Monday, November 11, 2013

He was pushing 30... and didn't make it

Dustin would be 31 tomorrow. And because what I really feel like is breaking down and blubbering and sobbing uncontrollably and howling and dying myself thinking of the loss to everyone who loved him and the loss to himself and how this type of grief is unlike any pain I ever could have imagined, I'm going to post some of the wonderful things people had to say about him.
Joe, Logan, Colin, & Dustin: Wahkeena Falls 2010

"Dustin was [very] eloquent. He was really well spoken, thoughtful, principled, and apprised."

"[He was] tireless in the fight for equality for all people. All minorities, men, women, children to be treated with equal rights and respect."

At James' and Elvina's
"He was confident and he walked with poise. The man had some real determination. He was such a good guy. He wasn't a kid anymore. He was a man. We loved Dusty." "Then overnight, the potential exploded." "He was really going somewhere. He was well read and thoughtful and the maturity and self esteem over the last year was palpable. Once he made up his mind nothing was going to stop him." "Dude, I never understood how much of my life you had become."

"[Dusty was] very well read, really politically astute. He was just all muscle because of all the work he did, and he had a great brain too."

"Dusty always had poise and a wonderful mind." 

"Unlike so many late 20'somehings in our time he chose to enrich his life instead of wasting it. He broke current norms and decided to grow up. So sad that we will never see the fruit from the seeds he had planted in his life."

"Dustin really impressed me with his passion for and his ability to do research on separation of church and state issues. It's going to be hard to fill his shoes."
2010 Gay Pride Parade (he designed the t-shirts)

"[Dustin's] passing has been noted by many who had never even met him, both in the environmental movement and the freethought community, which were among his many interests. For those of you who met this young man at the Northwest Freethought Conference earlier this year and saw his passion for bringing science and reason without supernaturalism to his generation, no doubt you were as impressed as the several organizers of groups in attendance who scrambled to get him on board as a youth liaison."

"He was an inspiration and an example of someone who not only had great ideas but followed through with verve and intelligence."

Board Members of Americans United May 2011
"Dustin was a rising star in the freethought community. He was fully committed to humanist values, separation of church and state, equality for all people, environmental protection, and actively taking a stand for your beliefs regardless of who that offends. It is rare to find a volunteer who had both the passion and ability to pull off projects such as he tackled."

 "He was so focused, and friendly."

"He was 'On Fire' ! ... SERIOUSLY!!!" 

5th grade, rocking a mullet!
"U were the only kid in our 5th grade class that wore flannels and rocked the mullet!!!!"
Loved playing soccer

"Dustin u were a great individual.. although I hadn't seen you since the 9th grade, the good old days when we would hike thru David Douglas park, have pinecone wars till we almost passed out, spending the day hanging at the bench and skateboarding thru town without a care in the world, these are some of the best memories of my youth."

"I loved Dusty so much. He will be missed."

"He truly was a beautiful man inside and out." 

"Members of local political organizations frequently got invitations to volunteer with Dustin at the Oregon Food Bank. He was full of life and brought the fun. He is missed in our corner of the world as well." 

"I was always impressed at how intelligent & sweet he was... I knew that he was a stand up guy of great character. My prayers & thoughts go out to all of Dustin's friends & family that are affected by the loss of such a beautiful soul. "

"On my 18th birthday, just a few minutes after midnight, Dustin sent me a text that said 'happy birthday, little sister. Welcome to adulthood. Everything sucks from here on out. It just gets worse.' Haha I love him and his sense of humor. He was remarkable. His impersonations were so funny and his laugh was contagious." 

Dustin and the "infamous owl"
"He was a unique individual in all the right ways. Dustin was definitely going somewhere because he had passion for life and uncommon wisdom."

Dustin was my oldest child. When I had him at the age of 18, I learned instantly that I could be "in love" with a baby. I am so happy now especially that we had the first three years of his life together, just the two of us (well, his dad, too, but we spent a lot of time together just us two).

I am so grateful that even though we had it rough when he was a kid, due to poverty and domestic violence and drug abuse and the abandonment by his and Colin's father, that he grew up into a man with such integrity and caring and compassion. And passion. I love that he figured out what he wanted and went after it full bore, that he wasn't afraid to stand up for what he believed in regardless of the popularity of his beliefs. He once told me that he wished I had taught him how to be assertive. I told him I couldn't teach him what I didn't know myself. Well, he taught himself how to be assertive and by his example I am learning it now. One of my favorite things I found on the internet after he was killed was a statement he wrote at the end of a controversial opinion on a blog post: "I invite rebuttal."  It reminds me that everyone is not going to agree with what I do or how I do it or even like me (which is hard for me to believe!), but I'm going to speak up anyway because it needs to be said and I am driven to say it.

Thank you for all the "I love yous," Dustin. It means the world to me knowing those were our last words to each other. I will love you forever.


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