What do you do when the kid who shared your kids' ups and downs and made himself part of our family dies? Every tribute, every picture makes me aware that he was there for good times and bad. When my son got shot up with a marble bomb, so was Ryan. When I yelled at my kids and they knew they were in trouble, Ryan knew he was in trouble with them. If we all hung out by the pool and laughed all day at dumb stuff, even though Ryan only LOOKED at the water, he was family. If we wanted to share good news, we called him. If something went on with our family, he was there.
How do I mend this sick hole in my heart? When the filming started, way back when, you were the one who always talked me through it and one of the only ones that helped me clean up! Even though you little daredevils were jumping in the sewer water and off bridges, smashing yourselves up on bikes and getting clotheslined, I always knew that you all would be here. I am supposed to go before the kids. It is almost two weeks since you have been gone, Ryan, and it is hitting me more each day. I think about Angie and pray that she gets through these days without you. I have to say, that the last few times we talked, you did seem to have a certain "peace" that I haven't seen before and I have to believe that you were in a pretty good place.
Several times a day, people come up to me and tell me how sorry they are for our loss, cards and letters come, and I realize that the world knows just how much we loved him. Ryan, I am keeping your phone number on my phone ... I am never deleting it. You were our friend and our "extra" son, and I will never forget you. We love you and miss you.
April & Phil
I met Ryan Dunn in 10th grade Graphic Arts class. One of our first assignments was to silk-screen a T-shirt for Earth Day. Our teacher, Mr. Rob, paired up me and Ryan for the project. What a mistake that was. After much laughter and sarcasm (something Dunn was a master of), we sketched up a design of an overflowing trash can with text over it that just said "Trash is good! Earth is dumb!" Needless to say, we shared the same messed-up humor and hit it off immediately. The next year, I started a band with some dudes from town and Ryan was the singer. He couldn't sing at all, but he was such a character and was so passionate about the idea of being in a band that there was no way I could say no to him.
That's the thing about Ryan, he was so passionate about everything all the time. It was very inspiring to be around him. For example, even if we were about to get in a shopping cart and slam through a fence into a brick wall, he would somehow talk me into thinking that it was going to be fun. He lived life full-force all the time with the pedal to the metal, and unfortunately for us, he drove that way, too. I mean, fuck, he flipped me in a Volkswagen Jetta ten times and they found me 40-feet away in the goddamn forest. But you know what? The very next day we were at school laughing our asses off about the huge traffic jam our accident caused. That car accident taught me one of the best things I have ever learned: To not sweat the small stuff in life. And Ryan Dunn taught me to never take yourself too seriously and that no matter what happens—good or bad—you can always find something to laugh at.
I feel lucky to have been Ryan's friend for the past 17 years. I feel lucky that I lost the high school "Battle of the Bands" with him. I feel lucky that I got to climb a mountain in the middle of Iceland with him. He was one of a kind, and it hurts so fucking bad to think that I'm not going to be able to see him anymore. I'm going to miss him so very much, every single day. I guess all I can really say is... thanks for all the laughs, Ryan. I hope you know how much you meant to all of us who were lucky enough to call you a friend.