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Letter to the Editor: What Ahsim Ahmed Meant to Me

Gregory Hunter Freebeck pays tribute to his college roommate and close friend Ahsim Ahmed, who died in a two-car collision on Saturday.

Ahsim Ahmed was an 18-year-old young man killed in a fatal car accident on March 17, 2012. This is the news that everyone is hearing about him, and that his mother described him as “a bright boy with lots of friends.” There is so much more to this young man that could ever fit into a newspaper article. My name is Gregory Hunter Freebeck, but I go by Hunter. I am 19 years old and I am from the south suburbs of Chicago Illinois. I graduated from Lemont High School and am attending the University of Iowa, as well as 10 of my good friends from my hometown.

Coming into school, I thought I wouldn’t need to meet anyone new, because I had all of my friends from home here. One day I heard a kid across the hall from me playing [music from] Eminem and I thought I would make a new friend. The kid turned out to be Ahsim Ahmed.

Ahsim was a short, skinny, Muslim kid with glasses. Ahsim and I started to talk little by little, to the point where we became great friends. Such great friends that we traded roommates in order for us to live together. I play lacrosse for the university, but whenever I wasn’t occupied with that, I was with Ahsim. We were both studying pre-dental, and ended up taking a lot of classes so we could be together. In his free time, Ahsim loved to record music and rap. Ahsim has a shoebox filled with assortments of paper from tests to receipts with rap lyrics written on them. At college, I get the vibe that a lot of kids like to go out and party, and also consume alcohol; I am one of those people myself, to be honest. Ahsim was not like that. No matter how hard someone would try to convince him to drink he just wouldn’t. His excuse was, why drink something gross so I can feel stupid? Ahsim liked to go out with his friends, but the dedication to his music was unbelievable.

Non-stop, he would be recording or making beats or writing lyrics. I’ve never seen determination like that before in my life. Always, Ahsim would talk about getting famous, and what would happen once that goal was achieved. “The first thing I would do once I get signed, is pay my parents back for everything they have done for me,” he said.

Ahsim would do whatever it’d take in order to achieve that goal. He has told me, he doesn’t want to study dentistry, in order for him to be happy, he had to have a career in music. Away from the music, Ahsim was a brilliant student. I’m not going to lie, since we were in the same class, I would always copy off of Ahsim. If I ever needed help, he was there for me. And not just me, Ahsim would help anybody with anything.

Ahsim also had the busiest schedule. He was either at class or work non-stop. His persistency was amazing as well. If he did not like the food that he received at Chipotle, the owners were going to hear about it. He always knew a lot of business tactics that have helped me along the road as well. I felt like Ahsim and I were a married couple. We would always have our arguments, but in the end, we were still like brothers. I’m going to miss having intense conversations with him on current issues like gay marriage. We were attached to the hip, and were always with each other.

I really ended up spending less time with my hometown friends and sticking with Ahsim. I was really excited because we were both going to be dentists, which could lead to us being lifelong friends. Ahsim opened up to us a lot about how he really cared about our other best friend here, Christian Cervantes, who also had the passion for music. If I were to ever not be with Ahsim, he would be with Christian.

Ahsim, Christian, and I were a trio of best friends and lovers of music. Ahsim actually introduced me to Christian, who has turned out to be one of my best friends as well. All of us came together and grew a relationship that was one of a kind. Once Ahsim had passed, Christian and I were brought so much closer together, and formed a goal. Ahsim would not want us to give up on music just because he is gone, but to pursue his goal with even more determination, for him.

Another hobby Ahsim had was playing video games. Ahsim was obsessed with the game ‘Halo Reach’, and would never stop playing it. It was always funny for me to lie on my bed and watch him get worked up over the video game. Some one would kill him in the game and Ahsim would get very mad and yell, while I just sat there and laughed. A lot of things Ahsim would say incorporated the word ‘trying’ in it. For example, “ Yo, are you trying to eat?”

Then Christian and I would say that we are not trying to eat, we are going to eat. Why would we need to try? Another popular saying of his was “That’s what I’m saying,” even though he hadn’t contributed to the conversation. We would always joke and tease each other and it really made our relationship strong. Going on break was tough too. I never really saw my best friend over winter and spring break.

However, I would get the occasional text from Ahsim like “ I miss you cutie :P” and I couldn’t help but laugh. Ahsim was a very chill and laid-back guy. A lot of people saw him as quiet, but they obviously didn’t know him like we did. When leaving for spring break, I didn’t really get to say a very formal goodbye to him, in which I very much regret. Over the break we only sent a few text messages, which were about music.

The day after the accident, I had gotten a call from our hall coordinator at the dorms saying she needs to talk to me. Immediately I started freaking out because I thought I had gotten in trouble for something. I then texted Ahsim wondering if he had gotten the same call. There was no response, so I checked his Facebook profile, and that is when I found out about the horrible news. I had lost one of my best friends for life, my roommate. I couldn’t believe that this had happened to him, of all people. I couldn’t cry for a while because I was in so much shock. Once I saw my mom cry, I couldn’t help but let it all out.

Everyday, I still continue to shed tears for my lost best friend. When I walked into our room, returning from spring break, everything just felt heavy. All of his stuff was still there, including his favorite hat and jacket. I couldn’t help but break down crying. Everyday I get support from friends and see all the support given to Ahsim, and it makes me so happy. I now feel that Ahsim is here, and that he is watching over me. I feel weird, because I do talk to him, like he is still here. But spiritually, Ahsim is here watching over us. People feel scared to walk into my room, but I tell them not to be. My room is so happy because Ahsim is with us.

Ahsim wants us all to be happy; he would never try and scare us like a ghost. He was the closest person I have ever lost in my life, and I love him like a brother. Ahsim will be missed by so many people who were blessed to have crossed paths with him.

This is how I believe this news article should be written. Ahsim needs to be
remembered as a man for the things he has accomplished and dreamed, not for the accident. I am still waiting for him to come walking in the door, but until then, I love and miss you man.

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Patty Tanji March 21, 2012 at 06:24 PM
What a beautiful tribute to a friend, a student, a brother, a genius! Thank you Hunter for submitting your words. It helps our community heal.
Amber March 21, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Thank you Hunter for your heartfelt tribute to your roommate and friend! We all, in this community who knew Ahsim since he was a young boy, are truly touched by your words. Ahsim did touch many lives he crossed paths with and how blessed he was to have a friend such as yourself! May you find comfort in the memories and music that you shared with our beloved Ahsim.
J. Johnson March 21, 2012 at 11:17 PM
We met Ashim through our daughter. They graduated from Eagan High School and both attended the University of Iowa. He shared rides to Iowa city with our kids. He was full of ideas and a very likeable young man. We are terribly saddened by this loss.
Rayyaan March 21, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Ahsim was my neighbor, and was like a bigger brother to me. I am still very shocked about this incident. I will miss all the amazing memories we had throughout the years...
Jennifer Parker March 22, 2012 at 03:17 AM
You gave a gift to all of Ahsim's family and friends with your words. I never met Ahsim, but knew of him, as he was a friend of my daughter's (Maddie) for the past 8 years. She only ever had kind words to say about him, but your tribute, Hunter, let his hometown know him in a way we otherwise wouldn't. The words I keep hearing over and over about him are that he was always kind, grateful and smiling. Thank you, Hunter, for your public openness with your own feelings; that allows everyone who reads your tribute to know what kind of person and friend Ahsim was. Even though I never knew him, this tragedy has haunted me since Saturday night, for both men killed. I have driven by the accident site several times wondering why this happened, and have shed silent tears for both families affected.
Rafia Omer March 22, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Your words have brought back vivid memories of Ahsim! How wonderfully you have shared Ahsim's dreams and aspirations with us; his happys and sads, his ups and downs - only a friend as close as you can know him so well. His loss will be felt for many many years and he will always be remembered for the great person and the wonderful friend he was. Thank you Hunter!
phyllis mathews March 24, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Hunter, what a wonderful tribute to your best friend, it truly touched my heart. Your Grandmother and I have been best friends for over thirty five years and I would be devistated if I lost her, so sorry you lost yours so early. I have known you since you were born and so blessed that I have got to watch you grow into a young man, a good son and brother, and a good grandson, your family truly has some one to be proud of.
SYED FEROZ AHMED March 26, 2012 at 08:15 AM
Hunter,you did a great job. No words to add further but allow me to say that a wonderful tribute by a wonderful friend to his wonderful friend AHSIM, who is no more in this world but he would remain with us. What you said is truth and what you mean is reality. In short, AHSIM was an excellent boy in all respect and he would be missed by all. Ahsim is an unforgetable memory! His absence in our life has starved us for a love that we never knew. May the light of heaven graciously shine forever upon him. Forever missed- Forever remembered, Syed Feroz Ahmed, uncle

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