Disclaimer: In this post, I WILL NOT, I repeat WILL NOT, use Michael Boyles as a symbol to talk about depression and suicide prevention, I’d rather just discuss the kind of person he was at James Madison University.
I remember the first time, I met Michael, it was at a tabling event for the LGBT & Ally Education Program; he was so eager to make a change within the community at JMU. At that time I had no idea how many lives this freshman would impact and how he would change my life for the better. I remember other times of first seeing him before he officially became a volunteer for the program; I saw him at play auditions and at the big a capella audition. Michael just wanted to get involved with everything and that fire inside of him was something I admired and still think about.
Though I don’t know much about Michael’s contributions to the theater besides the times he would perform his monologues with me, I do know of all the wonderful things he did for the LGBT & Ally Education Program. He was one of the best volunteers the program had and I know he didn’t just come to all the meetings because he was my best friend, but also because he cared about making the lives of LGBT students better. He wanted to get involved with the website, he went to different tabling events, and he helped me transform our library into what it is today. We also went to almost every Madison Equality meeting last year, we were obsessed with Madison Equality, and Michael would always tell me about how much he loved all the people within the student organization. One of my fondest memories is when he and I performed for Live Homosexual Acts; we did a poem about the intersection of gay rights and civil rights. It was really cool and I would never want to have any other partner; I always told him he should join the speech team because he was such a talented performer.
Along with Michael’s contributions to JMU, he was also just a really great friend and person. Whenever I talk about Michael and I’s friendship; its hard to explain, because there was so much to our friendship. He and I were literally the same person; we would talk about Degrassi for hours, we loved to twerk, we loved to sing (he actually could), we could look at each other and have a conversation without saying one word. I remember when I went to his house for Easter and met his family, his family gave me my own Easter basket, I hadn’t received an Easter basket in over ten years. Michael and I went to the circus together, we made Easter eggs together, and we spent a lot of time with his adorable nephew. That was one of the best weekends of my life. Though Michael is gone; I can never thank him enough for giving me that memory.
I’m kind of at my 500 word limit now, but I just want to say a couple more things. I know that I am not the only one grieving this lost and I am sorry for others, especially his family, who have to have this heartache. Michael Boyles has impacted so many lives in the one year that he was at JMU, so I cant imagine the impact he had before he came to our school. I want people to remember the kind of person Michael was; he was silly, and kind hearted, and had this light within him that I can still feel all around me. He was truly my best friend and though I wish we could have spent so many more years together; I am so happy for the memories we do share. I love you Michael, rest in peace.