To the memory of Aeyn Edwards

It is difficult to welcome in the New Year with the death of a friend, but on January 3rd, Aeyn Edwards passed away. I had hoped that Aeyn would be able to read posts from this my new blog, that we would continue to be able to share the moments of life and discuss the ramifications of current events. So, even posting this my second post gives me that ache inside that everyone who loses someone feels: the emptiness and void.

The emptiness that Aeyn leaves is all the more painful because he lived such a full and rich life. He was so engaged with life, and this was contageous. Everyone who knew Aeyn can say that he both deepened and widened their life. He was full of energy and always ready for an adventure, but at the same time he could passionately and intellectually explore philosophy, current news events, or the global ramifications of our actions. He was a deeply good person.

For many years, Aeyn had battled physical pain as well as heartbreak and loss, so I am happy that there will be no more suffering; yet I wish with all of my heart that he could have continued to live. He seemed to hide much of his struggles and pain from so many, not wanting to trouble us with his struggles. He was gentle but also tough as nails. He rode his bike to chemo treatements.

I’ve only known Aeyn for two years, but I felt so connected with him from the first time I met him. Tamie and he had been friends for years, going back to the days when they both lived in Flagstaff. I was introduced to Aeyn through Tamie. Aeyn was the first gay atheist that I knew. With me being a straight Christian, it seemed an odd match, at least on paper. I always thought, though, from the first days that I knew him, that he embodied the life and teachings of Jesus as much as anyone else I knew. He was passionate about justice and goodness, putting his ethical ideas into action. He was always willing to speak up for what was right, but he treated people with grace and kindness. The central tenant of Jesus’s teachings, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” seemed to be motivating his life in every way.

Aeyn, your life was transformative to me because I was personally able to experience a common ground of goodness and love that transcended ideology or sexual orientation. I will always carry this with me.

As I sort through the tragedy of losing someone so young, so good, and so close, I keep coming back to one thing. Aeyn is one of those people whose death inpsires others to live a life that matters. I can say without question that if he had one last chance to speak he would talk about living a life that is full and a life that is good. He would want everyone to taste the richness of life and appreciate everything. He would also want us to live a nobel life, to think carefully about how our actions affect others, the environment, and future generations. The thing about Aeyn is that he doesn’t need to come back and say any of these things because his life spoke for him.

Aeyn, I love you. Your memory will live on. May you now be at peace, surrounded by love.

P.S. I will still clip out articles from the paper that I think you will want to read.

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

6 thoughts on “To the memory of Aeyn Edwards”

  1. I never met Aeyn. I realize now, I loved him. I found his FB page through a mutual friend. We shared a love of life and a struggle with cancer. I know he had pain, yet as I have learned, I don’t think he suffered. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. He was an inspiration to many–I am crushed at the loss of his brilliant light on this dimly lit path. I miss him.


  2. it is really really hard for me to express what i feel for my Aeyn. fromt the night he first introduced himself, he was just 19 or 20 at the time, in front of Little City (Austin) i have felt his spirit and deep sould – i had such a crush on this man and his wonderful depth. we were getting ready to see each other very soon, but now i guess we will have to wait a little bit longer. he was indeed FULL of life and had a bright light that held me…it was his beautiful soul. i count myself so fortunate to have known his beauty. i had spoken to him a few days before Christmas, 2010 and he was in such good spirits that his recent chemo was over and that we would hold each other while we slept…i’m so very sad today, but so happy because he has moved on and is now without suffering and pain. Aeyn, i will so very miss you and your beauty and love!!! till we meet again my dearest and sexiest man…many kisses and goodbyes.


  3. Thank you all for reading and sharing. It is so helpful to see how many people cared for Aeyn and can talk about his incredible life and spirit.

    David, I think many of us struggle with that same thing right now: having something we were going to be doing with Aeyn. I was going to meet Aeyn in Big Bend National Park in only a few days from now. These experiences are just left undone. I suppose that is how any death of a loved one is. You just have so much left to do and say.

    Peace to you all,


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