I lost much more than a best friend last week.
From the day we moved into our freshman suite in Hinman College, I learned that Jay always loved to be with people, and if it were up to him, he would’ve always been in somebody’s company; it wasn’t until everybody in our suite — and the one across the hall — had gone to sleep that he’d finally call it a night.
Whether you needed someone to play a game with, talk to about useless trivia or just run your problems by, Jay was always willing. I didn’t know it on that first day of college, but I had made one of my closest friends.
Jay also loved to sing; nobody could get a sing-along started as easily as he could, and I’ve yet to meet anybody who could make one as fun. Whether he was sitting around playing tunes off his laptop or in his car on a road trip, you couldn’t stop him from getting into one of his favorite songs once it came on.
His attitude was infectious, and whether you wanted to or not, you’d suddenly find yourself joining in and having a blast.
He was uncannily good at “Rock Band” — better than anybody I’ve ever met. Another one of his favorite hobbies was saving Hyrule; he had no problem spending a whole night with his friends playing through a Zelda game, refusing to go to bed until the kingdom was secured.
No matter what game he was playing or what activity he was involved in, he would always do it with a smile on his face, and he always kept the laughter going. The last conversation I had with him was incredibly inappropriate and had a group of us laughing for minutes. And it was right that way.
At the end of our first year, it worked out that we’d be leaving Hinman College even though we didn’t truly think it was the best idea. Halfway through that summer, Jay took it upon himself to switch back to Hinman, and he convinced me to as well.
If he hadn’t followed his gut feeling and gone through with it, I might not have come back to the place where I’ve made more of my closest friends and where I’ll be finishing off my college career as a resident assistant. If not for Jay, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today, and I never got to thank him for that.
Even when I didn’t live with Jay after he moved off campus, he was still just as good of a friend. Jay was always my “couch guy.” Whether I needed to get away from campus or just needed a place to crash for the night, I knew that he’d take me in at any time without hesitation.
If I came to his apartment hungry, he’d offer me the last piece of homemade lasagna he had, or whatever else he could afford to. That hospitality was not only extended to me, but to anybody who came into his home.
As I said, I lost more than a best friend last week. I lost a brother. I began this journey with Jay, and it pains me that we won’t be able to end it together.
Even so, I know that Jay doesn’t want us to mourn. I’m sure that he wants us to try to smile and laugh, just like we always did when he was with us.
Through the hardships of the last few days, moments like one of my friends walking in on somebody in the Dunkin’ Donuts bathroom, and another friend realizing he’d forgotten his pants before an important occasion, have shown me that life has to go on, and that everything will be OK.
We all miss and love you Jay, and you’ll be with us always.