Last night, hundreds of people laughed, drank, and danced their hearts out to the beat of Gloria Estefan in a valiant effort to keep tears, heartbreak, and total devastation at bay. As the morning sun breaks I can’t help but think, “Ryan did it again”. Even in his absence, he managed to imbibe an entire bar and hundreds of people with his wild, giving, fun-loving spirit. The past few days have been a complete blur of uncontrollable laughter at his past antics, uncontrollable tears at his passing, the constant love of friends and family intertwined with plummeting into moments of depressing solitude. But last night brought so much into clarity. Ryan West was (is) the love of my life, close friend to many, trivia master to hundreds, King to entire cities, and legend to many, many more populations to come. But his true gift was as a great connector. His entire life, he has brought people together through parties, games, ultimate, and trivia, and created friendships and memories that will last lifetimes. You may think I am exaggerating the extent of his reach, but this memory box I hold in my hands would say differently. Yesterday, I saw so many who loved him put distance, work responsibilities, life responsibilities, personal issues all on pause to reconnect with old friends and connect with new friends. I saw old loves and strangers alike giving each other hugs, acting brave and smiling together in the face of Time and Death itself. Ryan loved being at the center of attention, and made sure we would all remember him by burrowing himself deep into the furrows of our hearts. Last night was one of the memory books, sure. But in true Ryan West fashion, I hope that last night will also engender and reinforce relationships that will carry his love through all of our lifetimes.
Here is a quote from one of your memories:
I love you all. Keep an eye out for the After Party. :)