An Acquaintance and a Classmate

October 10, 2007

In today’s mail, I got the latest issue of my Alumni Magazine. There were a couple of things that struck me as I flipped through the glossy pages. There are some very successful alums from Eastern. I always think I am hot shit and then I read the Easterner and I see someone piloting Marine One. In fact, there is a photo of a girl who I used to know in high school who is doing her peace corps in Gambia – she used to be best friends with a girl who my best friend Brian dated for a few crazy months in the spring of 1999. I got to know her better at Eastern when she lived in the same building as my marketing group mate Tyler Campbell – But I digress.

As I quickly scanned the articles in the magazine, I flipped to the back. And I read the in memoriam section. And I look for my graduation year. And there is a name listed – Ryan Shearer, BAB in Human Resources. Since I got a marketing degree, the name stuck out at me because the department was pretty small.

I had a few classes with Ryan and I could picture him easily. I always thought he was a bit of a meathead. He was big, played hockey, blonde hair and was from Alaska. I saw him at parties and he always had cheap beer in his hand. The note in the Easterner just simply said he died on August 14, 2006.

I googled his name and his myspace page came up. There is a note on there dated February 19, 2006 that said his cancer came back and to pray for his family. Take a look at his profile.

This immediately reminded me of a guest who attended our wine event. Her name is Alison. And she worked for a company that was one of the sponsors of our event.

The night of the auction she bought an auction package for $600 – it was the “Be a Winemaker for a Day,” package. According to her co-workers, she bought it so that she and her husband could take a nice vacation together. Three weeks later, at the age of 34, her husband dies of a massive heart attack leaving her with a 10-month old.

Both of these people’s deaths seem so senseless and random. They were young and had their lives in front of them. It makes me appreciate what I have even more. And not to take things for granted. Life is so fragile and it can be gone in an instant. I felt really sad when I thought about Ryan and Alison’s husband – which is strange because I never really knew them.


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