I only had the privilege of knowing Ryan for the last 6 years - I met him shortly after I started dating Nick back in 2007 - but in that time I had come to love him as a brother. It was hard not to; he was one of those people that just drew everyone in. His joy and zaniness was contagious, and you couldn't help but smile when he was around.
Ryan was always a bit of a wildcard; we never quite knew when he would come through Denver, but we were always happy to see him when he did make it to town. His spirit uplifted all those around him, and a great time was gauranteed to follow anytime he was there.
But it wasn't just that Ryan was fun to be around, I think what drew people to him was that he really was a beautiful soul. I never heard him speak or wish ill of any one else. Not a vindictive bone in his body, he didn't waste his time with negativity. Through example, he taught everyone around him to live life to the fullest, enjoy every moment of it, and not to sweat the small stuff. That will be his legacy.
In this time of great sadness, what I am most grateful for is the time we had with him at our wedding last month. My husband has an amazing group of friends from his childhood that he remains unbelievably close with to this day, despite the years and miles that separate them. They are truly a family in every sense of the word, and they showed up in full force for our wedding.
The time that they all had together, only one month before Ryan's passing, will be something that we all cherish for the rest of our lives. Absolutely no one on this earth could replace Ryan in the hearts and minds of those who knew him, he was truly one of-a-kind.
With less than three days having passed since the avalanche, it is hard to take any consolation in the fact that he died doing what he loved. It is hard to take comfort in the idea that he may have been looking down on us as we gathered this weekend to support each other and remember the good times. They say that time heals all wounds... and deep down we all know this is true, but at the moment, this too offers no solace. There are just no words that can describe the deep loss that is felt by those who knew this beautiful person.
It is with heavy hearts that we all head back to Honesdale this weekend to lay him to rest. Life will go on, the world will continue to turn, but it will never be quite the same again.
We love you Novs....