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Protector of the Sea

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


"I was even havin' a good day, when I found out we lost you."

Alex has been gone for 4 years. It seems like just yesterday I came back to my dorm room after dinner at Chipotle to strange messages from some of my closest friends, all who wouldn't say exactly what was going on but only that they needed to talk and that they were sorry. Minutes later my roomates were trying to help me figure out what was going on. One of them got an IM from her friend, "Did you hear about the senior who died?" She read it to me and responded "Please tell me who. I think it is one of my roomates friends." I looked over her shoulder and read "Alex Naden." I was in shock as anyone in this situation would be. Before I could even process anything, someone knocked on our dorm. It was my friend Kim who lived down the hall. She was crying and we hugged and cried and cried and cried. After that, the calls and messages kept coming in. A large group quickly gathered across campus at someone's house. Everyone was in tears or silent. The German exam I had to take the next day was the last thing on my mind.

I thought about Alex everyday for 2 years. I still feel very fortunate that I ran into him at the Food Court the day before he left us. I said goodbye and got to see his beautiful smile one last time.

His parents returned to campus my senior year for a bench dedication. Alex always sat around the benches outside of the Underground - the first place I met Alex. I was selfishly going to keep a picture of Alex and some other friends who worked at the Underground that had been taken my freshman year. Marie talked me out of it. Instead, I gave the picture to Mr. Naden and told him that not a day went by where I didn't think of Alex, how wonderful Alex was and how proud I was to have known his son. His dad thanked me over tears. I considered this closure.

I now only think of Alex from time to time. I sometimes see people who look like him and start to chase them down before I remember. I was driving home the other night with my Ipod on shuffle and Radiohead came on. I immediately thought of Alex. Alex spent hours making Radiohead B-sides and rarities mixed CDs for the Underground. I always considered it a treat. I have so many things to thank Alex for...first and for most my friends. If it wasn't for Alex, I wouldn't have met the students that became my friends. Mostly, I want to thank Alex for making me smile. Whether it was telling me my crush was coming down to the Underground for my number or just doing a silly dance, he always made me and everyone smile. Even in his death, Alex continues to give his greatest gift- the gift of loving life.

We all miss you.


  • At 3:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is a lot of music that reminds me of him. Us arguing over the merits of Bjork, him and Mike Roth dancing to James Brown and Dire Straits, him breakdancing to "Apache." When the Underground closed this year, I stole his favorite mug.

  • At 3:58 AM, Blogger Katy said…

    Sorry about that, that last one is me.

  • At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this is a really beautiful tribute. thanks.

  • At 9:36 AM, Blogger Brian said…

    I grew up with Alex in Va Beach and still think about him all the time too. It's great to know that so many people still think about him.

    Brian Duncan

  • At 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I also went to middle and high school with alex. He was an amazing guy. I googled him today because i realized he would have been31 last week, i believe on jan 16. How i still remember that i dont know. But alex was always how you described him--even as a 13 year old. Love you buddy, stillmiss you.


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