At the age of 28, I never plan for people my age to die anytime soon. Regardless, it does happen, and yet it still is surprising. I’ve known my friend Ryan since I moved to Alta Loma in the 6th grade and he teased me on the bus for my leggings because he thought they looked like long underwear. He was my bestfriend’s first love and my first love’s best friend. We had our good moments and even had falling outs. Yet we remained friends as we grew up even though we didn’t spend time together as much after high school. I went to his beautiful wedding in 2002 and watched his marriage to his high school sweetheart. Mike and I double dated with them a couple of times before they moved to Wisconsin in 2006. And we talked once more a few months ago over the phone. He was very happy in his life and I felt joyful with him.
I do not know how he died last Saturday, and will hopefully find out tomorrow. But no matter how, it is a tragedy. He was 28. He was newly married. He had just moved to Wisconsin to start his happy life with his wife. And now he is dead. It just isn’t fair.
I will go to the memorial this Saturday and cry with his father Frank, mother Elane, sister Janelle, and his wife Jenny. I don’t feel sorry for myself but rather weep for his poor family. As a mother, I can imagine what Elane must be feeling to see her son go before she did. As a sister, I can imagine what his big sister Janelle must be feeling to say good bye to her baby brother. And even though I am not a wife, I know what it is like to be madly in love. And to lose the man Jenny has devoted her life to….well, I pray that she stay strong. And I also weep for his son Grant, who is about twelve years old now and already has lost his father.
Ryan will be loved and missed by many. He was always a kid and a goofball. Someone who knew how to live and brought smiles to the faces of all who knew him. And his untimely death will always remind me to let all who I love know I love them everyday—and to stop putting things off until tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come. Life just works that way whether or not we understand why, right?
Rest in peace my friend. May your life and death teach us all how to live.