Saturday, February 9, 2008

Inspiration Has A Name...

by Jason Jones

Terrence Webster.

You may not know him. I did not know him. We should have. We all would have been better people had we known him. For those that did, you should feel extremely privileged. Terrence was a smart, clever, funny, witty, and educated young man from what I gathered. I may not have known Terrence, but I do know a handful of people who knew him.

To show my support for their loss, I felt compelled to attend Terrence Webster’s Memorial Service. It truly was more of a celebration than a memorial service, and by far the best one I had attended to date. When we first walked in, I felt completely out of place. Within the first 3 minutes of the service, I felt as if I knew Terrence. So much so that I began fabricating memories of what it must have been like to know him. When it was over, I had shed tears and shared moments that will probably have a positive effect on my life going forward. Maybe that is the greatest compliment I can give to the recently departed. We all want to think that we have reflected our family positively. For most, that would be enough. For the entire Webster family and all of Terrence’s friends and acquaintances, you all should be proud you had the opportunity to know him and know his life reflects well on all of you. I never had that opportunity, however, I will take with me a piece of Terrence in the hopes that he may affect me in the way he affected all of you.

Terrence Webster was a junior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who tragically lost his life some 60 years before he should have. If you are interested in learning more, I am sure there is no shortage of people who would love to share his life with you in a way that I cannot. Terrence was the guy you see in the movies. He is the guy who knows almost everyone. He’s the guy no one has ever uttered a negative word about. He’s the guy that makes everyone feel a little better about anything. When you hear someone mention how a certain person walks in a room, and the room lights up and all of the perils of the world melt away. Even if for only a moment, the person they are speaking of is Terrence Webster. He was active in school functions…often. He had already been to Europe. That alone is something most Americans cannot claim they’ve done, regardless of age. He seemed to be a very self aware individual, yet a focused person who understood his potential impact on the world, whether or not he knew how that conclusion would come.

If I had an opportunity to know Terrence Webster, I believe a certain number of things to be true. We would absolutely share an affection for everything Irish. We conversely, would disagree often on politics. I would probably question and maybe even razz him over his musical preferences, while in good fun. Inevitably, the most important, I would put myself in a position to be around him as much as possible within any social capacity. He was that kind of guy. He was the IT guy. The guy everyone wanted to be friends with, the guy people would want advice from, he was the friend everyone should've had.

Tonight, I watched as people of all varying ages and demographics came forward to share stories and their feelings of loss. Friends, family, and other people from the community all shared the same concept. Terrence was a great person who deserves to be recognized. Not because he would’ve expected it, but for the exact opposite reason. Terrence gave himself to everyone unconditionally. He never expected any recognition for it; he did it because that’s the guy he was. As a sign of unified thanks for all he had done for everyone around him, everyone around him came together to thank Terrence. Just about everyone has been asked, “If when you die, you have the opportunity to talk to anyone, who would it be?” Most people defer to Presidents, Religious icons, Musical heroes, or other famous people. After tonight, Terrence Webster is on my short list of people I await the opportunity to speak with.

On top of all of it, Terrence is the potential in all of us that is often never realized. In my own twisted way, Terrence is the guy I always wished and saw myself to be. He is the part of all of us who does more than seem humanly possible. He did all that he is required to and still finding time for everyone else, without hesitation. The sky may not have been the limit for this young man. Just by being around people who knew him, you felt strongly that whatever his goals and aspirations were, he would realize them. Ask yourself, “are you as successful as you thought you’d be?”, “are you as friendly and outgoing as you ought to be?”, “are you consistently as good a person as you can be?” These are all questions we should ask ourselves often. As evident from the people I witnessed today, these are questions that Terrence Webster would never have to ask himself.

It is never easy to lose someone prematurely. Whether you knew Terrence or have lost someone who may have effected you the way Terrence has affected so many, give them their due. There are millions of people who just go about their lives not stopping to do anything for anyone unless there is something in it for them. When you come across a person who gives him or herself so unselfishly, they should be revered whether they are with us currently or not. Those that are close to Terrence need to relish in what he had to offer. Don’t just “deal with it," celebrate him. It may be hard now, but there will be a time when it is easier. You will see him again, and if tonight was any indication, he will have some great stories and experiences to share with you. If you don’t know of Terrence Webster, I hope this has helped you to appreciate those around you and help you to strive to be a better person; as Terrence did.

It is clear to me; Terrence Webster affected a colossal number of people during his life. Although I never met him, you can add my name to the list of people he has affected.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you for presenting Terrence as he deserves to be remembered by the media, unlike local news stations that seem to fixate only on the damage his last moments caused. And thank you for unabashedly proclaiming how he has touched your life, even though you didn't know him. I barely knew him, having just recently started working at the school newspaper where he was a columnist. And I felt sort of bad for missing him, especially when seeing others who were much closer to him break down at the loss. I felt out of place at the memorial held where he taught capoeira. But you're right; even the brief amount of time I was around him was a blessing. I do feel like a better person, even just a little, for having met him.

I regret not being able to attend the UCCS sponsored memorial yesterday. My skull is being thoroughly raped by a nasty cold, and I could barely walk. I feel like I should have stumbled that way anyway, though, just to steal up stories and memories of Terrence.

Also, I regret never finding out about his favorite music before his untimely death. I was unaware that I was in the presence of the only other nerd-core fan I've ever met (assuming references to him liking mc chris are about the same mc chris I know and love).

Terrence, you are missed. Rest in peace.

Rick Morris said...

What an amazing piece. I am proud of everything we have up here on a creative level in terms of how we attack so many subjects; this is something I'm really proud that we have up here on a moral level. We all have a purpose, a destiny if you will and for this young man, it clearly was to inspire others in lieu of personally filling out those six decades you referred to in your column. You have just furthered his destiny significantly by placing his life into an easy-to-understand context for anyone who reads this. I am glad to see from the first comment that this profile is already in the hands of his family and friends and I pray that it gives them some comfort at a difficult time. I hope that other memorials emerge to Terrence that serve the same purpose, to inspire with the way he touched people's lives.