Ryan Bailey died Tuesday. I went to school with Ryan, he graduated a year after I did. Ryan was an acquaintance and I didn’t see him much, but when I did we would exchange pleasantries. He knew my mom well and was a student in her civics class. They spoke often.

Reading about Ryan today made death seem strictly organic to me for the first time in my life (Even as an analytic mind I am not ashamed to say that, prior to today my conception of death had always involved some notion of spirituality, however vague). I accepted it as fact; Ryan Bailey, an individual I had some contact with, is no longer living. His brain is not thinking, his heart is not pumping, his hands are not feeling, his eyes are vacant, and the heap of matter that was once him will either be burned or buried in the ground. Ryan Bailey will no longer partake in the world of stimulus I remain privy to.

Everyone grapples with their own mortality and comes to terms with it one way or another: religion, addiction, denial. In fact, I suppose engaging in any activity that removes the thought of cessation from our minds is a mechanism used to cope with inevitability. Try to stay busy.

Still its hard not to wonder: Will I make the front page? (Ryan made section 4B) Will the nicotine kill me? (probably) Legacy, heartbreak, difference made? When? Perhaps while typing in a room, in a house on a small lake listening to Brahm’s Requiem and having a panic attack, analyzing a prospect I still find terrifying the only way I know how.

R.I.P. Ryan Bailey