Minutes passed, but they seemed like hours, as we awaited a verdict on the life of Alexander S. Trussell. The ICU waiting room was filled with conversations, most of which circulated around Truss. The room had a great deal of hope in the air, as most of us did not yet know the severity of the trauma. Finally, after a few hours of conversing with many close friends and family members of Trussell’s, his father came into the ICU waiting room. We all knew the news couldn’t be good before Brian Trussell muttered a word. The emotion he conveyed with his face told us everything. With Truss dependent on life support, the chances of him waking up from the coma and breathing on his own again were slim to none.
At this point it felt as if all of the air was sucked out of the lobby room. Tears began to roll down the faces of everyone. Silence quickly consumed the room, as the news left the lot of us speechless. We all sat in contemplation for 20 minutes or so, until Trussell’s father, Brian, finally re-entered the room.
“Is this what you guys have been doing this entire time since I’ve been gone?” said Brian, as we all peered up from our states of disbelief.
Even in the hardest of moments, Trussell’s father kept our spirits up with his kindly attitude and ability to add humor to a situation that was downright dreadful.
Two weekends ago the world lost a genuine man and I too lost a dear friend. He was a public servant, educator, friend, boyfriend, coach, son, brother and much more. He didn’t measure his life based on merit or achievements, but on the change he could institute through the means he was given. Trussell was a University of Nevada, Reno alum who was struck by a car while crossing Virginia St., late Saturday night. The driver who struck Trussell proceeded to flee the scene and ditch his car. After a night a man by the name of Brian Pippen came forward taking blame for the hit and run. A small victory, as it gave Trussell’s loved ones some sort of closure. In wake of Pippen turning himself in, the accident still left Trussell’s family and friends’ lives in turmoil, as we all clung to the same wish- the chance to hear Truss’s voice one last time.
Most of my first semester of freshman year was spent crashing on my older brother’s couch, who happened to be Trussell’s roommate, fraternity brother and best friend. Trussell grew on me quickly, as his personality was contagious; half of which was attributed to the big heart he had, the other half, the witty comebacks that left many rolling with laughter. Not only did Truss quickly become a great friend to me, but him and my older brother taught me how to “college.” Which is surprisingly a harder feat than most may think. They told me, what seemed like lore book college stories, in large part to prepare me for what lied ahead. But also so I knew what needed to be done to create my own book of stories that could eventually one-up theirs’. I heeded much of their advice, but found myself stuck between a rock and a hard place, when faced with a decision of what to do next. On one hand I wanted to continue hanging out with my older brother and Trussell, because it was hard to have a bad day with those two around. But on the other hand, I’d never be able to trump their college days, if I didn’t have any memorable ones of my own. So, being that my older brother and Trussell’s college days had concluded, I chose the latter, contacting them less and less, beginning to create stories of my own.
I now found myself in the first semester of my sophomore year of college, not leaving anything to the imagination, in regards to my extracurricular schedule. The semester began to fly by, as I had little time for myself, let alone any other people. But as soon as I gained a decent grasp of my reality and schedule, I started reaching out to my friends to catch up on old-times and hopefully create more everlasting memories.
Just two weekends ago I contacted my brother to watch Sunday football like the good ol’ days. Once I arrived, I greeted my old roommates, as I did once live rent free on their couch for quite sometime. We all exchanged our hellos, most of which were followed by clever disses. We all sat around the Television set and bantered back and forth about football, as the age-old argument about who’s team is better ran it’s course throughout the room. Trussell’s team was the 49er’s. That was whenever he decided he wanted to watch football again, which was basically never. So while we watched the game, he graded his student’s papers with his girlfriend Mims. He’d read the story aloud and we would all comment how many points we believed the students should receive. Trussell took some of our suggestions into consideration, but most of the time he had his mind made up before we would even throw out a number. These were the moments I truly relished in life, for one sole reason; everyone that was there wanted to be there. It was a present to be in the midst’s of all of them, especially Truss.
The lives we live are not small, or unimportant. Everyone that walks this Earth has a purpose and means something to someone. Losing Truss gave me a new perspective on life; it works in mysterious ways, but no matter where you find yourself always take into account how lucky you are to be alive and be surrounded with whatever love has found its way into your life. The worst part about it all was the fact that it took losing a spectacular friend to come to this realization. We have all heard it before, but it is as true today as it was a hundred years ago, “You don’t know what ya got ‘till its gone.” Thank you for the memories, kind words, guidance and affection, Alexander S. Trussell. The good truly do die young.
Brandon Cruz studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.