share your story

derrik touched many lives, use the form below to share your thoughts, memories, photos of derrik. Be sure to join derrik’s facebook group and share your memories there as well.

the students of Colby College share memories of their
extraordinary friend, derrik flahive – read on»



36 Responses to share your story

  1. Brennan says:

    yesterday i finished what was an amazing ride of high school football, and as i took off my white number 12 jersey i can only remember the days growing up and looking up to derrik. i remember watching him play football, and i remember the joy in his heart when he played lacrosse. during the holidays, or whenever the family was together, he always was willing to give some part of his time to play with his cousins. i remember that today when i spend time with my younger cousins, and that maybe i will have half the effect on them that he had on my brothers and me. your influence on me still continues, four years later. love you derrik

  2. Kevin f-f says:

    four years after his passing, and every day I recognize how my cousin is an essential part of who I am and who I hope to become. every day should be treated as an opportunity, and there is an experience to be had at every moment of OUR lives. derrik, time and again, showed us how to make something memorable out of the ordinary. Derrik loved to share his experiences with others, and I’m forever grateful that I was able to share so many with him. i HOPE WE CAN CONTINUE TO REMEMBER DERRIK BY LIVING THIS WAY, JUST AS HE AND HIS FAMILY HAS ALWAYS EMBRACED. mISS YOU CUZ

  3. Cindi says:

    Hey, brother of mine…I know far more of your darling son than I was able to alive.

    Bad timing…wrong locations…busy lives.

    But the Fortunes and fates put derrik’s sisters in places where we could care for each other while you went to gather your boy.

    I know how much you miss him. And love him. And gave him the best of yourself while he lived.

    That’s the onliest thing we truly have to offer. The best of us.

    You were lucky to have him. He was lucky to have you.

    Love you, brother

  4. Tessa says:

    derrik- since i have been at unc there is one thing that i always think back on and it was our conversations about people with disabilities. there are not a lot of people you can talk to about this kind of stuff which i have learned makes a special education major cool but hard at the same time. there are very few people that i can have conversations about this topic with like we did and that are passionate about it. the best part is we understand eachother. i love it at unc but i have to say i really miss our conversations. you are the main person i talk to about this topic. anyway just thinking of you and miss these conversions and your passion for people with disabilities.. love you and you always have a place in my heart!

  5. Rachel r says:


    I’m nearing the end of my senior thesis, I’m writing about activism at Colby and came across something I had to share with you. A group on campus did a series of interactive banners in the student center late into the fall of 2011. One of them said “I promise to…” and people wrote pledges on it. Here are a few things people wrote:

    “Remember Derrick
    Dream big, breathe deeply, love fully
    Discover what makes me come alive and go do it
    Take time to get to know each other
    Remember and cherish Derrick’s memory
    Respect everyone
    To be more like D-Rock
    To treat everyone with the respect they deserve… and to remember Derrick
    Remember derrick and act as he would, with love, happiness, and a smile
    I promise to not forget Derrick
    Be a better person”

    You affected so many of us and you will continue to help us live our lives more fully everyday. We miss you.

  6. Caitlin says:

    hey derrik! thinking about you today, and every day. I’m writing a paper on the importance of music education, and I can’t help but think about how music was such a big part of your life and your soul. i’m so happy that it was something that we could share. missing you so much.

  7. mark says:

    earlier this month I came across a bass guitar that Derek and I used to play. Once in a while, he would come over after school, and we would play music for hours, just jamming, laughing, and creating all sorts of new sounds. I always respected how humble Derek was with his drumming. he truly was an amazing musician. He never bragged about how talented he was, or how he could imitate any song you threw at him. He would just play, and anyone listening would immediately become aware of how impressive his skills were. after seeing this bass guitar, I started thinking about some of the great memories I have of him. He was so positive about every aspect of life. I never heard him complain, and I certainly never saw him give up on any task. I’ll never forget the last time I saw Derek. we were at a red rocks concert up in morrison, and I ran into him walking down the ramp entrance. I was so glad to see him, and we updated each other on what was new in our lives. Derek told me about his recent adventures as a raft guide, and I remember thinking how perfect that title was for him. He was so happy, and he told me “I’m living the dream man, I really am”. What an amazing guy. Miss you FLAVA flav

  8. tessa says:

    hey derrik. I just got to go visit at the parker assited living place today. I had so much fun and it made me think of you. i know that you were there. it made me think of how great you are with people and how you are gifted. I have been thinking of you a lot latley because of christmas. miss you and love you.

  9. diego guerrero says:

    te quiero amigo 🙂 espero te haya gustado la vibra de la canción que cantamos el otro día para ti 🙂

  10. Caitlin says:

    hi derrick! i’ve been thinking about you recently- i’m trying to figure out what i’m doing after i graduate. i’ve decided to take the road less traveled and do something different with my life. your love of adventure and your incredible spirit have inspired me. i know you’re up there helping me out 🙂

    miss you so much. sending so much love.

  11. Craig Phelps says:

    I met Derrik on several occasions over a number of years as I have long known his parents. One meeting several years ago stands out in my mind, simply because Derrick’s self-assuredness, even as a teenager took me by surprise. I had run into Roger and Katherine with Derrik just leaving Toast, a restaurant in Littleton, Colorado. One the way out, we chatted some about family, work, etc. with Derrick talking a bit about Kent Denver. On parting, Derrik reached out to shake my hand and I was met with a firm grip and a direct look in the eye and a very adult “nice to see you”. Derrik displayed none of the shyness some teens have around adults they don’t know that well. He was just natural. After reading on this website of Derrik’s exploits in foreign lands and his impact on other people, I can see, retrospectively, that all those admirable traits were in him even as a young man. Derrick, clearly the world has been made a better place by your presence.

  12. c says:

    I really only knew derrik for a short time, but the time i did spend with him was inspiring. for someone who was in my life for such a small amount of time, he left more of an impact on me than most people i have met. derrik taught me to be fearless. he taught me to be amazed by the littlest things in life. he taught me that life was amazing. so many times we hear “live life to the fullesT” and “life is too short”, but derrik actually embraced those. everywhere i go i tell stories of the guy with the huge smile and big heart, who forever changed my life. i hope that someday i have the passion and courage that derrik had. i hope someday to live the way he did. i hope someday that i can be an inspiration like he was. derrik made everyone around him happier just by being there. its taken awhile to try to get over his death and understand why things like this happen to such great people. whatever the reason, i know in my heart i will do everything to not let derriks life go unadmired. i promise to live as he showed me. i promise to never forget. i love you man.

  13. Sheila flahive says:

    One year ago was the best rafting trip or my life. you were such a great guide in a year with colorados highest rivers. we had such a great time and the last time i could wrap my arms around you and see that wonderful smile. we all miss you and love you with such passion. much love to you “D” man!

  14. Shannon flahive says:

    hi brother. had a dream last night that the family was on a hike, maybe somewhere in CO, i’m not actually sure. we got to a point on the trail where we had to option to go straight ahead on the packed dirt, or to go down a steep slope with a bunch of loose jagged rocks. fearful of the height and the unknown if we were to pursue the steep slope option, i turned to you and you told me to lead megan down the more dangerous route. I didn’t move for a second, but then somehow this feeling overcame me that i just had to do it. so i lead megan down this slope, it was as if we were hopping from rock to rock like gollum in LOrd of the rings [hard to imagine maybe but this is the best imagry]. we were weighless as we hopped and slid down the rocks. all the fear and hesitation i had melted away, it was a true adventure. you have instilled in me, and so many others, this motivation to try and make the more fearful decision, to challenge myself. i’m nothing like you, but i am trying to channel your strength in my own way every day in some respect. i miss you like fucking crazy.

  15. harry geldermann says:

    My friend, my friend Derrik, 2 parts to this message.

    1) i was reading the great gatsby this winter and came across a quote in the book where nick carraway is describing jay gatsby. it reads: “he had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. it faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. it understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.” wow. i must have reread this passage seven or eight times that first day i read it. to me, this description captures a part of your personality that you don’t see in many people. you were such an open-minded and prejudiced (in the right way) guy. this must be why you had the ability to initiate and maintain a conversation with literally anyone. you gave everyone a chance and saw people how they wanted you to see them; this talent of yours made you extremely personable.

    2) I’ve been thinking of you a lot over here in New Zealand. every time jackson and i are jamming to phish while on the road, traveling to some awesome location that i know you would love, i think back to our great jamming/dancing sessions. There’s one in particular that has constantly been finding its way into my head: we were in my room sophomore year and i put on the horse > silent in the morning for you. it turned out to be the first time you had heard the tune. we were becoming fixated on trey’s repeated riff at the end of the song that always gets me goin’ and you pointed out to me that fish was playing these syncopated triplet notes lightly on the high hat while everyone else was playing in 4/4 times. it was something so insignificant but it intrigued me, as it was the first time i had actually noticed this component of the song and i had heard the jam countless times. now, every time i hear silent in the morning, i can’t help but focus on this subtlety. this incident made me realize that the seemingly simple and commonplace things surrounding us have so much more spice than we originally reckon them to have. i guess it’s all about observing ordinary things from numerous and abstract perspectives. this was an ability you possessed that made you such a unique and addicting person to hang with. You always took the most basic concepts and turned them upside out, inside down until they became too confusing for me to understand, which was pretty damn entertaining. you truly had an understanding of hunter’s line, “once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right” and it seems that that is what always motivated you to conduct yourself in such an eccentric manner. you’ve seen that light before and i’m sure there’s nothing that will keep you from continuing your eternal search for more of that celestial radiance.

  16. lindsey says:

    Derrik, I just had the most amazing adventure. with what was probably the most poorly planned idea of where I was going, and a blazing desire to see chimpanzees, i somehow managed to successfully hitch hike all the way across rwanda. at one point, i spent about two hours driving though a torrential downpour on the back of a motorcycle with my gigantic backpack through sprawling tea plantations and some of the most beautiful forests in the world. i’ve never been more lost in my life. but i kept thinking of what you’d do, and that made it so easy to laugh it all off, and to embrace each moment. when i finally got home yesterday, all i wanted to do was to share all my tales with you, celebrate how amazingly silly our journeys in life can be, and thank you for teaching me to seek out the joy wherever we are- whether or not it’s what we’d planned.

  17. Rachel says:

    Derrik, last night you were in my dream. it was so nice to see you again! the last time we spoke we talked all about going abroad, and here I am in lebanon and i was sad i couldn’t tell you about it. but then in my dream we talked and talked and we were walking around the rockies baseball stadium. you gave me advice on how to live my life without fear, as you would have! I missed you. it was so good to talk to you again and see your face. thank you for the good advice and the inspiration.

  18. Joey says:

    we think of you every day derrik! miss you brother.

  19. eric eberhart says:

    Last Spring derrik and i started making trips out to oak pond brewery- a microbrewery converted from a chicken barn, about half an hour away from the Colby campus. as we were both known for enjoying “the golden nectar” (as he called it) we couldn’t wait to try the different home-grown varieties that this chicken barn brewery had to offer. on the first of many visits we walked through the side door of the barn to a view of sparkling, silver vats that rose up to the ceiling. A sullen character greeted us and asked how he could be of service. Derrik suggested that perhaps a taste test would be in order so as to allow us an opportunity to pick our favorite brew. the man reluctantly pulled out a number of small plastic cups and began pouring samples for each of us from the different taps. Derrik introduced himself to the brewer and asked for his name. mark. “mark,” he said,”which one is your favorite?” the man took a moment to think and replied, “storyteller ale.” Derrik pressed mark with more questions- why was it his favorite, did he own the brewery, how long does it take to brew, how many types of beer do they make? mark, recognizing derrik’s genuine interest, warmed up as the discussion went on and by the end of the visit could even have been described as cheery. when it was time for us to choose our beer and be on our way he asked us,”so what’ll it be boys? but first- i almost forgot- can i see your ids?” being 21, i had nothing to worry about as i passed mine over. derrik, on the other hand, had another year to go so he was using the expired id of a friend from school whose name- the name printed on the card- was certainly not derrik. mark looked at the id that derrik handed him, then back at derrik, then back to the id. derrik stood there beaming, too amped about the new friend he just made and the brewing lingo he had just learned to realize the potential danger. “what did you say your name was again?” the brewer asked. “mark, for the third time, it’s derrik, come oooon maaaan” derrik gave him a soft punch to the shoulder. mark chuckled, handed our ids back, and presented us with sweating growlers of chicken barn beer.

  20. Katherine L Flahive says:

    21 years ago a boy was born that changed my life forever. He is an inspiration to me as he has taught me love, passion, perseverance, play, adventure, compassion, kindness, acceptance, laughter, music, drums, precociousness, nomadism, no fear, living in the moment, breaking the rules, following his own path, the importance of relationships and living big. He will continue to teach me in the days to come. dq icecream cake was his favorite. something italian or mexican and probably beer. favorite birthday theme was caveman. derrik, in honor of you, im going to a zumba class instead of staying home. i must choose to dance! loving you each day of my life.

  21. Mary ann westfall says:

    Happy birthday beautiful derrik.
    i remember so many lunches with your mom chatting about you. all your adventures, trials, and great attitude always brought a smile to your moms face. I know the many gifts you brought into the world blessed so many. They will never be lost. you made this world a brighter, happier place. I loved knowing you. i love your family.

    Hugs little one,
    mary ann

  22. david westfall says:

    Happy birthday my friend. it saddens me beyond words that we didn’t get to kick-it and “bro-out” more. However, the few times we did it was grade “a” bro-time; makes sense given you where a grade “a” bro yourself. remember the first time i met you at an xmas get together at your folks house. i instantly knew you where the real deal and literally got excited just talking with you about your nasty lax game, arguing over preferred stringing set-ups (still think you’re missing out by not using six-diamond mesh. although, as you so poignantly stated, “it’s all about the wizard, not his wand..”, too true my friend and nobody exemplified that better than you flow-hive ; )) favorite german beers, wild african beast you took down on your trips with your dad to the “dark-continent” and the incredibly fun/bright/and unique future you had in front of you.

    I know it’s been said ad nauseum about how kind and accepting of a person you where, but it’s not ad nauseum, people with hearts such as yours should never be forgotten for such a quality. everyone reading please forgive me if i’m too cavalier / or in poor taste here with this story but i think it’s a unique testament (at least in my book) of derrik’s default setting of being as kind as possible to everyone he met and giving everyone a chance no questions asked. shannon and i had been going through a challenging portion of our friendship around the time megan was getting married. long story short, being the jug-head that i am, i surmised it would be a good idea to crash in on megan’s wedding to try to clear some things up with shannon (i know, i know i’m a dummy…whatever) in person. needless to say, i was a little uneasy there given my brash move. derrik sought me out right away, brought me a coors light (my fav) and went well out of his way, despite being a part of the wedding, to kick-it with me telling me all about his new yeti mountain bike and listening to me try sound like i knew anything about mountain biking (pretty sure he new i was blabbering a bunch of bs but was cool with it ha). You see, if i had been in derrik’s shoes in that situation, i’d have been like “who the [explicative] is the freakishly tall guy crashing my sister’s wedding?!” and promptly ran him off/shot a roman candle at him/idk, something to make me look like the big-bad alpha male of the day. not derrik, the machismo/tough guy act was about a far away from his demeanor as you can get, he had no need for it. he was tough when counted: overcoming the obstacles that kept him from pursuing his passions, and standing up for the people he loved, cared about and had compassion for. aside from that, derrik’s montra (from at least what i experienced) was show kindness and acceptance to those around him first and ask questions later. no matter what or where you where, as long as derrik was in the room, you had at least one friend. right on brah.

    derrik, you where a special young man and i’m proud i got call you a friend. luv u man, and happy trails amigo.

    your hombre,


  23. Nancy Downey says:

    I was lucky enough to meet Derrik when he came into Off-Campus study at Colby to talk about his study abroad plans. I was impressed with his open mind, open heart, his luminosity and his wonderful spirit. he was more interested in hearing my story than telling his. To Katherine and roger and shannon and megan- i just want to tell you how glad i was that you came to colby to celebrate Derrik’s life with us. We all miss him, but he will never be forgotten at colby – he touched the lives of everyone he met here in such a positive way. On his birthday, I just wanted to share this poem by lesley choyce because I think of derrik when I read it. For me, it is both for derrik and from him:

    I’m Alive, I Believe in Everything

    self. brotherhood. God. zeus. communism.
    capitalism. Buddha. Vinyl records.
    baseball. ink. Trees. cures for disease.
    saltwater. literature. walking. waking.
    arguments. decisions. ambiguity. absolutes.
    presence. absence. positive and negative.
    empathy. apathy. sympathy and entropy.
    verbs are necessary. so are nouns.
    empty skies. dark vacuums of night.
    visions. revisions. innocence.
    I’ve seen All the empty spaces yet to be filled.
    I’ve heard all of the sounds that will collect
    at the end of the world.
    and the silence that follows.

    i’m alive, i believe in everything.
    I’m alive, I believe in it all.

    Waves lapping on the shore.
    skies on fire at sunset.
    Old men dancing on the streets.
    paradox and possibility.
    sense and sensibility.
    cold logic and half truth.
    final steps and first impressions.
    fools and fine intelligence.
    chaos and clean horizons.
    vague notions and concrete certainty.
    optimism in the face of adversity.

    i’m alive, i believe in everything.
    I’m alive, I believe in it all.

    happy birthday, Derrik. You are with us always.

  24. aunt cindi says:

    Happy birthday, DMS. envisioning you on all your new adventures through time and eternity. Peace…joy…love

  25. Aunt sheila says:

    happy 21st derrik. i will forever remember all the wonderul birthday parties you had over the years and the way kevin waited to be with his favorite cousin. I love you and will be with you forever!

  26. David Steninger says:

    Derrik took me to my first concert ever. It’s still hard to beat Dave Matthews at red rocks. I hope he knows that he turned me on to a world of music I never would have seen, and that whenever I hear some insanely syncopated drum solo, I’ll be thinking of him.
    -David Steninger.
    (my phone hates capital letters..)

  27. Katherine L Flahive says:

    As we toast the new year and derrik’s 21st birthday on january 10th, i invite friends and family to write a note in honor of derrik. please share how he may have touched your life and how you plan to pass on a peice of derrik to another person. he lived big and there are no boundaries. i miss him terribly. i’m looking at each day with new eyes, and open heart and listening more than talking.

  28. Derrick, i remember the evening we spent with you and your dad in my rungwa game reserve camp with fond memories. I feel previledged to have met you, a fellow adventurer who lived life with great compassion.

  29. Roberta Nelson says:

    derrik: there are so many stories I could share – i may have to post more than once! today i am remembering you as a little kid, about the age of 5 or 6, when you were at our house for some sort of family celebration. all the kids (megan, shannon, rachel, hannah, and you) were getting a little edgy so i put on some music that “had a really good beat and was easy to dance to”. You proceeded to dance with absolute abandon! we should have known then that music (and the drums) would be a huge part of your life and part of your soul. i am able to smile when i think of that little red head kid dancing – feeling such joy and having a wonderful time with his family who loves him so much. keep dancing, and keep us dancing, dear derrik!

  30. Marty says:

    D-man, we went on our annual elk hunt last week, we really missed you, however i know you were with us out there. it was a beautiful week, unseasonably warm and clear. we climbed some nice mountains and the views were awsome. We saw many hundreds of elk, You would have loved it! One evening we decided to just watch a herd of a few hundred work their way down a mountain as they fed, they ended up coming toward us and they were hanging out just a few hundred feet from our perch in the snow. We just watched them until it got dark and left them for the evening, it was quite nice! We continued our hunt the next few days, doing it right, spotting them, working the wind, and putting “the big sneak” on the elusive wapiti, you would have loved that too! We filled all our tags in your honor! Wish you were with us…..pretty sure you were!

  31. Kathy says:

    LIVE IN wonder This is how I will always think of you derrik.Just wondering what road you are tralving on,what rock you may be climbing,or who you will be helping today.That smile just drew the people to you!Fear was not a word that was even a thought. Always helping never stopping.A live wire ,cloned from his father!Derrik i dont think that your dad ever told you this story but here it goes.Roger was forever an electric live wire as a young boy.Always jumping,always moving24/7. So to try to get him to at slow down,your grandma sent him out to the front porch to jump for 5 mintues.Well as it turned out,all of his sisters sat on the couch watching him,he starts to laugh, stops, so mom made him start over! keep in mind this is in the dead of winter!I bet his was out their a good 15 mintues. I could go on for hours!!!!Derrik,I miss you ever so much,and will always and forever in my heart.I love you

  32. Kevin f-f says:


    Just the other day I had pizza for dinner. I still struggle to eat leftover pizza because of you. we must have been in eighth grade when you ate that three day old pizza out of our fridge. I warned you. ” yeah well i’d bet you five bucks you’ll get sick”. it was never a serious statement. regardless, i knew that there was nothing i could do to get between you and that pizza. there was a look in your eye that i was far too familiar with. You threw up the entire drive from parker to littleton. And that night we had a blast watching brave heart (as was tradition), despite the large popcorn bowl you were using for vomit transport. being sick never slowed you down, but by then i knew not to expect otherwise….. ill be getting my five bucks from you later. I love ya cuz, and you’ll always be in my thoughts and actions.

  33. Joe says:

    Well, derrik, i’ve studied on it a bit and have come to the conclusion you were only meant to be with us this short while to teach each of us that one thing. different for each of us. I think your dad stated it most admirably with that picture of you touching the mold-covered bridge. as an out-law I wonder why you visit my dreams so often. surely your close family and friends, but your aunt’s other half? i pray god might reveal that to me shortly. in the meantime, i’ll post here what i posted on facebook. you are our hdt.

    “i went to the woods because i wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if i could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when i came to die, discover that i had not lived. i did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did i wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. i wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. — walden; or, “life in the woods –where i lived, and what i lived for” -henry david thoreau

    God bless and happy trails, kid

  34. Aunt Sheila says:

    Derrik–just like everything you did in life you gave us the best rafting trip this july. with the colorado rivers being the historic high levels you gave us a day to remember–but on the first major rapid you had a decision– will i shock and awe my dad on the front right or see if my auntie sheila can handle the shock at the front on the left. we all know what he would do and i almost fell out of the raft–such a derrik grin when i cursed at you. but my memories will always be those years of you competing with kevin at everything from reading more books to running faster but the one thing you always beat him at from day one was eating more food. i love you, i miss you and i will forever have you in my heart and mind.

  35. Shannon flahive says:

    Derrik – i wanted to get the ball rolling in hopes others will follow my lead. I am having dinner with adriana tonight [little hole in the wall chinese place by her house, i’m sure you would love it] and it makes me think about the dinner party we had last january when you returned home from jan plan. every time i hear a party-esque song, i think about our dance party, you twirling around with sarah, and your massive grin and infectious laugh. not to mention you falling asleep mid-text on their couch. i thought of you all weekend while in nyc. robbie and i went to see christmas spectacular and there was an entire act where the rockettes act as nutcrackers. obviously made me think of you, and the inevitable bag of nuts you attempted to crack with nutcrackers as a kid. everything i see on a daily basis brings you to my mind. i love you so much, and adriana and i will think of you tonight at dinner. hugs, kisses, and so much more.

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