Last Tuesday I attended the funeral of a very close childhood friend of mine. He and I weren’t that close in our adolescence or adulthood, but he is a pillar of my childhood memories. I would be a very different person today had I never met him. For a few reasons I left with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth after a pastor delivered his eulogy. This is how it would have gone down if I were the one giving my tribute to my dear friend’s life:
Alex was one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever met. I regret not spending more time with him growing up, but this speech isn’t about me and my life’s regrets, it is about our friend Alex.
Let me tell you about the first time I met this man. I can’t legitimately remember it because I was less than one year old when it happened. His mother brought him to my family’s house, knocked on the door, and said to my mother, “My son, Alex, also known as the spawn of Satan, wants to know if he can play with your daughter.” No, she wasn’t talking about me, she was talking about my sister, the four-year-old future first wife of her son. Of course the boy and girl who lived two houses apart became fast friends. They played together all the time. By the time I was old enough to play, Alex was already there. From the beginning of my childhood, he was an active part of my life. I even witnessed their 8-year-old wedding in our basement, complete with rhinestone hair-tie on my sister’s left ring finger. They took their ceremony seriously.
Alex was an incredible individual who had the ability to compel and comfort others. He was driven, funny, and so very kind. He left this world far too early due to circumstances we could not have prevented, but is survived by so much positivity and inspiration. It is no use for us to agonize what could have been done to prevent his death, all we can do now is grieve and heal with time. We are here to celebrate his life.
The strength exhibited by his family in this time is absolutely beautiful. In such a hard time you have managed the harrowing process of moving your lives forward, as Alex would have hoped you’d do. You are all inspirational in the fortitude of your love and grace. We are all here to support you, but you are supporting all of us in return through your strength, and that is remarkable. Thank you for your love, and for letting us all get to share in a world brighter with Alex.
We are all going to miss him. But he is always in our memories. We all have one or two very special memories of Alex, and it’s time to focus on those. Time to live as he would, and spend every day trying to make the world a little more beautiful.
It’s time to share our stories and our grief. Our laughter, as we remember his humor; and our tears, as we recognize the void in which his humor used to stand. It is time to let ourselves be human and let our healing begin. We love you, Alex, and we see the world a little brighter because we have you in our hearts.