Linger not on the way
Stray not from your aim
Always strive
Always move
Always advance.
-A quote from Saint Augustine

It wasn't that this shouldn't have happened. More accurately, it couldn't have happened. Evan having the time of his life, and my father and I were also thrilled to be there. It wasn't the time or place for anything bad to happen. And even when it did happen, I would not give up hope, never. I knew things might be different, but Evan would make it through. And then we arrived at Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, and the surgeon informed us that he had been injured very seriously, in fact, fatally.

After the initial shock, I had many regrets. Although I don't think it's very typical of normal brothers, I wished I had hugged and kissed him, told him I loved him. I wished I had been kinder, more amiable and generous. I wished I had told him what a talented ray of light he was.

But then something else hit me, and I can't really decide whether it hurts more or soothes some of the other pain. I started to see Evan in everything around me. Little things here and there, things we would have enjoyed together. Things to laugh at, things that would have made us think, things we would have played with. Despite the fact that we had even tried to avoid each other at times, favoring the company of our classmates to one another, we still shared more than I could ever hope to share with any other friend. He wasn't one of my best friends; he was the best friend. And not only that but he was the best of us.

I feel confident in saying he is the best because I believe he was - and did even before this tragedy, but never would have said so. He had all the qualities parents want their kids to learn in their adolescence, except he had them developed well beyond his years.

One of the things that people keep mentioning about him is his determination, his work ethic, his fortitude. He was the hardest worker I have ever known, in all things he did. Granted, he was reluctant to get involved in some things, but that is because he would never do anything half way. And this resolve inspired others to do their best as well. It showed in his schoolwork, in his guitar playing, when he helped at home, but most of all in his running. Distance running is a sport that is less than 1% talent. You are lucky if you get out of it nearly what you put into it. And Evan put everything he had into it. He was nervous, at first, because he was criticized for making the workouts that much harder on everyone else. But he didn't want to waste his time if he wasn't going to do the job right, and so he actually ended up pulling some others with him as he got better. And then, towards the end of the season, it wasn't just the junior varsity he was pushing on. He had already broken five minutes in the mile, something it took me until the end of my junior year to do. And he and I were in a tug of war for who would be the faster two-miler. I knew in the long run it would be Evan, but I needed to hold my ground at least until I got down to college. So when he started running some varsity workouts at the end of the year, I often had to run them with every bit of strength to save myself from locker-room ridicule. But Evan still holds the fastest two-mile time for the Clark family.

And of course he had a life outside of running. Evan would often keep me up at night strumming his guitar, because the wee hours were the only time he had left to play, after he had run cross-country or track practice and finished his homework (which he missed a lot of good TV to make sure it was done right even though I assured him his teacher wouldn't check it). And he has already completed all his service hours for his sophomore year.

But to think of him as just a hard worker misses many of the facets of his life. Of the people I have known who might try to compare to him in their work ethic, he is by far the most compassionate and philanthropic of them all. He cared about everyone and everything and lacked the cynicism that is typical of guys his age. He not only took care of his little sister but also was one of the kids' favorite helpers at the special education camps this summer. He was truly at harmony with the nature around him, and exhibited an uncommon grace when he was dealt a bad hand. He would not allow himself to be manipulated, but he was not vindictive either. All he cared was that he wanted to be himself.

In this way he was innocent. To most people he may have even seemed na´ve, but for people whom he confided in he was assuredly otherwise. One thing my father mentioned to me was a time when Evan had two friends over. Dad wasn't quite sure how he planned for it to work or what they were going to do, because the two kids were complete opposites. They had different friends, liked different things and were very different people. If it hadn't been for Evan, they probably never would have shared a word between one another. But Evan would never allow exclusivity, and so there they were, and he just expected it to work, and it did. The three of them had a fine day together. Evan had no regard from what kiosk someone may have originated, because he was a bridge on his own, there to support anyone who cared to be in his presence.

And there are so many other qualities, big and small, but if we turned every tree we saw in Oregon into paper we wouldn't be able to take the first steps in doing him justice. But what we can do to help honor his memory is live the way he did, working hard, being compassionate, living a moral life, and remembering him for what he was.

For what seemed like an eternity, although it was only a couple of days, when I thought of Evan all I could picture was the scene of the accident. I found it useless to try and find a reason for this accident - it would be an insult to think that anything could ever make up for the loss the world has suffered. Evan was robbed of the wonderful life that lay ahead, and humankind was robbed of the joy he would have brought. But one of the most important things is to remember all the things I mentioned and the other infinite good qualities that you may know better than I, rather than remember the one bad thing that had to happen in the wrong way at the wrong time. Disassociate the sadness and rather remember the thoughtful kid who would welcome anyone to come over even at the worst times, the enthusiastic freshman that placed well in his races among juniors and seniors, the quirky boy who would interrupt the most heated of debates to ask you if you liked the Doors, the clever scholar who would help you with your homework because you would never stay up until two in the morning to get it done. Evan was not a tragedy. He was the brightest star anyone could ever wish for, and he will continue to shine upon us with more beauty and brilliance than we will ever know.

-Brendan Clark
August 21, 2001