Day 48: Daniel's words
It’s the first day of October and we continue to honor the end of your life with us on the outside but your presence on the inside because of who you were. I continue to write daily letters for this sole purpose but today wanted you to read the amazing email from Daniel, written to me on August 22, merely a week after your death.
“I cannot put into words how sorry I am for your loss. I don't know what to say in times of great pain, and I find myself reflecting on great memories I have of your son. I wanted to share those memories with you as a way to show you how amazing of a friend he was to me, how well he treated others, and how he was the good in the world I wish I could be.
I am sorry that this is the circumstance under which I am introducing myself. My name is Daniel and I am currently in the Sports Product Management program. It was in this program that I met your son Karsten, and developed a great friendship with him. He represented everything good that a person could be and I am going to miss him a lot.
I knew going back to graduate school was going to be difficult and arriving at the campus on the first day of class last September, I was beyond scared. One of the first people I met that day was your son. He was friendly and happy to be there, and was kind enough to sit next to me and strike up a conversation. It probably wasn't a big deal to him, but it meant so much to me. He had a way to make everyone feel at ease, to feel important, and to feel that they belonged. He saw the good in everyone, but more than that he really looked for the good in everyone and it was easy to see in his interactions with everyone in the program.
We sat next to each other almost every class for the past three terms in our "unofficial, official assigned seats" that every college class seems to have. So many inside jokes, stories, laughs and frustrations were shared in those seats as we learned everything we could in this program.
We had really random traits in common, like the type of rap music we liked. I mentioned one day that I my favorite rappers were all from Houston and started listing off some of my favorite songs. Karsten got excited and showed me a picture where he dressed up as Paul Wall ( a Houston Rap Legend) for Halloween and every time music would come up, we would always talk about our favorite rap songs.
He was always up for any random idea I would come up with. We were taking a class trip to Eugene and I decided I wanted to go early and play basketball at the student rec center. He was more than up for the extra early ride, the mediocre games of 2 on 2, and gave us the best tour of the campus we could have asked for. He also impressed everyone with his athletic abilities that day too. His speed and quickness left us all standing still and watching him go by.
We always talked about working out and different workouts we should try. He let me come to the apartment gym at 38 Davis and taught me how to "hit mitts" with all his sparring gear. He told me all about the boxing classes he used to go to, how he always got paired up with the biggest guy in the class, and how he really enjoyed it. It was a ton of fun, and he showed his patience with my uncoordinated punches.
On our class trip to Europe, he made sure everyone ate at the best places he could find. He Yelped so many good restaurants and found so many hidden gems to help us experience. One was called Ruff's Burger in Hamburg, and a group of us sat there eating delicious burgers while the store stereo blasted classic hip-hop. It was a surprisingly good burger, and an even better time brought to us by Karsten's amazing Yelp skills. When we returned stateside, we kept the food adventures going and went to some amazing restaurants, had fun navigating the subways, and just enjoyed the big city. I've included a picture he took at a restaurant in NYC where we went to get ramen. I'm sitting next to Karsten, then Jeff and our friend Matt on the end.
Karsten wasn't afraid to share knowledge. I told him one weekend that I wanted to smoke a brisket and he took the time to tell me all of the best tips and tricks to make the brisket come out the best. He also made his incredible mac and cheese that night, and the group all feasted. I mistimed the brisket and we ended up waiting a couple hours longer than planned but he filled the time with stories from his time running a BBQ food truck, all the tricks he used to make the meats taste the best and just a ton of laughs.
In between classes at school we would always go outside and throw the football to relieve stress and to take a break. Just a couple of weekends ago he was up in Portland and he, Jeff, and I went to Sunset High school in Beaverton and threw the football around to keep the tradition going. We took turns running routes, playing defense, and trying to be quarterback. we picked up right where we had left off at the end of the term, and it was a really fun day.
Your son was such a good friend to me. He was always ready with a joke, a sarcastic look, or just a good laugh, all of which made school so much better.
I am very grateful for the time that I had to get to know your son. He was an amazing friend. I can’t put into words how sorry I am for your loss. If there is anything I can do to make your families burden a little lighter or to help carry on Karsten's memory, please let me know.” Daniel, Sports Product Management Program Class of 2019.
KT: We love you. Family and friends. We need to remember how you rolled and bring you along in our lives.