In 2010, Jemmye Carroll and Ryan Knight met as roommates on "The Real World: New Orleans." From there, viewers watched their romance unfold and followed their subsequent relationship on several memorable installments of "The Challenge." Before the one-year anniversary of his death, MTV News asked Jemmye to write a tribute in honor of her longtime love. Here is a poignant open letter to Knight, from Jem:
Today marks a year since you left us. Some days, the grief consumes me; other days, the good memories flood my mind. And then there are the days I can remember nothing but the bad that happened between us. But every day, I remember you.
That day I lost you, I lost something inside me -- something central to my existence. I think if soul mates exist, then that's what we were, brought together by the fate of eight strangers picked to live in a house. You and I always joked that we would never have dated if we'd met in real life (let's be real, I didn't like white boys and you had a thing for dumb blondes). But I'm so thankful we ended up in that house together. And even though falling in love while filming a television show isn't a normal love story, it was ours. And it was honest, and it was real.
I'll forever have those memories, and though I'm not ready yet, one day when I am, I'll be able to watch our story. I hope that day comes soon because I miss your voice. I miss so much about you, especially the way you always took care of me. You were far from perfect, but your unconditional love for me was one of the biggest blessings of my life. You saved me. You loved me in my darkest hours. We were so young then, and after we broke up, it was hard for me to express just how grateful I was to you -- and for you -- during that time. But I hope you know that I’m trying every single day, that keeping your memory alive is the most important thing in my life.
The biggest regret of my life will be the way I treated you at times after our breakup. When we ended things, you broke my heart, and I tried so hard to protect myself from you that I shut you out. I have to live with that regret every single day. You tried so hard to make things better -- to make your past mistakes right -- and I wouldn't allow that. I'm so sorry, Ryan. I wish I would have forgiven you, and I wish I hadn't been scared to let you back in. But you never gave up, because you always believed in us. On the day we said goodbye to you, Ashlee gave me a card and in it, she said, "Rest assure knowing that when Knight left this earth, he believed in his heart of hearts he would end up with you."
Knight, I never told anybody this, but I thought we'd end up together too. In my darkest and most honest hours, I still do. I promise you I'll spend the rest of my days telling all your stories; I promise as long as I'm alive, your memory will be too. I just pray that I may one day find you again, and we sit together old and grey. I'll love you forever and a day, Ryan Thomas Knight.
Please share your favorite Knight memories in the comments. And if you would like to honor his memory, visit his Memorial Fund here.