“Love is how you stay alive, even when you’re gone.” — Morrie Schwartz.

“Love is how you stay alive, even when you’re gone.” — Morrie Schwartz.
The above quote, one of several penned in Dylan Meier’s journal, was proven true on Monday, as more than 1,000 people packed into Memorial Auditorium to celebrate Meier’s life just one week after he died in a tragic hiking accident.
The guests were as varied as Meier’s life experiences, ranging from teammates to opponents, coaches to friends and family.
“Dylan, I love you, your family loves you and your friends love you,” said Pittsburg High School football coach Merle Clark. “We miss you so much already. We will never forget you.”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle.
Clark said that Meier, 26, believed in several mottos. He would tell teammates to trust their training, to trust their other teammates, to have confidence in their abilities and to get the job done. He told them to play with pride. To play with poise. To play with passion.
It made sense, then, that Meier had many habits that led to his excellence on the football field.
He had a habit of showing toughness, like when he led Pittsburg High School against Salina South with a torn labrum that required surgery. After getting a laceration below his knee against Webb City, he received several stitches on the sideline and returned to play after missing just one series.
Monday, Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder talked about how Meier attempted to come back from his shoulder injury. As Snyder watched, Meier struggled to throw the ball 10 feet.
“Coach, I am almost ready,” he told Snyder.
Snyder said Meier told him that, not to put on a show, but because Meier believed it to be true.
He also made it a habit to tackle life’s curiosities, from algebra class to film study.
“He never just wanted the answer,” said Rev. Dan Moss. “He wanted to know the reason.”
Snyder said Meier also made it a habit to experience all that life had to offer, to live life to its fullest.

“Life is not the amount of breaths you take ... it’s the moments that take your breath away.” — originally on a Carleton greeting card.
Meier lived his life as though following the above journal quote, from running with the bulls in Spain to visiting Russia and spending five weeks learning about organic food production in New Zealand. He spent time in Milan, and was scheduled to travel to South Korea to teach English when the accident occurred.
“He was mature beyond his years,” Snyder said. “He lived more than most of us will throughout extended lives.
“He was adventuresome, in such a positive, positive way,” Snyder said.
He was a poet, according to J.T. Knoll, a fluid and articulate writer with the ability to tell a great story. Knoll compared him to Walt Whitman, then read aloud an e-mail Meier sent to friends and family members from his stay in New Zealand.
A large part of the e-mail focused on a sailing trip that Meier took with an odd New Zealand duo “Captain Keith” and Beth.
The trip took part on a windy day when no other sailboats were at sea, and featured several laugh-out-loud moments, such as the one where Beth asked Captain Keith if they could anchor to go swimming, just as the ship is about to overturn.
“You’ll be swimming soon enough,” Meier recalled Captain Keith saying.
At the end, Meier said he hoped to hear from everyone soon, and Knoll urged the attendees to let Meier hear from them. What followed was applause that grew into a standing ovation.
Meier played the bongos, gave motivational speeches, read Dr. Seuss books to elementary school students and made so many friends along the way.
“He had such a passion for life,” Clark recalled. “Man ... what a zest for life he had.”
“For Dylan, it was never about the destination,” Moss said. “It was about the journey.”

“I’m truly grateful to have the family I have. Seeing and being with them is what I value as love ... unconventional love and an abundance of security, smiles and memories; unforgettable memories.” — Dylan Meier.
By all accounts, Meier adored his family, his parents, Dennis and Valerie, and three brothers Adam, Shad and Kerry. But he also made extended family members of those around him, helping them to feel loved and appreciated.
“We have a family environment at Kansas State,” Snyder said. “And Dylan was the consummate family member.
“I admire Dylan,” Snyder said. “He was an easy friend, a quick friend.”
“He loved life, and he loved the people around him,” Moss added, “especially his family.”
Snyder said that Meier genuinely cared about everybody he met, and said that he had a gift for making everyone feel important. Snyder said people should remember that he would want them to celebrate his life, rather than mourning his death.
“Nothing ever took Dylan down,” Snyder said. “Dylan always lifted people up.”

“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to what happens to you. I’m a big proponent of making one’s destiny, rather than letting destiny make you. I do not believe that my life is pre-written, I must put all of my energy and my thoughts into what things I can control. We must always learn from experiences, for through experience we learn about ourself (sic) and grow ... being present in the moment is something we must always strive for ... for the now is all we really got.” — Dylan Meier.

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134