I gave the following eulogy at my Brother's funeral. It was posted online. Many people have commented to me that they found it comforting and helpful. It was suggested that I post it here as well. Therefore:
Saying goodbye is never easy. We are feeling emotions that are deep and complex.
In our hearts, there is love, the pain of separation, and profound loneliness.
It seems the emptiness will never be filled again.
Honoring the bright memories we deeply cherish is how we will endure.
Some of you may be angry or trying to understand why.
Some of us can’t stop asking what we could have done to prevent it.
For me, I’m simply shattered.
A man who was a Father, a Friend, My Brother, made the choice to set down his demons and inner struggles of his heart and to end his journey of life.
His failing marriage and fiancial pressures made his future seem hopeless.
His burdens were too heavy.
His pain unbearable.
It was an act of desperation.
It was the result of a deep and long term personal fight within himself where the darkness seemed never ending.
Perhaps, I can offer a window of understanding to help see the world through his eyes as we shared a bond of a life that was rarely talked about.
We were taught to keep secrets.
To never let the outside world see our pain or self-doubt.
We were taught not to speak of our fears, insecurities, and human frailties.
So much was expected of us.
We were taught to strive for perfection, to reach for unattainable or unrealistic goals, and to do so with a smile.
We learned through example and experience that when failure struck, we should lash out and push away those closest to us so they would not see our defeat.
We believed that the punishments and defeats as they rained upon us were deserved.
And worse, We believed that each of our own personal disappointments some how harmed those we loved the most.
This is who I am, and to a far greater extend who my brother was. This is not offered as an excuse.
I am not trying to place blame upon our loved ones, our childhoods, or our parents because they loved us and we knew it.
I share these truths so that I can ask you to try to understand.
His life was mostly happy, hopeful and filled with many more great moments than bad ones.
He deeply loved those in his life.
We must always remember that his choice was not meant to damage us.
It was a choice made from believing the whispers of desperation which deafens the ears. It was a choice made because his eyes were blind to the small blessings that each new day brings.
He was not thinking about the hurt and pain he would cause us. He was not thinking about things he would miss; The weddings or grandchildren, trips, or holidays, or any of the fun things that our lives could share.
He was simply, in his mind, heart, and soul
Alone, Lost, Overwhelmed, and Helpless.
Ending his journey, his life, seemed his only option.
As we say goodbye, please believe that:
One act. One choice, does not define a life.
One act. One choice, is not a legacy.
Every moment of compassion, Each act of kindness,
Every shared laugh, his infectious enthusiasm.
His warm embrace, Quiet conversation,
Every hope, Every dream.
That is what defines a life and creates a legacy.
Remember the things that he did that brought You happiness. Allow the light of fond memories to illuminate the dark corners within your heart.
If we remember his Love and honor his legacy and journey then we can understand and say goodbye.