FTX 10 – Portland, Oregon Speech (FTX #23) ~ September 2nd, 2018

FTX 10 – Portland, Oregon Speech: Remember The Love

September 2nd, 2018

It’s all too short.

I’ve spent a good deal of mine watching others. It’s how I learn about myself.
From what I can see many of us live our lives as if we are immortal.
We plunge headlong forward without much reflection on our actions and how they will affect ourselves let alone others.

But once the inevitable happens: sickness, an accident, time – I see us surprised at how fragile we truly are.

I have thought about this fragility ever since I was young boy.
On drives with my parents I would put my hand on the car seat when someone got out and reflect on how quickly their body heat would dissipate.
How fast all trace of them was gone.

But no matter how much awareness I’ve tried to accrue, I too am surprised when a loved one leaves me.


I met Regina in 2003.
A ball of endless energy and love she planted herself fully into my life and quickly became #10 in my French Toast and Hugs Gang.

For the fourteen years I knew her never once did I imagine a world without her in it.

I couldn’t imagine it.
For how could someone so bright and vibrant diminish?

Regina passed away suddenly on November 25th of last year from a massive stroke.
It was three days before her 47th birthday.

No my friends, we are not immortal.

At least not in the way we think.

I have spent a lot of wasted time worrying on things that don’t really matter only to suddenly lose what matters most – someone I love.

When they are gone I think back on their final moments, their saddest moments, because they are the freshest in my mind.
When they are gone I think of what I’ve lost and of what will never be again.
But I realize now remembering those things is just more wasted time.

I tell you now we have to remember the love.

Those moments you shared with them that make you glow with life.
Those memories where they are alive again.
For in those memories they are and always will be what we the living mistakenly think we are – immortal.


Regina stood with me in 2003 when FTX was in its infancy and could have easily failed.
She stood by my side and strengthened me during that first week of our gang as we handed out French Toast and Hugs every day at Burning Man.
I dedicate this FTX to her.
Remember the love.

In 2012, my friend Georgie’s mom Frances worked a 60 hour week, and then traveled 30 hours on 3 planes to the remote desert of Namibia, Africa to hand deliver her darling daughter a suitcase stuffed with her favorite foods: fruit cake, macaroons, and biscuits.
Frances passed away suddenly late last year.
We dedicate this FTX to her.
Remember the love.

When Henry, FTX #38, was in the summer of his 10th grade he went away from home to work in a summer stock theatre. Only one problem: he completely forgot the pot plants he had recently planted in his mom’s backyard! A few weeks passed and he got a call from his mom, Barbara. Turns out the Montclair police department showed up to the house and seeing as she was the only responsible party there handcuffed and booked her. As Henry wrote me, “She took the wrap for me man!”
Barbara passed away on August 7th at the age of 93.
We dedicate this FTX to her.
Remember the love.

When I asked my friend Jorge to share a single memory of love of his father, George, he found it impossible to do.
His father, who always had time to play hide and seek with his son when he came home from work.
His father, who always took his family into the mountains every year to get a Christmas tree and to play in the snow.
His father, whose first response when his son came to him with trouble was always “How can I help?”
This past spring I watched my dear friend Jorge as he fought for hope as his father fought for his life.
Jorge wrote me that his father’s legacy is in the people that knew and loved him.
George passed away on May 21st surrounded by them.
We dedicate this FTX to him.
Remember the love.

Rachel, FTX #77, lost two of the loves of her life this year.
Her Grandma Dot, who not only gave her sweets when her dad wasn’t looking but also a cheeky little wink saying she knew she wasn’t supposed to.

From birth Rachel lived next door to her godmother Aunty Liz. Liz turned her own house into a second home for Rachel, the love they shared was so great one home could not contain it.
We dedicate this FTX to them.
Remember the love.

In 2016, the last thing Regina ever gave me was a note asking me to do a French Toast and Hugs in her home city of Portland.
(Hold up note and pause)
Here we are Regina.
We dedicate this FTX to her.
Remember the love.

She’s standing here right now. They’re all standing here right now. Immortal.

A few hours from now this FTX will have passed.
If you stood on this very spot one week from today there would be no trace of us.
But maybe one day, when you need it, you will think on what happens here today and be strengthened by it.

Remember the love.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to FTX 10 – Portland, Oregon.

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