Nick Muccia

The “Dear …” community column intends to provide the university an outlet to share a life struggle, dilemma and/or hardship and how the St. Bonaventure University community has helped them through it. 

To Nick Muccia,

Trying to find words to describe how much you meant to me and everyone you encountered is the most difficult task I have ever done.

How can one begin to describe a person so kind, so giving and so caring?

How can you describe a person who had a dramatic impact on so many different people?

The best way to start is to take it back to the beginning, the first time we ever met, on July 10, 2009 — our freshman orientation.

Almost as if it were right out of a movie script, we were assigned as roommates for our one night stay at Bona’s.

Then we were also assigned to group Merton, meaning we would be getting to know each other well over the two-day span. The conversations we had continued into the night, me learning about you and vice versa.

It was just so easy to talk to you. You had a way of making a stranger feel welcomed, discussing with them whatever is on their mind, and then give them the best advice you could. That’s how I felt on that warm summer night.

I believed that I had found my best friend for life. Someone who understood me completely, and you felt the same. Requesting to be roommates was the only logical next step.

Over the course of being roommates, like we both believed that summer, we became best friends. We discussed everything and because of your infectious personality, our room became the it spot.

I would like to say that I had something to do with Shay 300 being filled to the brim with people on weekends, but who am I kidding.

Who could resist gathering around a person with a smile from ear to ear, a person who made everyone feel comfortable?

Those who made their way to Shay 300 always left feeling that they made a new friend in you. They felt a connection that one can’t explain unless they were lucky enough to know you.

Sure, there were times we managed to get ourselves into trouble by being generous with our room, but that is part of the college experience. Being social, meeting new people, gaining new friends and experiences.

Gaining friends is exactly what happened.

Through orientation, we developed a tight-knit group of friends. No doubt, a lot was attributed to you, but our group of me, you, Sally O’Rourke, Charlee Smith, Kevin Festa and Alyce Baker were as close as one could be.

You helped keep us together, helped make St. Bonaventure our home, just like it was for your sister and brother before you. I still remember staring at the picture on the side of your desk, one with you standing next to the Bona Wolf, surely not knowing that only a few years later you would be attending the same school.

The memories we shared — the good times, the bad times and all of them in between — helped make us stronger. In one short year, you impacted everyone you came into contact with.

Especially me.

You taught me how to help people, to be patient, to care, to always look for what’s best for everyone around and, most importantly, you made me a better person.

The last time we spoke, you sent me a letter explaining that I should do whatever makes me happy because life is too short.

I’ve taken that to heart each and every day, not stressing over the tiny stuff, but instead keeping focus on what truly makes me happy.

Plus, it’s always nice to know that you are watching over me, with that ear to ear grin, pointing me to the right path — the one to happiness.

Thanks for everything you have done for me. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Your friend and roommate,

Ryan Lazo, Class of 2013

A candlelight ceremony to celebrate and remember the life of Nick Muccia will take place inside the Shay Hall and Loughlen Hall lobby at 8:30 p.m. today. Muccia, a sophomore, passed away last November from a congenital heart defect. 

Do you want to share a story for this community column? Please submit all entries to editors@theintrepid.org with the subject: DEAR …

No submission will be published without a first and last name and a relation to St. Bonaventure University (ie: professor of sociology, class of 2015, ’10 alumna, etc…).

Under no circumstances will The Intrepid allow anonymity regardless of the topic. The Intrepid reserves all rights to edit the content to be Web appropriate as well as for grammar, punctuation and length. The Intrepid reserves all rights to not use a submission. 

To the friends I now know I have …

The “Dear …” community column intends to provide the university an outlet to share a life struggle, dilemma and/or hardship and how the St. Bonaventure University community has helped them through it. 

To the friends I now know I have …

For a bright and lazy July day, death seems somewhat morbid as a topic of conversation. Regardless, a few of my fellow orientation leaders and I found ourselves sitting on the Shay-Loughlen porch chattering away on the subject. 

“I’m so lucky I’ve never lost a friend,” I remember saying in passing. 

Three hours later, however, I received a phone call that would prompt me to take back those words. 

Rich and I were friends through high school. When we were 16, he was a familiar face when I nervously started my first shift at McDonald’s. His annoyingly happy personality made flipping burgers tolerable. Almost. 

Rich always laughed and joked around, which often caused groans and eye rolls. Honestly though, it was impossible to hate him.

Later that July afternoon, we were again sitting on the porch at Shay-Lo when my brother called me and told me the news I least expected.

After fighting with his girlfriend, Rich decided to drive his car off the side of a treacherously winding mountain road outside of our hometown. Before he was ejected through the windshield, his car hit a tree from about eight feet off the ground.

Naturally, my first reaction was one of shock. From shock, it went to grief; from grief, to white-hot anger.

Finally, I felt loneliness. 

I was on campus for the month, away from family, away from anyone that knew him, away from people I could share this personal distress with. This emotional isolation crushed me even more.

Being the first time I can ever remember feeling I had nowhere to go, I just started walking.

But what was I walking away from?  Little did I realize strong friendships formed with my co-workers over the weeks of orientation. Some of these friends came after me and just sat with me, not speaking, patiently waiting for me to be ready to function.

These accepting, non-judgmental people focused on keeping the environment as normal as possible for me. Aside from that, I had orientation to focus on to keep me busy and allow me to be sad on my own time.

Nothing about Rich’s death is a good thing. For my own sake, though, it came at the right time. Nobody else knew him, but the support seemed like my co-workers and I experienced the same thing. Even better, it made me fully realize the depth of my newfound friendships.

I will never understand why he did what he did — probably why suicide is more difficult to accept than accidents. I will never come to terms with his logic, but I can come to terms with my emotions and try to forgive him. 

While I’m not yet all the way there, I’m much further along than I would be if I hadn’t had those people to help me during the hardest, initial part. Looking back, I would never have coped the same in a different setting.

I also realize how foolish I was for thinking I was alone. 

They say that time heals all. What I’ve learned is that friends — friends you didn’t even know you had — can help in the meantime. 

Sincerely,

Andy Liuzzo, Class of 2014

Do you want to share a story for this community column? Please submit all entries to editors@theintrepid.org with the subject: DEAR …

No submission will be published without a first and last name and a relation to St. Bonaventure University (ie: professor of sociology, class of 2015, ’10 alumna, etc…).

Under no circumstances will The Intrepid allow anonymity regardless of the topic. The Intrepid reserves all rights to edit the content to be Web appropriate as well as for grammar, punctuation and length. The Intrepid reserves all rights to not use a submission.