Good-bye Karl, my friend

By Brett Rodriguez

How do you go about saying good-bye to a friend? What can you say when confronted with that fact that a person you love is gone? A person you counted on to help you in any situation, someone who has always been there, protecting you, looking after you. Karl Adam Jonske was the person that you went to when you were feeling low, or confused, or in need of a friend. He was the one to talk to you for hours, and to strangely care about everything that you had to say. How is it possible that now he is gone?

I want to express my deepest condolences to everyone who was close to Karl, to everyone whose life he touched in one way or another. Everyone who Karl made laugh when they were feeling down, or whom he talked to, even for a moment. I do not think that anyone could ever forget Karl once they met him. He is not the type of person who can ever be forgotten.

I will always remember what it was like to walk around the quads with him. Everywhere you went there were constantly people saying hi to him, running up and giving him a hug. Everyone was constantly happy to see him. It seemed as if Karl knew everybody, and that everyone honestly liked him. It was always kind of amazing to me.

Karl was just different. I think that is the best way to put it. He would change the feel of a place just by being there. The second he walked in everyone would just know that he was there. He was the person that everyone wanted to talk to; the guy everyone wanted to be with. If you were with Karl, you would have a good time, regardless of where you were or who else you were with. I cannot remember the times I would go out just because I knew that he would be there. He made the difference, and without him, nothing will be the same.

I also want to express even deeper sympathies to those people who were not close to Karl. You have lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am sorry that you will never go to little diners with him in the middle of the night and talk about everything, all the while finding out even more about yourself. That you will never find yourself doing completely random things on the spur of the moment just because he convinced you it would be a good idea. That you will never sing really bad songs at the top of your lungs in completely inappropriate situations just because, for some reason, when you were with him, it seemed like the right thing to do. I am sorry for everyone who never got to know Karl Jonske.

Karl Jonske was an incredible person. He wasn’t an incredible person because he was charismatic, funny, or even because you always had a great time with him. He was incredible because he did the little things for people and because he was a true friend.

If Karl was the first one to get out of a car he would immediately turn around and extend his hand to help whomever was after him. When we went out to eat he would automatically pay the bill. It never seemed to matter to him if anyone paid him back or not. If anyone needed a favor, Karl would be there in an instant. He would also notice the little things that people did for him. Whenever someone did anything for him, he would notice it, and he would appreciate it.

Karl was the best friend that I have ever had. He was always there for me whenever I needed a friend. If I needed to talk or to blow off steam or even if I just needed to get out and escape, he was there. When we talked I always had to actually think. He made me think. He was always there for me. He has made me the person I am today. He was a friend, and he cared for his friends more than he cared for himself.

One time we were riding the Red Line to Chinatown together, and he looked at me and asked me what I would wish for if I had three wishes. I came up with some stupid cliché answer and asked him what he would wish for. He looked at me said, “I think the only thing I would want is for all of my friends to be happy. If your friends aren’t happy, it is impossible for you to be happy.”

I am not saying that Karl was perfect. No one is. I am saying that he was one of the most incredible people that I have ever had the privilege of getting to know. He was a person that reminded us what we were capable of. He is still doing this now. Karl will live on as long as I do. He will live in my memory and through my actions. He will never be forgotten. Karl has shown us how we need to live.