When people die, we all hurry to share our thoughts, to impart our experiences with them.

On one hand, it feels callous to turn someone else’s misfortune into a personal story. On the other, there’s probably no better way to honor a person than to share how they impacted your life in some small way, or maybe even a big way.

When that person is a professional athlete, those stories are in endless supply. Some are told by friends and family, but most come from mere admirers who likely never met the person or at most had fleeting, memorable encounters with them.

Athletes, celebrities and other public figures have outsized impact on those who view their work. Their performances can mark time for total strangers. I remember where I was. Those things aren’t just part of sports fandom– often they’re part of people’s lives.

There’s been no shortage of those stories since news of Roy Halladay’s death broke yesterday. We all remember when the Phillies traded for him, where we were during his perfect game (which he threw during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals), and for his postseason no-hitter. We remember his love of Chooch. We remember “funner.” We remember him running the steps of Citizens Bank Park. We remember the time he saved a naked man from an Anaconda. Teammates remember clubhouse antics, personal exchanges, his work ethic, and being in the presence of greatness. They remember the person and the teammate.

But for all of those fond memories, today there is a family in mourning.

For better or worse, Halladay’s Twitter feed serves as a stark reminder that while he was a baseball hero to many, he was a loving husband and father to a few. These Tweets… they rip your heart out and smash it on the ground:

Come on.

Virtually every other Tweet from the last two years was about his love of his new plane, Chooch, or saving puppies.

None of us can speak for what his family is going through and what they’ll continue to deal with for a long time. In an instant, everything Halladay had worked for, earned, and enjoyed was rendered meaningless due to an unfortunate accident.

If there’s any good to come out of this, it’s that we’re hearing some stories about Roy, the person, that we never knew. This one from ESPN reporter and local guy John Barr may be my favorite:

Those are the stories I’m glad we’re getting to hear.

I’m genuinely at a loss for words. I have been for more than 16 hours now. I’m just sort of stunned, saddened, surprised, shocked, whatever. I never had an encounter with Roy. But he does hold some special meaning for me beyond just the baseball field.

The first ever post I wrote on this site was on the day the Phillies traded for him in December of 2009. I of course celebrated the arrival of Halladay but criticized Ruben Amaro for trading away Cliff Lee to make it happen. It’s a bad post. But it’s also one that quite literally changed my life, or at least my “career,” if that’s what you can call sitting at home blogging about sports.

I started multiple sites over the years, and none of them stuck. No one read them. But interest in Philly sports may have been at an all-time time high when the Phillies traded for Halladay. I figured I’d try one more time to start a website and see if I could make something of it.

I took to Facebook to create a Halladay fan page. At the time, you could be a fan of anything on Facebook– from a sausage link to a famous athlete. The social network wasn’t used for brand or official pages yet, and there were probably 10 or so dedicated to Halladay as a Phillie, but for some reason mine is the one that stuck, and it quickly amassed a few thousand fans, and then 10,000, and eventually more than 80,000.

I realized that I had a captive audience and that I could post links to my blog posts on the page. Despite the accusation of some Phillies bloggers at the time, I never posted as Roy or pretended to be him, I simply ran a fan page dedicated to him.

The readers I got from those early posts are the reason the site exists today.

Obviously it helped me grow an audience, but perhaps more importantly it gave me the motivation to keep going since I knew people were actually reading what I wrote. I am quite confident that I would not have continued with the site were it not for the early audience I got from that page.

After a while the page became redundant once I had amassed a following of my own on Facebook and Twitter. I made an effort to reach out to either the Phillies or Halladay’s agent (I forget which) to turn the page over to them. I never got a response. But after about a year, when Facebook went through the process of verifying official pages for brands and athletes, they reclaimed it and, at some point, turned it over to Halladay’s agency.

I believe the page now named “Roy Halladay Official” was the page I started in 2009. It has more than 300k fans and, agonizingly, contains posts from well-wishers mourning his death. For a while, Halladay (or his agent) was posting to it. The last one came in 2015 and was a picture of Halladay behind a guy wearing his shirsey at an amusement park. It’s become a pretty popular image:

I tell you this because, though Halladay didn’t know it, he is literally responsible for my livelihood. I had jobs in sales and marketing but had always wanted to do this. Halladay was the break I needed. And now it feels weird to juxtapose the celebratory posts from his arrival with news of his death.

As a fan, I of course have my own stories.

My Dad texted me last night and reminded me that we attended four of his five postseason games. What an honor. To me, almost as impressive as the no-hitter was Game 5 against the Cardinals in 2011. Halladay battled through that lineup and gutted eighth-inning outs to give the Phillies a chance. You just felt that he was willing them to win. He almost did.

But it was Roy’s first postseason start that was truly memorable. Probably the greatest sporting event I ever attended live. This is me, and my Dad:

If only iPhones had image stabilization back then.

These are the moments I talked about earlier– that’s not just a sports moment, that’s a memory. My Dad and I have attended hundreds of sporting events together, but we’ll never forget that one.

It’s those moments athletes create in our lives. They’re unwitting family members, if for just a day. It’s the bonds they create between fathers and sons. The most gut-wrenching part of this is that those are the moments Roy will no longer get to share with his sons.

Braden and Ryan will go on without their father. They won’t get to experience the joy of watching their favorite player, or their favorite team, with their favorite person. That’s really hard to swallow. Halladay had retired perhaps earlier than he needed to. As pointed out by Jim Salisbury, many players in his position would have turned to performance-enhancing drugs to heal an injured shoulder. But he decided to spend his time and wealth at home with his family. He slowed down to embrace what’s really important. For as good of a pitcher as he was, he was, by all accounts, an even better family man. He spent his time coaching and doing what he loved best– flying. There’s something poetic about that, I guess, but trolling through the pictures and videos on his Twitter and seeing him tweet so glowingly about what would ultimately lead to his death is just eerie. Most of all, it’s sad.

I’m not sure what else to write. Halladay was friends with Kenny Chesney, so I feel like maybe it’s best to just post this video about cherishing the small moments in life and then have a good cry. Feel free to join in.