Wednesday, November 03, 2010

R.I.P. Jason Sanvido

I'm not sure how to even start this post.....My blood is still running cold, my stomach feels punched, and I just cannot wrap my brain around the news that I just came upon. I want to share some fond memories first....

For those of you who have followed this blog from it's inception, you may remember my mentioning my band of brothers from Milan. A group of guys that became some of my closest friends and who I made some of my best memories with. From partying in the clubs du jour to just hanging out at the park, or commuting to castings....these guys were my boys, true blue and blood.

One of those friends was a young Canadian named Jason Sanvido. He was 18 years old when I met him and his twinkling eyes and infectious smile made him an instant friend to all who met him. I remember being in awe of how incredibly smart he was. He had a photographic memory and could spout off facts about everything from history to technology like a walking set of Encyclopedias. He was kind, humble, caring, and always willing to listen. Wise and mature beyond his years. After our first season in Milan he was the first friend to call me on my phone to see how I was and make sure I had made it home well....that was Jason. Amazing kid.

Jason was one of an even smaller and closer group of friends from my original Milan crew...he was one part of the Dolce Crew. The Dolce Crew is the name we somehow ended with after that fated 24 hours in Venice, Italy when we were on the train back to Milan (I posted about this momentous occasion under The Naked Venice Bridge Jump). The 24 hours in which everyone except for little old me ended up naked and jumping off of the Rialto Bridge into the Grand Canal. I can't remember in which order Jason jumped...but he did. And along with everyone besides Jean-Paul, Ned and myself he ended up getting chased down, arrested and spending the night in jail for "desecrating" this Italian monument. Total rockstar!

Jason also happened to have his birthday the week following mine. He was my Gemini baby bro. For the two seasons we had in Milan together I threw parties at my apartment for our b-day celebrations. We made this horrible concoction of wine, limoncello and random fruit chunks inspired by Paul's sangria and then we'd all end up walking to Louisiana.

My 2nd season in Milan....(I posted about this night too) when Jeremy, Kari and I walked into the VIP of Gasoline, there was Jason hanging out at the bar with Geoff. This is one memory that I keep having run through my mind.......when I called out his name and he turned around and saw us standing there, he got the hugest grin on his face and literally dropped his drink from the surprise of seeing us. It was like that. So great.

Now...the news that has me reeling is that Jason, who I remember so very much alive, is no longer with us. After a random thread on Facebook that another one of our mutual friends and Dolce Crew members wrote, I decided to look for Jason on Facebook. He wasn't listed. I had tried at random to find him in the past to no avail. I thought that he just fell out of touch, as has happened with a few others. Then I Googled his name and an obituary posting came up with his name and date of death. I was in denial...had to be another Jason Sanvido, not the one I knew. Well, it was the one I knew.

After emailing the local newspaper in his town in Ontario, Canada, the editor sent me the original article about Jason's untimely death. He was only 22. He passed away in March of 2003....about 2 years after most of us had lost touch with him. He was hit by a semi truck one morning in dense fog and killed instantly. This happened 7 years ago and I cannot believe that only now I am finding out about it. I have seen him in pictures from my albums and wondered how he was doing....what he was doing...where life had taken him. He would be 29 now....maybe married...maybe with kids. I can't believe it. I have always thought of my friends from those days as being somewhat untouchable....maybe we all feel that way about our friends, I don't know. What I know is that a life that young, kind and promising was extinguished so unfairly and so tragically.

May you rest in peace, Jason. Those of us who knew you are better for it. You are remembered with a lot of love and happy memories. We are blessed that you were part of our crew. You had adventures during those times that few people could ever dream of. You got to be a rockstar. Ciao amico bello. Ciao.