Ayani was a student and friend of Alex. Here is a letter he read to us at our Gathering in Ashland on August 10, 2014:
I just got back from my week-long backpacking trip in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. As I admired the beautiful scenery and rugged terrain, the whole time I was thinking “this is a place where Alex would like to be.” I could picture you running the ridges or hiking the trails or swimming in the high mountain lakes and I could feel your presence as I enjoyed everything the wilderness had to offer. This experience proved to me that you will never be forgotten in my mind. Alex, even though you are gone, your spirit will live on in those who knew you and were touched by you.
I also never got to tell you about my ten day bicycling trip in the San Juan Islands; the trip that you helped me prepare for. All of those hours you spent helping me hone my cycling skills paid off and One of the best memories I had of the trip was when we were getting ready to bike to the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island. I had heard from many people that it was a hard ride and I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it. It was at that moment that I made my decision: “I am going to do this for Alex. Alex helped me get ready for this trip and he would be happy and very proud of me if I made it to the top.” So that is what I did, I hopped onto my bike and pedaled all the way to the top and as I stood there I not only knew that you would be proud of me, but I was also proud of myself.
Alex, I could never thank you enough for all of the things that you have done for me. I still treasure the many times you helped perfect my math skills and help me understand the subject that I disliked the most. It was because of these many sessions that I ended up actually liking math and even getting an “A” in math for the first time. You made feel capable for the first time ever.
There are countless other things that I will remember about you and I know many other people have their own stories, too but there is one thing we all share; you have inspired and touched us in many ways. Alex, we will miss you, but you will never be forgotten. Thank for you loving me and making me feel important.