Some things do not need a commentary. This is one of them. No need for me to butcher it. Jeff was the son of a friend of mine. He was thirty-three.
This written memorial is one of a kind. I have read nothing like it. It screams with pain and open-hearted honesty. Here is a brief excerpt:
“Jeff didn’t give himself much credit. He didn’t allow himself to see himself like anyone who knew him saw him. He couldn’t fathom that anyone could see him differently than how he viewed himself. He was funny, he was smart, and he was caring. Jeff loved hard and with everything he had. He sees it now: in our memories we share, in our tears, in our laughter. He sees what he couldn’t here on Earth.”
My friend’s brother gave the eulogy. I can’t remember it all, but I remember two things vividly. First, speaking to his brother and family, “You did all you could”. A little later he told everyone that they were burying our regrets with Jeff. No second guessing or living in the past. “We are not taking those away from here.”
This is a family of immense faith. They told Jeff’s story directly. They chose to be honest. Their faith allowed them to share in a way that might help another family.
Mental illness is beyond real and has finally entered the public conversation. Unfortunately, we frame the dialogue in our country as a battle over who can buy a gun. Maybe that is part of the solution albeit a small one. I don’t have the answer. I do know that there are many people hurting and in need of help that are not plotting to injure someone else. Let’s not forget those people. How do we reach those people?
Jeff received help, but as is too often the case it didn’t measure up to the inner darkness. Standing on the outside, one can’t know that. Not a parent. Not a professional. Depression is the bottom of a well. A spark of light reveals hope. If only one could have ignited.
Losing a child is beyond painful. Impossible. There will always be the time before and a time after. It is not supposed to happen this way. I feel idiotic even commenting. How can I grasp the hurt?
I pray for this family daily. We each know someone who could use the same. A prayer, unsolicited, from a far.
Run in Peace, Rest in Grace