In Memory of Alex Davis: May 11, 1986 – December 9, 2008

December 16, 2008 at 5:22 am 6 comments

My mother’s friend recently described Alex as a troubled genius. The tragedy behind his sincere compassion and overwhelming intellect was that it existed in direct proportion to a thorough comprehension of all the sadness in the world well beyond his years. Along with his depth and an incredible capacity for kindness and empathy, Alex carried with him a heavy heart. The one relief death brought was the unloading of this incredible burden from his mind and soul.

Carson McCullers, another brilliant yet disturbed soul, wrote The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter in her early twenties. In one of the novel’s pivotal passages, Reverend Blount reflects:

There are those who know and those who don’t know. And for every ten thousand who don’t know there’s only one who knows. That’s the miracle of all time – the fact that these millions know so much but don’t know this. It’s like in the fifteenth century when everybody believed the world was flat and only Columbus and a few other fellows knew the truth. But it’s different in that it took talent to figure that the earth is round. While this truth is so obvious it’s a miracle of all history that people don’t know.”

“Know what?” We might ask. Alex “knew,” and the burden of truth exists in the answer therein.

Alex always wanted to start a family of his own. In fact, my parents thought he would give them grandkids before I ever did. For two summers, Alex worked as an aide for Humble ISD’s Extended Year Special Education Program. After spending a delightful Fourth of July with the students, Alex recounted the experience to his grandmother, Tita: “We had a blast as we celebrated the holiday with a parade!” “A parade?” Tita asked, “How did you have a parade on a school day?” “Well, we marched through the hallways of the school, banging on classroom objects as if they were musical instruments. The pure and simple joy these kids showed on their faces, Tita, it was incredible.” From that point forward, Alex considered a career in special education.

Alex sometimes displayed intellectual and emotional depth in mysterious ways. In high school, Alex had to research the artwork of a famous person who wasn’t known for being an artist. He came home that day and showed me various online images of Hitler’s paintings. “Did you have any idea that Hitler could paint?” he asked me. “No,” I replied, “but that doesn’t change the fact that he was responsible for the Holocaust.” “I know that,” he retorted, “but just imagine what might have been if he had applied his creative energy toward art instead of hatred.” Alex then threw himself completely into the project and produced a brilliant paper on Hitler’s hidden talent. He always reflected upon alternative possibilities instead of tragic realities.

We are on the brink of a revolution, and, at first, I felt immensely regretful that Alex would not get to experience the events in their entirety. But now I think about the huge role he has already played: by voting this November, by graduating at the top of his class from the University of North Texas with a sociology degree, by adamantly expressing his desire for world peace and a more equitable distribution of wealth, by touching so many people with such a limited time frame. Alex loudly and unequivocally demanded so much from those he loved. And it puts me at peace to say that somehow, someway, we gave it to him.

alexchill1

Alex’s online memorial

Entry filed under: Speech. Tags: , , , , , .

The (Out of) Shape of Things The Celestial Trampoline

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ann Pace  |  December 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    There’s so much that can be said about Alex. We grew up together and I think the phrase “troubled genius” captures his essence flawlessly. I prefer to remember Alex the way I’ve always known him- bright, compassionate, and always fun to be around- and not dwell on his extremely premature departure, as devastating as it is. I can’t imagine the depth of the sorrow his family must be experiencing right now, and extend the deepest sympathy to them. I’ll always keep Alex in my heart and his family in my thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace.

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  • 2. Lauren Davis  |  December 19, 2008 at 3:52 am

    Thank you for your kind words, Ann. We will always remember the good times.

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  • 3. George Picha  |  February 24, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Alex was a great friend when I was young. I’ll always remember going around the corner to play Sega at his house, jumping on the trampoline, and swimming in the new pool. Those were fun times. I wish we kept in touch after I moved out of Humble.

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  • 4. Eric Wiley  |  July 24, 2010 at 2:13 am

    We love you Alex. Thank you for all of the memories.

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  • 5. Trevor Sala  |  December 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Alex was a one of a kind person. The kind that if we had a lot more of in this world… I can only imagine what our planet’s potential and unified beings would be capable of. You could sit and talk for hours with Alex about life.. or anything for that matter. His voice captivated you. His words made you want to be a better person. I’m glad I was able to be a part of his life and him a part of mine.. as I’m sure everyone he met feels as well.

    My deepest sympathies to his family. Lauren.. I never got the chance to meet you.. but it’s comforting to know that he still lives on this earth, this existence, through you. His kindness and awe will always be remembered.

    I know wherever he may be now… he’s having a blast! And he’s probably got that big goofy smile on which I know and love 😀

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  • 6. Dan Adrian  |  January 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Alex was brilliant.

    I still find myself reflecting on my cherished conversations with him, effortlessly learning more with each careful reflection. My fiancee knows Alex well, although she never had the opportunity to meet him in person. It’s funny how such a relatively short time spent with someone truly gifted can leave such a permanent impression on you; one that lasts in your personality, mind, psyche and spirit forever.

    Thank you for writing this. I really enjoyed reading this, as my memories still burn and smolder with Alex’s intensity and unforgettable laughter : )

    I’m not one to bare my soul with everyone, but Alex taught me so much in such a short time, I must give him credit and pay homage. I am truly thankful for getting to experience life with such a wonderful person and I know, no matter how old I become, I will always hear Alex’s laughter and see his Cheshire cat smile. I bet he’s banging on the drums and singing Third Eye Blind even as I write this…

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