the time, but whenever we did it was as if there had been no lull in the conversation from the last time. I'm not the most social and conversational person in the world and it's not easy for me to talk to people, and there aren't a whole lot of people that I'm comfortable just sitting down with and chatting, but I could always talk to Reed. It didn't matter the situation or the setting, I could sit down with him and talk for hours. We would talk about anything and everything. Sometimes we'd sit and talk about serious issues that we were facing in our lives, sometimes we'd discuss more frivolous things like sports and girls, and sometimes we'd just sit without saying a word and laugh as we watched our little cousins running around hurting themselves and each other. One particularly vivid memory I have of Reed occurred when I'd only been home from my mission for about a week. We were sitting out in the street in Emery looking up at the millions of stars. He and I talked about my mission, about my concerns of being back in real society, about the problems he had been having in school, about the girls he liked, and, frankly, about everything we hadn't talked about for two years. It wasn't an earth-shattering conversation by any means, but it was so comforting for me to know that I had a true friend that I could talk to. Reed's ability to make people feel at ease and comfortable and loved--to feel like they had a true friend--was one of his character traits that I will always remember. There wasn't a person who didn't consider him a true friend and, despite his incessant teasing and joking, everyone knew that Reed loved them and that they could count on him in a time of need.

As I have had opportunity to witness some of the struggles Reed has gone through with his health, I've come to really look up to and admire Reed for his strength and can-do-it attitude. While I was on my mission, Uncle Mark sent me an excerpt of an essay Reed had written about an experience where he passed out during the Pre-National Regional Footlocker Race. Upon waking up, Reed pushed the medics out of the way to finish the race. In his words, "I didn't come this far to quit; I came to finish the race." That story hit me really hard. After receiving that letter there were numerous times on my mission when it seemed like nothing was going right, but I would remember that Reed didn't give up on that race so I could keep plugging along as well. Even now, when life gets difficult and I hit the proverbial wall that seems to prevent my progression in the varied facets of my life, I think of Reed and that race. That race really represents the attitude with which Reed faced life and the myriad challenges therein. Remembering it has provided me with the lift and inspiration I need to keep going despite my struggles.

Reed was a God-send to many people in this world, and I consider myself lucky to have been one close to him. The world is a much better place for having been graced with his presence. If everyone would strive to love and persevere with the intensity of Reed, the world would be a much brighter and hopeful place. I know that I would do well to better live up to the example he has left.


  1. amen. I really enjoyed your memories. I think a lot of why I feel like he was my brother was because you two were so close. He was/is a good dude.