Aside from the death of my grandfather some years ago, I have been a very lucky man in the sense that I have never really lost anyone close to me… with one other exception. On July 20th, 2008, my best friend died. When I say “best friend,” I mean a guy who was my best friend for many years from high school into our young adult years. His name was Rich Hovde, and I will never forget him.
Years ago when Rich and I lived together as roommates, we had a situation one night where he came into our kitchen with what I thought I was an angry expression on his face. I asked him, “Are you pissed off about something?” and he said, “Why does everybody keep asking me that?” So I said, “Well you looked like you had a pissed off look on your face,” at which point he said, “This is my face! This is how my face always looks. I’m not pissed off.”
We had a laugh about it, and it became a running joke between us.
So, we were the best of friends for many years, and I’ve written about experiences I had with him in the past. I last saw Rich around Christmas in 1991. But due to careers and moving around the country, Rich and I lost contact with each other for quite some time.
Then, in July of 2008, I got a call from my sister. Her friends back in my hometown had relayed some bad news to her… ‘Richie’ as we affectionately had called him, was dead. He had taken a job painting cell phone towers, and had died in a fall on July 20th while free-climbing on a tower.
This is the story from the Minot Daily News.
PETERSBURG (AP) - Authorities are investigating the death of a man whose body was found at the base of a Nelson County television tower.
Nelson County authorities say the body of 38-year-old Darrel (Rich) Hovde was found about 6 p.m. Sunday, by WDAZ transmitter engineer Nate Millard at the base of the tower near Petersburg.
Authorities said Hovde worked for the All State Tower company of Bismarck.
Millard said he had seen Hovde working alone about 100 feet up. He said later in the day, he looked out a window and saw Hovde lying on his side. Millard said he went out and nudged Hovde but Hovde did not respond, so he called 9-1-1 and the sheriff’s department.
Hovde’s body has been sent to Bismarck for an autopsy.
I was extremely saddened to hear the news. I even wrote Rich a letter posthumously, and in the letter I said what I had always felt — that at some point in the future we would be able to reconnect and share some time as friends again. Unfortunately, that time would never come. I was unable to attend Rich’s funeral, but I sent flowers, and I thought about him a lot too. I went through my own grieving process, in isolation really, because the circle of friends we once had was fragmented and no longer a unit.
Months later, something strange happened. My mourning for my friend Rich had been easing for some time, so I was caught off-guard when I had a dream about him. More accurately, I think he came to me in a dream… to say goodbye. And he did it in a way that my good friend Rich would have done it.
In my dream, I was driving a radio station vehicle in a nighttime parade. We were driving the vehicle down the street and crowds were lined up along the curb. We were throwing candy and waving to the people when suddenly a face stood out in the crowd. It was Rich. I was happy to see him. I smiled and waved. He was wearing a baseball cap, and from under the bill of the cap I saw his face clearly. He didn’t say a word, and he had a scowl on his face. He looked pissed off.
I woke from my dream and opened my eyes. I immediately thought back to our running joke about the expression on his face. That’s just how your face looks, buddy. I got it. Message received. Rest in peace.
Have you ever had a friend or relative come to you in a dream after they passed away? Please leave your comments.