Have you ever been to an event or had something happen where it truly moved you? Where it touched your heart so heavily that you couldn’t release it from your mind? It has been a week since I lost my friend. Three days ago, I had attended his service. It was one of the most beautiful, inspiring and heart wrenching services I have ever attended. Blog reference, As the sky cries.
Knowing my friend for the past few years, I come to realize that I missed the best parts of his life. As a bartender, I have learned some things about him, but I never picked up on the subtle clues he would leave me. These little pieces of his life that he trusted to tell me were his most influential reasons to choose pain over happiness.
The service consisted of beautiful songs, a wonderfully heartfelt poem written by his daughter and a sermon by his older brother. All of these which pulled at the heart strings and leaving most of the room in tears. However, the story with the most impact to me was his story told by his younger brother.
I am (his) younger brother, which most know that me and (him) were very close. In fact, one time I broke my finger. (He) thought that was pretty cool…so he broke my other finger.
- Brother of friend
We all laughed knowing the humor that this man had. He was a very loud and fun guy. He could light up a room with his original jokes and his infectious smile.
Our mother was a very loving and caring woman. When (he) was a child, he was very quiet and kind. He loved our mom so much that he always wanted to please her, so he was always so organized and cleaning, while all of us brothers were running around making messes for him to clean up. He was always busy and working hard. Thinking back, I think our mother had an extra twinkle in her eye for (him).
Then at age 13, we lost our mother to a long battle of cancer…He changed after that, he became reserved and angry. When she passed away, a part of him left with her. Sometimes in his sleep, he would call for her.
At age 14, he was asked by a friend to work one day on a farm with him. That one day turned into a week, and then weeks turned into a month. Then, the farmer ended up firing the other kid. The farmer said that he had never seen a 14 year old that worked so hard and had the strength of two men. At age 16, he had moved to live out on his own, now married and then with two children. He ended up having two boys.
Then, after a divorce, he re-married at age 19. He then had another child..a little girl. When he had (daughter’s name), she instantly melted his heart. He was happy again, just like when mom was around. The bond between him and his daughter was the closest bond I had ever witnessed.
- Brother of friend
I do not claim to have written his speech word for word, but I know that I have my main facts correct and the words I do remember has been embedded in my mind. It has been like a broken record inside my head, playing his story over and over again. I just knew that I had to write about it, because it was the only way to release it from my mind.
At the end of the story, it entails how he worked so hard and could never stay idle. I remember him telling me that he had never drank before until his children were all grown up and had left home. I’d imagine that once his children left that his joy had dissipated and had took its toll on him. It’s very common for parents to turn to alcohol once their children leave their home. It leaves many feeling blank, without a purpose and in question of who they are as an individual again. I fear these questions and feelings myself, however I hope to not turn to drowning in these thoughts and feelings.
The last three months of his existence, he chose life again. He went into a Christian based 12 month program to gain sobriety and peace. He started a new relationship with God and he was on a very prideful path. All that knew him were very proud of him turning his life around. However, his health had not turned around with him. God took his pain away and brought him into heaven on New Years day.
His favorite song was Silver Wings. We all knew this because he sang it all of the time. There is a line in the song where it reads, “They’re taking you away, leaving me lonely. Silver wings slowly fading out of sight”. I think that he liked this song, because it made him reminisce about our mother. Well, now you’re leaving us lonely…with your silver wings slowly fading out of sight.
- Brother of friend
My friend always jokingly referred himself as “The Legend”. However, now I’m not so certain that he wasn’t serious. As I looked around, I saw more people than chairs, men and women standing in the lobby and wrapped around the walls to celebrate his life. All of us were in tears, but also very moved.
I was effected by the service in more than one way. I could sense the pain that his daughter was feeling as I related it to the feeling that I would have if I lost my father. Also learning about the extremely close bond between him and his daughter, I associated it with the amazing bond between my son and I. I feel pain for my son in that moment, knowing that he will one day be graveling over my own passing. It made me want to do better for him. To make every day truly count. It makes me not want to miss any opportunity in his life.
His story also made me think about what he was feeling when his mother passed. He was 13 years old and I was 14 years old when my mother left my life. My parents divorced and my mother became a stranger to me. We stopped talking for 6 years. When I was a child, my mother was my world, so I could relate to how he felt. It truly took me back to those days.
So, I left that service was a deep heaviness in my heart, yet feeling the triumph of inspiration. He called himself a legend and I wanted his story to make him just that. He was a legend to me. He was an inspiration to me, because he had so much love to give, but was only shattered by the cruelness of the world. I didn’t care about his flaws, because I knew that was only the shell covering the big heart inside. He didn’t pass as a man that was drowned by alcohol, he didn’t pass a man that hurt others, but a man that had a deep unconditional love for family. That is someone worth knowing and learning from.