Reflection by Ron

I’ve been struggling with the loss of Ben and Gil.  Ben and I were roommates that became good friends.  We had a quirky, but real, brotherly love.  Ben is a major influencer in my life.  When I met him, I said, “Here’s a guy who will teach me things.”  Ben had been exposed to the world.  Ben would sit anyone down for 3-6 hours with his giant atlas and recap his adventures around the world.  He had stories that gave me a thirst to explore the world and journey through uncharted territories in my life.  He showed me how to put everything I’ve got into the pursuit of one dream.

Ben loved the outdoors, but he also loved intellectual conversation and debate.  I don’t recall many days we didn’t discuss something in depth.  Granted many of these conversations revolved around other roommates’ habits. 

We were an odd pair.  He liked the beach and I wanted nothing to do with it.  I wanted to be a hermit and he forced me to be myself.  We ended up having parties, planned discussions, dinners, random BBQs and celebrations.  He even coaxed me to go into the woods September 2010.  That was the last time I saw Ben’s smile in person.

The things that I will remember most about Ben are his quirks and his smile.  Ben loved his liquid milk and dry milk cereal combination.  To him, Russian food and kefir were superior grocery items (and I can’t remember why).  He taught me that it’s more important to pay for lifestyle than it is to have money in the bank; hence, our house in La Jolla (even though I never went to the beach).  When I had my first play produced, he analyzed it and told me it was the most electrifying work he had ever seen.  I could be the next somebody because what I was talking about was actually important!  He was my first fan.  I’ll never forget that Ben believed all girls wanted him.  He’d act as though it was common knowledge with his signature shrug and eyebrow lift.  He was of the most open-minded people I’ve come to know.  And, he would literally remind me of that. 

What I will remember most about Ben is his unwillingness to give up.  He broke so many bones, but he would insist on pursuing his dream lifestyle.  I remember when he had surgery on his elbow because he had broken it while cycling (this was the second elbow he broke).  He had surgery, but less than two weeks later he was out running again.  “Ben.  What you need to do is sit down somewhere.  You crazy,” I said.  “No, man.  I have to run, so when I ride again, my time will still be good.  I’m an athlete,” and then he’d shrug and laugh. 

I will always remember Ben.  Every time I walk down the dairy isle, every trip I take, and every step I make towards my dream.  He held me to a standard and believed I could do whatever I wanted if I focused and never gave up.  Ben is one of the biggest influences in my life.  I wish I could’ve told him that in person.  I wish I could’ve told him that I never wanted to let him down.  And, I won’t.  Ben left this world in the pursuit of glory.  And, I’m all right with that because he was.


Given at Ben’s Memorial Service on August 14, 2012: