January 31, 2021
I lost my brother Ryan on Saturday after a difficult battle with mental illness. He was so much to me — my brother, my best friend, my cofounder. He was beautiful in all his complexity. He never did anything half-assed. Never did anything just because he was supposed to. He was a craftsman, a modern day renaissance man. He was an insanely talented developer, yet also had a brilliant eye for design. He was a true waterman, comfortable in any condition. He had such style and soul when he surfed. He was beautiful on the guitar. He had an incredible taste in music matched only by his terrible taste in movies (but in that we found so much joy together). He was stubborn. He argued. He was almost always right. He lived life unapologetically and encouraged others to do the same. He was a mentor and an influence to so many. Not because he loved to talk. Because he was a real friend who was there for you through it all. He was always up for adventure or a good time, and usually the one instigating it. We did it all together — we skydived, surfed, sailed, biked, skated, zip-lined, cliff jumped, luged, rafted, snowboarded. He pushed me and inspired me — so much of who I am today is because of his influence.
Ryan, what I would give to have one more beer with you — one more surf session — one more phone call. I’ll have to settle for hoping you left this world knowing how much I love you, how much I respect how you chose to walk the earth, and that even though you’re no longer here with us your influence will live on. Thank you for holding on as long as you did. I’m so appreciative for every moment we had together. I love you and miss you so much.
February 6, 2021
Woke up with a heavy heart this morning. I wasn’t going to head out until I read a comment someone had left on a post about Ryan:
It so sucks that wonderful doesn’t matter sometimes … You and Mike are the best parents I ever met (I’ve kept notes) … I never met a more astonishingly wonderful set of sibs than Erin, Ryan, and Jeff … I’ve never met anyone any more wonderful than Heather, and the two of them together sorta made me dizzy … The kids are each SO wonderful and in fascinatingly different ways … even the farm reeks of magic and energy and love … what got him obviously had nothing to do with anything that makes sense … just sucks … I believe he’s free and soaring and golden and peaceful … time to steep in the love and good times and feelings and come together to make everybody as good as they can be … and cry free and clear and hard whenever it comes for all the joy and love … then get up and out and make the boy proud.
With that push I left and hiked up the hill behind where my parents live. I was greeted by this glorious sunrise:
I could feel him telling us to be at peace. And I kept circling back to the end of the comment someone had left: “get up and out and make the boy proud”. That we shall do.
We spent the day out on a sailboat, something that was very much Ryan’s happy place. We ended the day with an equally glorious sunset.
February 7, 2021
I once met the most incredible man,
Eyes filled with mischief and always a plan,
His light burned so bright,
Held on with all his might,
Ryan I’m forever your biggest fan.
Ryan always referred to Super Bowl Sunday as “Super Surf Sunday”. We thought it fitting to paddle out to one of his favorites spots that was uniquely his. He spent hours out here, often alone or with one or two people, surfing incredibly heavy waves over shallow reef. He loved spots like this. I remember him telling stories of barrels so big he could stand with his arms up. There was a sense of awe you could see in his eyes after those sessions.
Ryan loved limericks. He’d write them to make fun of the people he loved. He also loved warm Coors. Yes he deliberately left Coors out of the fridge for hours because it was “better that way.”
We paddled out yesterday and of course got caught on the shallow reef, not able to find the “keyhole” that is the one way to make it out unscathed. I imagine Ryan laughing at us, telling us if we had surfed there with him more we would know where to go. We finally made it out, sitting in a circle and sharing stories of adventures with Ryan. We threw flowers from our leis and had a Coors in Ryan’s honor. We said goodbye to Ryan, letting a small part of him rest on the reef of one of his favorite spots. And we splashed, sending water high in the sky and hooting our love for Ry. As we looked back, the flowers had drifted into a beautiful trail, and we were treated to an incredible golden sunset. We made our way back hoping to at least have some light to see the reef, this time finding the keyhole and avoiding any more cuts and bumps.
It doesn’t make him not being here any easier, but it brought some peace feeling that this would have been how he would want us to honor him. I love you Ryan. I’m forever your biggest fan.
There once was a boy born of the sea,
Where when how long it was all up to he,
No fins and no leashes,
People torn up to pieces,
In those moments he was simply free to be.