Good morning everyone.

My name is Barbara Westerberg, and I was Ken Meyer’s piano teacher for ten years. As a result, I knew him very well. I also knew Quinn. This is a very sad time for all of us. We are mourning the passing of two men who left us too soon. I am going to talk mostly about Ken. He and Quinn were two of a kind. Both of them were extremely intelligent, were interested in a variety of subjects and activities and were willing to take risks so that they could live a full life.

Ken Meyer was a unique person. He was incredibly balanced. His mind and body were connected and coordinated. This was probably why he could take up new skills rather late in life, and excel at them. If I could describe Ken in one phrase, I would call him a 20th century Renaissance man. He worked hard and he played hard. He loved scholarly tasks and he loved physical exercise. He loved horses and he loved airplanes. One could see his yin and yang very clearly. He was interested, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about so many things. Ken had a remarkable mind. He is one of the few adults I know, who could think and learn like a child. He could “open a new file” in his mind, enter all the information, and it was immediately processed.

In his music, he could noodle around on the piano, but once he started thinking about notes, then his penchant for precision got in the way of the flow and rhythm of the music. This was a major frustration for him. He could read music beautifully, but not quickly. He never grasped the notion of using the musical score as a reference. He could memorize quickly, but he could never check himself with the score. However, that didn’t stop him from enjoying the piano. I never had a student who loved to play for the pure fun of it like Ken.

If we compare the game of life to a basketball court, we can understand Ken’s thinking. To score, it is much safer to take the ball up the center of the court, but it is more crowded there and harder to penetrate. However, on the edge of the court, if your feet stay inside the line, the ball remains alive; if you cross the line, the ball is dead. In life, Ken used the whole court, but when he was near the line, he used his incredible knowledge, well-coordinated body, common sense and precision to go up to it, but still stay inside.

I used to have bad feelings when he would describe some of the things that he would do (sky-diving, for example.) We had an agreement – he would talk about his adventures after they happened rather than before. In mid-June, Ken, Quinn and Christina and Art and I went out to dinner. Ken and Quinn talked about their upcoming trip by small plane to San Diego, and I could see the sparkle in their eyes, like this was going to be a great thing to do. On Monday, August 2, Ken Meyer came to the house for what was his last piano lesson. After the lesson he described the trip. I had that “bad feeling” again. He talked about the flight plan, and the trip into the mountains. He knew that it was risky, but he wanted to do it. I held my tongue for two reasons. First, he had always returned, and Second, no matter what I would say, he would do it anyway.

Many times he would come to a lesson with a bruised shoulder, hand, knee, etc. I once asked him, “Why do you batter your body chasing balls, pucks, whatever around a small area?” He turned to me, and with a patient look on his face, simply said “Barbara, it’s a testosterone thing.”

Grief is very elusive. It is not something you can get over. It is a process. It comes and goes. We all have had a terrible shock that has affected all of us physically, mentally and emotionally. I realized that shortly after our son, Ken, died three and a half years ago. My goal has been to find peace and understanding within myself and with his death. As a result of my journey with grief, I have a couple of suggestions for you. One – Accept what has happened unconditionally. Two – Don’t torment yourself. How can you avoid torment? – three things. One – Think of the memories that you have. Remember the positive and fun things that Ken and Quinn said and did. Remember them and smile. You don’t have to think about them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You didn’t do that while they were alive. Two – create a place where you can put all the pictures, etc. that you have of them as well as your other memorabilia. To ease your mind, write out your memories. Then you won’t have to worry about forgetting any details. Three – Because of the nature of their deaths, don’t ask any unanswerable questions. Ask the question once, if you like. If there is no answer, abandon it as unanswerable. These questions begin with “How could” or “Why” or “What if.”

I asked myself one of those questions and I will give you my answer. We all know Ken and Quinn loved to fly, they loved to take risks, they loved adventure, and they loved to see and do new things. That was the way they were. Why did they go into the mountains even if it was risky? Because the mountains were there – they had to see them, feel them, experience them. If I could use my imagination, they probably really enjoyed those mountains when they first went in. These were a couple of guys, with ample amounts of adrenalin and testosterone flowing through their veins, marveling at the sight and the beauty of those majestic mountains.

In closing, I want to say to all of you – Be strong and take care of yourselves. To all of you plus Ken and Quinn, I wish to say – Go in peace and go with God. To Ken and Quinn, I would like to say – I know you really wanted to go into the mountains, and I forgive you for leaving us so soon.

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