Sept 23, 2005
Volume 33
Issue 38

Friday, Oct 30, 2020 07:22
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Tour De Life by Beau Burriola
In the words of those who knew him best:

"I am Ryan's father and have a heavy heart overwhelmed with grief. Early in his life I knew Ryan was a different child and soon concluded that he was Gay. It was not until 8 or 9 years later that he "came out". At that time he was full of apprehension and was sure I would reject him. I convinced him otherwise explaining I would always love him no matter what his sexual orientation and that it was my opinion he had no choice in the matter as it was a genetic development. I feel we became great friends in spite of the fact that we were 2000 miles apart and we developed a relationship based on these conditions and facts. I knew Ryan was in pain but had no concept of the depth of his pain. He desperately wanted to have a meaningful, loving, lasting personal relationship. My plea to you no matter your sexual orientation is do not be afraid to make a commitment for a long term relationship. When you are young this does not seem to be important but when you are older it becomes very important as it is no fun growing old alone. Do not let Ryan's departure be in vain. Ryan was loving, caring, and sensitive and I could not ask for more in a son. Ryan I love you more than life and desperately miss you. I will always remember the great times we had together and your smiling face." - Dad

"Ryan, I only wish you could have seen how many people your life touched, perhaps you could've reconsidered. I can only hope that you have found the peace you were looking for. I will love you always and I will cherish your wonderful, adventurous spirit and keep it inside me forever." - Paul Skayland

"I don't know what to say other than I love you and I wish I had more time to learn from you. Although our year together was hard at times I look on it as one of the best of my life. You taught me so much about being Gay, myself, love, relationship, Sea-do-ing, food; I wish you were still here to share those things with all of us." - Jonathan Rodda

"After spending time with the dozens of people that called you a friend, I realized that for once, it wasn't about you. Instead, it's about helping others in a way in which you were always trying to help yourself. I hope that by your early departure, we can all look inwards and try to understand ourselves just a little bit better. You used to hate it when I would call you a pillar of the community, but that's what you were. You have touched the lives of so many. I love you, forever and always." - Keau Katsunuma

"I never told you how much I admire you. I always stood in awe of your life. You, Jeff, Chris, Craig and Rob are the reason why I moved to Seattle. I will never be able to express how thankful I am to all of you for helping me realize my true self. Unfortunately, I didn't tell you enough. I didn't tell you how much I admired your success, your amazing ability to make friends, your ability to attract anyone you wanted, your intelligence, your intellectual brilliance, your smile. Your friendship will never be replaced, only built into all the friendships you've helped us form. I admire you and I always will. I will work until the end of time to reach the standards of Ryan. Love, forever." - Kyle Teater

"I will miss our talks about decorating, plantings for his yard, recipes, wines and, of course, clothes!!!! I will miss the smile on his face, the bounce in his step, his laughter, his endless wit, and forever treasure my Mother's Day card signed "From the daughter you never had!!" I am also grateful for the chance to see all of your precious faces in person. I have heard your names so often and I now know first hand the beauty Ryan saw in each of you. Let his life and death serve only to make you mindful of the importance of kindness, unity and selflessness. Let his light forever shine in your hearts, and think of his gentleness when tempted to be unfaithful or unkind." - Linda Robertson

"In all the many years I knew you, I never really understood the depth of your hurt and for that I feel that I have failed you terribly. I arrived in the United States nine years ago and met Ryan shortly after that. He quickly became my surrogate family and was the glue that bound my community together. You will be missed, not only by me or by your family or by the many friends that have shared their feelings and thoughts on here, but you will be missed by so many more. You were a very special person, and in my heart and memories you always will be. Peace." - Craig Taylor

"Dearest Ryan, Just know that even if your time here was more brief than we would have liked, you were here for a reason. You made a difference in everyone you encountered. You will be etched in my memory as the guy who always strived to be a better person. The reason for your existence was to remind me to always strive to better myself. I pray your pain has stopped. I now have an aching pain knowing that you're no longer here to send me a damn birthday card. I love you very much, Ryan!!!" - Gregory Cook

"This last week has been one of the hardest that I hope I ever have to experience in my life. The hardest moment for me was on Wed night at ten o'clock, when normally Ryan would be at my doorstep, waiting to watch our little show "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List," and he wasn't there. The most fitting way I can say goodbye is how Ryan answered the phone every time I called, in his best Ab-Fab British voice. 'Sweetie, Darling,' I love you more than I can ever say and you will be truly missed, but never forgotten." - Collin Hinshaw

"There was so much love at your funeral I wanted to harness it all, beam it to Heaven and have you ride it back down to us so we could give you a great big hug one more time. What has give me comfort in the past, I will share it, because I believe this is how Ryan would want you to remember him: 'Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep; I am a thousand winds that blow; I am the diamond lint on snow; I am the sunlight on ripened grain; I am the golden autumn rain; When you wake in the morning hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circling flight; Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.' I will miss you always." - Uncle Rick

"I will forgive you for taking yourself away from us all. Like everyone else, I can not begin to fathom why you did this, but I know you are super intelligent and did what you felt passionately that you needed to do. I will never forget about you Ryan and will see you when I'm done here as well. Now I'm gonna listen to a song that always made me think of you and now always makes me think of you and cry: A1-Caught in the Middle." - Ishmael Burns

This last week, Seattle lost one of the most loved people we have. We won't forget, we won't get over it, and we certainly won't understand why; but, in his name, we'll commit to look around us and forever remember to tell those we love how much they mean to us, in hopes that suicide like this won't happen again. You can read these and many, many, many more tributes to Ryan, and add your own, at You'll forever be changed by this man - I promise.

Beau Burriola is a local community watcher, forever changed by those around him. E-mail him at:

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