Friday, July 10, 2015

Tribute to Ryland

   My sweet friend Ryland Lundy passed away unexpectedly while I was in Hawaii. He was only 32. The news was so shocking and I was so far from home that it still doesn't feel real to me. And my flight returning was cancelled and rerouted, so unfortunately I missed his memorial service with friends. But I was there in spirit.
   We met through Britten's yoga class and chatted at her parties. And before long, I knew I could always count on him to see rap concerts with me. In fact, he's my ONLY friend who wanted to go. So we'd grab sushi and catch some good/bad music: Kanye West, Kanye AND Jay-Z, T.I., Lil' Wayne, Keri Hilson, Rick Ross, Drake, Far East Movement... you people don't know what you were missing! We had a blast!
   I feel that in the end, Ryland knew me better than I knew him, because he was so caring... he texted me to check in regularly, and was always asking me how I was doing, particularly after I lost my job. He didn't talk about himself nearly as often as he asked about me. He was very interested and active in politics and sports (Duke, Chiefs), and a very hard worker (I know I'll never have the stamina for the restaurant industry, but Ryland took it all in stride and worked very, very hard without complaint). He always had a smile on his face. I'll always remember him as a selfless, caring person. And I'm grateful for the 5 or so years we've known each other.
   The last time I saw Ryland was just a few weeks ago. I was stressing from a bunch of work I needed to get done. He texted to check in on me, and asked me out to dinner. I declined, feeling too pressed for time. So instead, he came over and joined me at my dining room table with a large bottle of his new favorite beer to share. We sat and talked for hours while I worked.
   We've learned that Ryland died from an aneurism of the aorta. Frankly, it just isn't f***ing fair for such a great guy to be gone so soon.
   The day that Britten texted me that our friend had passed, I was sitting at my hotel in Kona, chatting with one of the young ladies on the housekeeping staff. Her cute little son was running around. I asked his name… And it was Ryland. You could've knocked me over with a feather. I've never met another Ryland before. This kid reminded me of our friend: warm, happy, sweet… A teddy bear of a guy.
   I tend to notice signs and connect dots in the universe, and for me, seeing this happy kiddo named Ryland made me believe and hope that big Ryland is happy, free from his physical pain and smiling down on us. We love you, buddy.