EULOGY FOR TIMOTHY RYAN AHER
Authored by Greg F. Price, Joshua Rinschler and Manish S. Antani
Delivered by Manish S. Antani
February 20, 2008
University of Notre Dame London Center, London, UK
Tim and I planned on living together next year in South Bend, and it wouldn’t be lying to say he sort of lived with me last year. Two nights before the first Contracts exam, a bunch of us were studying at my apartment until late. Shocking as this may sound, South Bend got some snow…three feet of it in fact. While Tim was the only one to accept my offer to spend the night, I was happy to offer him my floor…and he was happy to take it. In fact, Tim was happy to stay indefinitely.
Soon, he became a household fixture. I woke one morning to find his toothbrush in my bathroom, returned home one day to see he had brought home groceries. Soon we were doing each others laundry and planning supper around one another. I told everyone to sleep over until the weather cleared. Tim took me seriously…he wanted to stay ‘til Spring.
I was happy to have the company, and who better than Tim? Last year it felt like Tim was my hidden gem. Tim was the same wonderful person he was this year—funny, brilliant, at times a bit offbeat — however, while he was loved by everyone he met, few knew him. I reveled in the fact that despite being…well…Tim, he always made time to hang out with me, he always was willing to grab a meal, to share a story, prep for an exam, or watch tv. I feel privileged to have known ND Law’s best kept secret. As I look around the room today, its clear: The secret’s out.
Not only because of the kind of group we have here in London, but also because of the kind of person Tim was, I can say with certainty, he loved every one of us.
Tim, the feeling’s mutual.
After all, what’s not to like? Tim brought a smile to everyone around him. And rightly so, Tim’s smile was infectious. One of Tim’s friends at the University of Chicago spoke with me on the phone about a recent reflection session held by Tim’s undergrad friends: Kareem’s view mirrored our own sentiments, he said, “He was just too awesome! There really is nothing that anyone could find about Tim that was negative.” He thought about it a bit, paused, and I could hear him smile…“Well,” Kareem smirked, “…maybe his laugh was a bit loud…”
Laughing came naturally to Tim, though not always at the most appropriate times. Even so, Tim would never have taken pleasure in making others feel bad. One of Tim’s best qualities was his accepting nature. I felt like I could tell him anything and he would never judge me. He prided himself on being a bridge builder. The fact that today we have a Muslim, a Catholic, an Atheist, and a Hindu speaking in his memory demonstrates just this.
As Father Coughlin mentioned at the campus-wide memorial Tuesday, Tim had such compassion for everyone, even those he never met. Tim worked last winter preventing AIDS victims from being evicted. And spent the summer doing public interest in Connecticut. Tim hoped to help there again this summer and after graduation. Tim was a giver.
And it is for this reason that I am so grateful to be able to give back to Tim in this small way. The greatest privilege of my life is to stand before you, as Tim’s friend.
I met Tim soon after starting at Notre Dame and was glad to find out that we were both vegetarians. Having someone to share meals with helped me during the difficult early stages of law school. However, this often meant I had to eat what Tim wanted to eat. This burden I think was summed up best by Greg when he said, “I’ve only had food poison 4 times in my life…3 of them were with Tim.”
No doubt many here have had similar experiences. Tim was not only always willing to try new things, he was always anxious to share them with friends. And who wasn’t Tim’s friend? Tim transcended trends, cliques, and ideologies. A quote by James Fredericks illustrates Tim’s approach to friendship, “The vitality of a relationship is not in the enjoyment of similarities but in the honoring of differences.”
And, Tim was different.
1.) To say Tim was intellectually superior would be a gross understatement,
2.) To say Tim was a hit with the ladies would be a bit of an overstatement,
3.) And, to say Tim was hygienic…would be a lie.
But none of these characteristics defines Tim’s essence. We will remember Tim for being brilliant, giving, accepting, and good-humored. He was a good person and a good friend, but Tim would want to be remembered for how he made us feel,
- how he brought joy into our lives through his wisdom and his laughter,
- and—perhaps even more importantly—how he has brought awareness to us through his tragic death.
Tim’s attitude towards life was a testament to his concern and love for other people. While Tim displayed an idle sense of whimsy and carefree sprit; he was bravely hiding an internal struggle. Tim was overwhelmed...with anxiety…and sadness—demons he had been fighting for many years.
Tim spent his time here on earth teaching us about Hagel, Norwegian black metal, Neo-Trotsky-ism, and homo sa-cer. In death, he is still teaching us. The lesson this tragedy illustrates is the necessity to love life, live every moment, and be there for one another. Tim was with us as long as he was because 1) he had friends, 2) because we cared, 3) and because he sought help. While Tim’s demons eventually overcame him, our battle is not over. We must take up Tim’s torch in pursuit of a cure, and in the meantime, the care of each other.
Wikipedia defines death as, “the end of the life of a biological organism.” While Tim’s natural life is over, he lives on in everyone in this room:
- Sheryn will smile a little brighter every time she tries to remember Professor Adams’ email address,
- Josh will relish in the study of Wittgenstein
- Lawrence will find rhythm in Noise, and solace in the unknown,
- Tom will laugh spontaneously, without fear of embarrassment,
- And neck beards will be all the rage in London this spring.