On Now
Coming Up

Nate Jackson's Journal: A Time to Grieve

Posted Jan 11, 2007

"This has been the most difficult thing I have ever written," muses Nate Jackson as he writes about the loss of his teammate and friend, cornerback Darrent Williams.


EDITOR'S NOTE: It is a gross understatement to say that the Broncos' last 11 days have been emotional ones. The team's writer-in-residence, tight end Nate Jackson, shares his deeply personal thoughts on the passing of Darrent Williams:

I sat down at the end of last week and tried to write about this situation.

I sat and stared at a blank computer screen and cried. My heart was racing but my fingers were still. When something like this happens, there is little that can be said that truly grasps the depths of despair that we feel. People called me and wanted to talk about it, but I had nothing to say. I still have a hard time trying to explain how I feel, but I must try.

In the journal I wrote a few weeks ago following our win against Cincinnati, I talked about the little things in life that we take for granted. I was referring to the missed extra point at the end of that game. After Darrent's death, this thought has taken on a new meaning.

Our lives have a tendency to become very routine. These routines often make us oblivious to the magic and the beauty that we come across every day. Every day that I woke up and went to work, I walked into a miracle and didn't know it. I said good morning to a smiling angel. I laughed but I didn't acknowledge the divinity of its source. I assumed that all of these men that I silently leaned on every day for strength would always be there.

That seems to me to be our greatest weakness as human beings. We don't understand how truly special we all are. Our time on this earth is all too short, and although the fear of the unknown sometimes seems like too much to bear, it is this unknown that makes our lives so special, and it is their fragile nature that makes them so precious.

I spent all day every day with D-Will and 60 other brothers of mine. Darrent was a little man by industry standards, but the fire in his heart burned hot and fast every day. He moved quickly and deliberately, and he smiled so much because he felt each lightning bolt stride explode inside of him with a passion that few could understand.

This man oozed the bounce and the spirit that inspires the sun to rise. His wide-eyed enthusiasm for life on and off the field was very rare in this world of routines. That is why this hurts so much. Everyone who knew him knew what he was. Language limits us from describing him correctly, but D-Will was an angel.

The world weeps. Things seem pointless. Everything hurts, but the sun still rises, inspired still by the spirit and the soul of the man we cry for. The smell of the grass, a mohawk, a smiling child. He has flown away from here, despite our tears, to where he truly belongs. His body, his smile, his stride, could no longer hold his vibrant life. His soul is too big for our earthly understanding. We must accept that and use this precious gift to live our lives with the same passion, the same youthful wisdom, and the same courage that he did. We will need it on our journey.

This has been the most difficult thing I have ever written. Not only because it is so emotional, but because the depths and layers of these emotions are so very hard to articulate. I have sat in this chair for days trying desperately to put together the words that would somehow do this man justice. I now realize I can not do this. It will stay inside me. I close my eyes and I see him running, laughing, living. If ever anyone truly lived, it was D-Will. He lived his short life. All we can ask of ourselves in this confusing time is to be sure we live it too.

D-Will, you are loved and missed by everyone you ever met. Rest in peace, my friend.