The last time Tobey and I spoke was October 30th, 2019. I had (now, painfully ironic) sent him a Facebook message asking if he was still alive. Joking, but also slightly concerned. It had been months since we last connected and I know he avoided using a phone or social media.
He had told me that he just finished a yoga teacher training in India, had left New Life, and the world was his. Happy Days, he said.
I found out this morning that he was in Southern Thailand. I had wondered where he was in the world. I had thought many times about reaching out to him again to check on him. I was curious how COVID was affecting him. To see if he was okay and if he had gone back to Australia.
But I didn’t. We had dated for a little while and ended up agreeing that it was better that we went our separate ways. I went back to the U.S. to start a new life and he was happy being a free spirit in Southeast Asia.
Before we parted ways in Thailand, I bought two smokey quartz crystals. I gifted one to him and kept one for myself. I still have mine and keep it on my windowsill. It’s been there since I left Thailand.
Tobey knew so many people. And he had beautiful connections with all different types of people. I was lucky to share a connection with him. And I thought that maybe our connection was insignificant because he was loved by so many.
But he made a big impact on my life and who I am today. He always made me feel safe enough where I could speak my feelings and be vulnerable. In fact, I remember sharing bits and pieces of my story and saying wow I never told anyone that.
I was lucky enough to know his heart. I loved hearing about the stories of his tattoos. His son. That time he spent way too much money in Hong Kong. His car accident. His childhood, how his family home was always filled with people, energy, and voices. The uncomfortable moments of his healing and recovery. How his lucky number was 3. How he fake married a girl he just met on the beach.
Tobey was a beautiful person. And I am not sure if he knew how amazing he was. Or how much people loved and looked up to him. Leaders always have to be strong and I think he felt that burden sometimes.
My favorite part about him was his teeth actually. They were so wild and out of control in his mouth. So imperfect and jagged. I loved the recklessness of them and how sincere they were when they popped out when he smiled.
Tobey was wild and free and I am happy that he was able to live the life he did. Filled with travel, adventure, connection, and community.
I wish that I had listened to my impulse to send him a photo of the smoky quartz, ask him if he still had the other one, and wish him well with words instead of keeping it all inside. It shocks me that I will never have the chance to talk to him again. That all we have left of him now are our memories.
I send my gratitude to his spirit for holding my heart so softly, for bringing joy and adventure into my life, for showing me around Chiang Rai on the back of his bike, for holding my hand in the market, for teaching me what a healthy relationship is, for his smile, for his honesty, for his strength. Thank you. I love you. And I am sorry for all the difficult moments you had to endure in this life. We will forever miss you.
May Tobey Martin rest in peace.