The Ryan Suenaga Effect


@postaday 115; #postaday2011

What are our last seconds here on earth like?

Yesterday, while quite consumed with Ryan Suenaga’s death, I kept thinking what that 150-foot fall from an Olomana precipice must be like. Or what it might be like when a parachute doesn’t open, or the impact of getting hit while riding a bicycle. Being killed doing something you love, I guess, is probably an OK exit strategy.

I also keep thinking that this is all a mistake and that the Medical Examiner will tell us Ryan came to. Of course, it won’t happen. And it has been lovely that the roiling fast-paced current that is Twitter kept the spirit of Ryan afloat as we all came to grips with the reality of Life Without Ryan. He’s still important. He should remain important. Won’t we continue to learn more about the quiet and positive effect he had on our world?

Yesterday, John and I had a meeting at Koko Head School about our fourth grader Charlotte. She lags in math, but she also has her own ideas about the way life in the class should be conducted. Did you read between the lines that she’s a ‘spirited’ child? Exactly. And the woman we met for the first time, who grew up in Hawaii Kai, worked with Ryan at Kaiser Permanente before she joined Hawaii’s Department of Education. For a moment the three of us sat there. Quiet. Because the best words are the ones that just hang in the air, unsaid.

We all know each other. In Hawaii, the degrees of separation are most likely fewer than six.

It would be a waste of time, a waste of skin, a waste of breath, to live life as though one were the center of the universe. Ryan’s life was the opposite of take, hate and fake. If he were to respond to our outpouring of respect and honor, it would be with disbelief. Yet, no amount of words can convey the spirit of this fine man. Some of us cling to the thought that Ryan lives on. I do.

About this blog. I always wish that I’ll get 25 hits a day. That’s my goal. On weekends, when I post about my bicycle rides and link my Garmin stats, I hardly ever hit it! And yet those are my proudest moments! Look what I did! Look at my stats! I had so much fun riding today! I’m pretty sure Ryan checked. He was one of my bicycle buddies. He knew how to stoke my fire.

Yesterday I got 1,472 hits. That is amazing. That is the Ryan Suenaga Effect. He was so well loved, and people wanted to read all they could about him. I like to write and to reflect and to honor those who deserve it. I’ve got a face for print, so this is my medium, this is my little soap box, this is my blog. I know I’ll never have a day like that again, and it’s OK.

But for the record, if you die and I love  you, I’ll honor you here. I’ll be pretty pissed about it. I’ll work through my shock with my words, I’ll cry while writing, and I will put my heart and love right here for all to see, for all to feel for themselves. This is the least I can do for you. Don’t test me. Please.