Saturday, September 12, 2009

Funeral March

Well, the funeral turned out to be absolutely beautiful and something Daniel would have been pleased with, if this were at all even possible. Standing room only, too. It was still somewhat weird having to return to the town of our youth especially under these circumstances.

The actual service ended up lasting just over an hour. Both of his sisters got up to speak - he was the middle child - as well as his best friend from high school and also one of his nieces - in total he was uncle to five nieces and one nephew. The minister's sermon was very fitting as she took time to address Daniel's two decade battle with mental illness and depression, as well as talking about how he ultimately died. In fact, no one that got up to speak shied away from these normally uncomfortable subjects. To be sure, his parents opened this door originally when they stated in the newspaper's announcement's section how their son actually died. This was certainly a most unusual, not to mention brave move on their part. I can't remember ever seeing something like this mentioned in any other announcement of death in a paper's personnel's section.

I certainly can understand their reasons behind doing this. Anyone attending his funeral would have already been familiar with the fact he was bi-polar and had been for decades. This eliminated having to respond to dozens and dozens of people asking how he died. I can just imagine how both of his parents would have dreaded this part of the whole service, but because of the type of people that they are, they would have answered each and every question without hesitation.

Jim and Daniel started high school twenty nine years ago, and except for a few of their class mates that just simply could not make it to the funeral, almost their entire class managed to show up. This fact alone speaks volumes and then some...Its unfortunate that Daniel never was able to recognize this fact. For most of his life, he felt irrelevant, or that he just simply couldn't measure up to the rest of us. If only he could have taken a step back and actually seen what it was we all saw and recognized in him.

He was a brilliant writer and artist, as well as an excellent student and athlete. Everything came naturally for him though he may not have quite seen it that way. He was one of the best looking guys in high school who could have had any girl that he wanted, but ended up spending his years there single. He was accepted into all of the universities he applied for, and even managed to excel while studying away in a foreign city away from his friends and family.

It was during his final year at university that he was diagnosed with  manic depression - my understanding is that this is now called bi-polar - and even with this, he still managed to graduate. For about half a decade after this, he ended up in and out of institutions, so that by the time he was in his thirties, he felt as if he had really been left behind, and never recovered from this setback.

It really is all very, very tragic. His sisters read some of his most recent writings and while they were all exceptional, they certainly spoke to his current state of  mind. He was filled with far too much  pain it would seem, and nothing on this world seemed to offer him the relief he so obviously sought.

Peace, love and  happiness...

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