Letter from Jeff

In the years I knew him , I amassed so many memories of Ben that at times I can think of little else. These memories are certainly a comfort now, but they are more than anything else, a series of lessons I will always carry with me. I remember the way Ben lived his life and so many of the things I admired about him and I am reminded every day of the way I want to live my own.

I remember the way Ben looked when he leaped out of his dirty blue Volvo on the University of Oregon campus one bright summer morning after having driven across the country. He was dirty, disheveled and smiling radiantly, happy to be alive and secure in the knowledge he had done something he had always wanted to do.

I remember the way he would never take the shortcut when faced with a difficult problem. The way he always wanted to learn, not for the sake of accomplishing a goal, bur for the sake of the learning itself. He was fascinated with the world and never doubted that the world had so much to teach him. And he never, ever gave up, no matter how difficult the proposition or how hopeless the situation.

I remember the way he was always there for me when I needed someone to talk to or to hold me up when I felt I couldn’t stand anymore. The way he would be quick to laugh or make a joke, but he was full of compassion and empathy whenever it was required. The way he was like a pillar: strong, stable, holding things together, always.

I remember the crazy things we used to do. The way we would load thousands of pounds of potatoes into that same blue Volvo for the annual canned food drive. The way we would swear and laugh at our ineptness on the golf course. The way we braved the fog and wind and rain to see Star Wars the day it premiered, despite caring rather little about the movie. The way he failed to say a word on the student council our freshman year, content to observe and work in smaller groups, but in the process amassing the power of one who only speaks when he has something to say.

But above all, I’ll always remember the little things. The way we would greet each other as “Mr. Eder” ad “Mr. Golimowski,” just the way my father talks to his oldest and dearest friends. The way he would imitate Homer Simpson with such exacting detail that I would have to stop myself from thinking there was a television on somewhere. The look of concentration on his face when he would line up a pool shot. The music he listened to. The sound of his laugh. The promise of his life.

I’ll miss Ben, forever. But I’ll also take from his life so many lessons and so many ways to live my life that I’ll still have a part of him with me. I loved Ben and I, like so many others , will always carry him in my heart.