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From Friend

October 2, 2006 at 9:44 am

Ted Mullin. Hope. Strength. Love. Care. Courage.
I met Ted in the hazy and overwhelming first days of New Student Week ‘02 at Carleton. We met because we were both swimmers. How could I have then known what an inspiration and friend Ted would become? Ted was very friendly when I first met him. It was clear that he was very excited to get started at Carleton (I later learned the magnitude of Ted’s will to push forward and be excited for more). After I met, he always said hi to me instead of avoiding eye contact and pretending that he didn’t remember meeting me. He always seemed to be excited about what he was doing. I learned early on that Ted was someone I would like to spend time with. Ted seemed to know his way around Carleton and around Northfield. He introduced me to Blue Monday’s Mexican Hot Chocolate. Ted also walked me home from my first college party. It was the swim team cocktail party and I think he felt that I needed an escort. I hadn’t known him even a month, and without thinking, he left the fun of the party to be a gentleman.

We went on to swim everyday (sometimes twice a day) together. I remember thinking that the slogan “Intense Ted” did a good job of capturing what Ted was all about- leaving it all in the pool. He pushed me to wok hard and did not settle for less than his very best. We would often stand by the side of the pool and talk about how excited we were for our teammates - for what they would accomplish. He would also encourage me - ask me what I wanted to accomplish - not only in the pool, but also in life. And he would tell me what he wanted to accomplish- that at the next meet - he would swim even faster. And he usually did. He also wanted to accomplish the “donut challenge” which consists of eating twelve donuts in one sitting. Myself and a few other were cheering him on to reach this goal. He was at eleven donuts and was starting to look a little sick. But he did not want to quit. I will never forget. He took one bite of the twelfth donut and could not hold it down anymore!

Our sophomore year, my life dealt me some hard things, and Ted was there to help me. I remember sitting in Blue Mondays with him drinking hot chocolate one snowy evening. I just meant for the meeting to be a nice study break with a friend. We ended up sitting at Blue Mondays for hours just talking about what was going on with me. I remember the look of concern and care in his eyes. I will never forget that. It was almost as though he was feeling what I was going through. Ironically, one of the difficult things was that I had been diagnosed with a tumor on my spinal cord. It was too early to know what would happen with it, but outside of my family, Ted was the first person that made me feel that I was not alone.

Ted joined my Relay for Life Team before he even knew that he had cancer. He was the person who consistently showed up to the meetings. The night before the Relay, he walked around to all the dorms collecting money. At that time, his leg hurt a lot from the cancer, and he actually could not come to the actual event the next day because he had tired himself out so much the night before, collecting money for the cause. I was so inspired to see him care so much about something. I could not believe the irony when he found out only days later that he had cancer.

Ted was always thinking of others. When I decided not to swim my sophomore year of college, Ted sent me a postcard from their training trip. I could have never asked for someone to be so thoughtful and kind. That postcard meant so much.
Ted lives on.

It is interesting to notice that through writing about my experiences with Ted - he was a lot of firsts for me. I think that this is because Ted is one of a kind. If you are lucky enough to be in his life, you will have experiences like you have never had before. I do not doubt that Ted was shaped by his family and for that I am so grateful to the Mullins for their gift of Ted. Ted provided and continues to provide hope, strength, love, care, and a source of courage.

How my life will honor the loss of Ted Mullin…
Ted never quit - I will think of Ted when I am thinking of quitting.
Ted made the most of his time on earth - I will strive to do the same.
Ted was an incredible and loyal friend - I will be one, too.
Ted had an honesty and innocence about him that allowed him to truly experience the world and interpret it - I will try to see the world with fresh and unassuming eyes.
Ted cared about learning about the world around him - I will be eager to learn more.
I will be good to others and always think of the gift to all of us of Might Ted.

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