Monday, March 16, 2009

In Memory of Ryan Graham -- 9/16/1984 - 2/27/2009

Ryan, you were the best younger brother I never had. I found this audio footage of us during your trip to Poland that I recorded on my cell phone. It is not perfectly audible, but what can be understood beautifully captures your spirit.

You came to San Francisco, MY city at the time, in August, 2005, bright-eyed and excited to start a new life. For a while, it became OUR city, as you helped me rediscover and appreciate the sparkling city anew.

When I decided to move to Poland, knowing that I was leaving you behind in California was the single most bittersweet element in my decision to move. Bitter, because I knew I would miss our frequent outings, discovery of new culinary experiences, and your tireless optimism about a city that I was starting to feel jaded about. Sweet, because I knew that you would be one of the first people to visit me in my new home.

During your stay in Poland, you immediately won the hearts of my friends and even made new friends who became MY friends. We will always think of the ease with which you made this foreign place your home. We all looked forward to your next trip here, and I hoped that you might one day consider making Europe your home.

I debated a long time about whether to write this next paragraph at all. It is heartbreaking to think of the future you might have had; however, I feel that I need to write some things with regard to these possibilities which now no longer exist. I still believe that living in Europe would have had a tremendously positive influence on you. My vision of our future had us reconnecting here at regular intervals, a trip from Krakow to London (or Paris, or Ibiza, or Hvar, or any of the hundreds of other places in which you would have felt at home) being as easy to plan as a hop between any two major US cities. I know that I am not alone in feeling this, as I have heard the same sentiments from some of the many friends you made during your journeys overseas.

Wherever you are, I hope you know that the list of people who love and miss you dearly is longer than you know. We will meet again sometime, somewhere, in another life, enriched with the wisdom we gained from this one.