Mom and Dad,
Thank you for the weekend. The love, time, moments, space, giving, it was and is still keeping something going in my heart that is in need of that right now. I made a fire tonight for the first time, walnut shells as kindling works very well.
Your selfless spirits, loving souls, and ability to unconditionally love are amazing, and I feel so lucky to be able to be your son, on the receiving end of it all.
Much more in my mind and heart, though time to go to sleep now.
A Note from Ryan and Jessica Lamanna to Mom and Dad
Buzz and Pat,
My husband Ryan and I have only known Alex for a year or so, but it was not enough. We can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through as his parents. We were initially neighbors when we both lived on B street, however our lives didn’t cross for a year until Alex took a shared interest in Ryan’s wheatgrass. Alex was very special to us and we miss him dearly. As Ryan put it, “he is a friend that we will never be able to replace. We will never meet someone like him again.” He was such an incredible person and I know you two were an integral part in him becoming the man he was.
Yesterday at the park, many people shared stories about Alex. It really brought together all the different parts of Alex’s life and the people he had an impact on. We enjoyed hearing the stories that his colleagues and students shared. I thought that I would share a few memories and experiences that we had with Alex.
The first memory I have of Alex is before I met him, when I knew him as the neighbor that I would always see walking down the neighboring streets, oh so slowly. He truly took EVERYTHING in, never in a rush. The first time I ran into him on the trails I remember thinking, “oh wow, he runs!” and fast.
I will miss the dinners we would share. Alex would have us over, or he would come over to our place with a bag full of food and just cook. He was an amazing cook, truly appreciating the flavors and ingredients of what he put together. He loved to share this with people and it was fun to watch him work in the kitchen.
Many weekends, Ryan and Alex would go on adventures on the Ashland trails. For hours hiking and biking and talking. I always looked forward to hearing fun Alex-isms when they returned, which leads to…
Alex’s humor, oh we will miss this. Subtle at times, but always good for a laugh. He used to joke that he thought we should chop off one of Willow’s legs (our dog) so that she would be on par with everyone else. As a puppy she has much too much energy, which I knew could wear thin on Alex, but secretly I think he loved her. He would say, “If I’m not back by such and such time, send Willow for me.”
Alex loved to teach and share his knowledge, and we loved to just listen and learn from him. The most valuable thing that he shared with us was his time.
Alex perfected bars. Ryan perfected joooose (juice). They talked of opening a “Joose and Bars” business.
I never truly enjoyed a yoga class until I took one of Alex’s. His silent yoga class was so powerful; even without talking Alex could teach and he had such a presence and impact. Sometimes, in between poses, he would come out with a one liners and have the whole room cracking up. No one will forget the glittery short shorts on holidays either.
For the several weeks leading up to Alex’s trip, we would make weekly trips up to Mt Ashland; packing Vanna White full of bikes and picnic stuff and spending the day on the trails. This weekend will be my first 50 miler, on those very trails. I will carry these and other memories with me during this race. Although jokingly at the time, I said last Saturday that I would wear tie-dye, his outfit of choice, for the race. As promised, I will be wearing tie-dye for him on Saturday. Alex’s presence and wonderful spirit is everywhere in Ashland and will live on in the places he loved and through the people that loved him.
I will attach some pictures of Alex from various adventures,
You are in our thoughts,
A Morning Gem from Alex
It feels good, to finally be here moving with something, towards something, for something,
and to realize I can replace all the words, feelings, struggles, excitement— all those “somethings”—
with one thing….LOVE. —Alex
A Poem, translated by friend and neighbor Safa Shirazi
“My dear, when life brings sadness, it overcomes you, and will rob you of your sweet life. The patch of grass that is growing out there, is kept alive by mother earth. Pitch your tent atop it, and enjoy life now, for you too, will feed a new patch, when part of the earth.”
A Text Message from Alex to colleague Nina Gallway
“Hope your day is full of gobbly-gook, spice and Love.May joy be the gravy on your mashed potatoes of family andfriends.”
A Note from Jane Acker
I thought of you all yesterday and hope the Ashland service brought you comfort, lovely memories, and inspiring stories of your remarkable son. The time together in Corvallis was amazing–so many people touched by Alex in so many ways, making a beautiful mosaic of his time with us. I would not have missed it.On my way to Denver I ran across a New Yorker article about a poet whose own son died several years ago. He was been attempting to write that story, and this tiny excerpt struck me:I did not know the work of mourningIs like carrying a bag of cement
Up a mountain at night.The mountaintop is not in sightBecause there is no mountaintopPoor Sisyphus griefI did not know I would struggleThrough a ragged underbrushWithout an upward path
…Look closely and you will seeAlmost everyone carrying bagsOf cement on their shoulders
That’s why it takes courageTo get out of bed in the morning
And climb into the day.You both were so courageous on Saturday, and I am guessing that each day requires that courage of you now. I hope that the presence of so many attempting to help you up the mountain path offers some small measure of consolation, Love to you both, Jane
A Note from Meghna, Keith, and Mrinali
Dearest Pat, Buzz, McHale, and Adam –Our profound sadness is but a grain of sand compared to the ocean of grief you are feeling right now. Words feel empty and inadequate to express how devastated we feel, and how much our love for all of you burns brightly and grows.Alex is a beautiful soul. He will remain such in our minds and hearts. We stand by your side with love and support. He is present, forever.Tell us what we can do for you, and we shall do it. Tell us our silence suffices, and we shall remain quiet but powerfully mindful of all of you. Absolutely anything, at any time. Just tell us.All that feels right to say now, is that our love and support for you remains eternal, just as Alex’s impact and presence in our lives.“We should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.”And we shall endeavor to do exactly that.With love,Meghna, Keith, and Mrinali
From Robyn Janssen
Dear chosen Family,I wanted to share one of Alex’s amazing, poetic word paintings with you all again that he wrote about us and a time in Yachat’s. Beth, Naomi and I read it yesterday as we spent the day mourning, remembering, celebrating and loving Alex. He was a true light in this world and I know we all loved him very much. I love you all and am so glad that he was part of our family.RobynBareback, barefoot, and bare-assed, we rode the wild sea serpent of Yachats Town. We, me, us, you, a chosen family, an octet of great kind: Beth Ann, siren and captain on front to spot spouting whales and angel flights, Gabe Mark sitting second singing wild with winged seagulls holding their hover in the strong north wind, Robyn Meyer calm, communicating a story of change with the sand-soaked clams, Alex Zander illuminating the misted silohuette of Whyte Nynsha, Pete Howard satisfying the hungry calls with pans wide and saffron threads of gold, Amy Kathleen translated ancient messages of lost Atlantis’ deep, Naomi Folsom fearless flowing on the foam of incoming tides and outgoing clouds, and on the tip of the tail, Sir Chad Knight valiantly scanning the west horizon for manta rays and sunset rays. We ran the beach like sun-fed angels and dense duff dinosaur trails as human sized raindrops tumbling down our colorful path of laughter, sweat, smiles, and pee-pee. Bodies became sponges, hearts became sieves, our post hot tub baptisms leaving the rough waves to swallow those things we could not. Each moment brought changes in light, tide, wind, and sky, calling us to dance with our hearts’ every beat. The serpent’s sinuous path led us, and on occasion we led him, to the warmth of a fire and the friends who kept it glowing. Wind, water, sun, sand, and the slow crescendo of each mid-day tide filled our hearts, creatures of the ocean filled our stomachs. We taught the solitary serpent that each day will bring rain and sun. If there is love, the sun and the rain will harmonize, a duet, to create a magnificent arc of color and strength. The serpent along now we ride as a family of nine, barefoot, bare-assed, and bare-faced eyes closed into this rushing wind. Sliding up, over, and down, like the course of each tide, each wave, we ride the rainbow over the infinite land of color and light. As space travelers and aqua-nauts we have much more to explore, so whatever the weather, together or alone, trust the sea serpent’s first words as we climbed on his back, “We don’t need feet to get where we’re going!”Thanks to you all for a great time and a nice mini-vacation. Reckon it’d be wise to do it again sometime in the next couple months.Aloha, means hello, goodbye, and I love you.Enjoy the blustery Aloha Friday!-Alex
From Hubert Luger – our family from Switzerland
Dear Pat, Buzz, Mc Hale and AdamI have heard the sad news of the loss of Alex and I am shocked.The beautiful time I spent with Alex, the mountain tours we have taken together, the trips on Lake Zurich, the sauna visits in Meilen and much more things I will never forget. Alex will be always in my thoughts.I wish you a lot of power to go through this difficult time.Please accept my deep sympathies.LoveHubert