Lucas taught me *so* much about Love. I was not his girlfriend; we were soul friends.
He always knew our love was sacred. It was truly Platonic, and this is something so very beautiful. In order to understand this beauty, we must think of where the idea of Platonic love originates. Plato’s Socrates presented it as “a means of ascent to contemplation of the divine.” What could be more divine than Love on this ephemeral, mortal world? Lucas and I contemplated Love with one another on a regular basis. By this, I mean that he would always tell me that he valued me and loved me—he praised me relentlessly, sometimes to the point of bafflement, and perhaps annoyance. And I always happily and openly reciprocated his praise. I think I might understand why this is. Lucas, himself, experienced so many unfortunate and untimely deaths in his life, so he had an acute understanding of how precious life really is. I watched him grieve the loss of a friend, and I saw both his pain and his perseverance. What’s more, he prepared me how to mourn him by demonstrating virtue and fortitude when life dealt him a painful blow. He focused on being compassionate and positive, even in the immediate wake of loss.
We were prepared to be friends for a lifetime. He wrote this on my birthday card: “This card gave me a good laugh (it was a card with redneck jokes and a squirrel on the front). I thought you would enjoy,” he wrote, “Happy Birthday! Here is to celebrating many more together.” This card accompanied a bright bouquet of flowers on the morning of my birthday; as soon as I walked into the writing center, they were there to greet me. I was greatly anticipating the time I would spend with my guaranteed life-long friend. I wish it would have been longer, beloved friend, and I wish we could be hanging out together, writing together, and talking together into old, saggy, ancient age. But it was not to be, and that’s OK.
Because when we let people into our lives, when we form attachments of any kind to people, we are making ourselves vulnerable. When we have the courage to trust Love, and let people in like Lucas did, we make an implicit contract with that person that says, “I am willing to suffer the pain of your passing when you leave.” When we are willing to pay that price for people, when we have the courage to let Love in, and say “I will shoulder the burden of your absence when you die because the connection we share—the Love we share— is ultimately worth it.” Lucas knew that. He was willing to pay that price a hundred times over, because he made himself so vulnerable to me so often. He shared his emotions honestly and openly, and told me—in no uncertain terms—that I was “awesome”, every time I saw him. And that he loved me.
He often spoke so frankly that I think it seemed confrontational to some people. But it rarely was; he spoke with so much honesty that I think it would actually take us off guard sometime. Honesty like that is so rarely heard in this world (and never so loudly) that we may have been stunned by the uncommon timbre of Honesty and Truth. In a world that troubled Lucas, where media and politics seem to present an unprecedented amount of lies and falsehood, he continued speaking honestly. He was unapologetically loud because he spoke with integrity, and he knew that truth and honesty shouldn’t be silenced. He was never afraid to speak up. I do think that it is truly significant that Lucas was loud— his very character was a metaphor for integrity. And I swear to God and Academic Honesty that he told me once that he knew his defining characteristic would be that he was loud, and that people would remember him that way posthumously. He was compassionate loudly. He was hilarious, loudly. He was honest, loudly.
And by passing, Lucas, you continue to teach me about Love. Since your passing, I can feel your joy and your Love flowing through me, and spilling into all areas of my life. I’ve felt a thrill of happiness every time I’ve seen one of my friends, or my family, or my coworkers and colleagues. I have felt a supreme gratitude for this community. I just want to be a cheerleader for those I care about, like you did for me, Lucas. Most of all, you’ve demonstrated to me, clearly, that Love is a thing that persists despite our physical presence. Because even though we won’t be talking anymore (or texting, or FaceTiming, or Snapchatting), my heart is so full of Love for you— and so full of gratitude. My Love for you, Lucas, extends into forever.
He rests in peace– but the kind of peace that comes with exuberant, overwhelming, beautiful, unapologetically loud joy.
In memory of Lucas, MSU Denver has established The Lucas Fund Memorial Scholarship. This is for young adults who are pursuing a career in the field of writing and have received a GED. Lucas was an inspiration and this scholarship will share his spirit and legacy to other generations and students. To donate: elevate.msudenver.edu/TheLucasFund