While attempting to collect any prior writing I had done in my life a few days ago, as a means to get started on my “real” writing, I found the hand-written speech I wrote and read at my 21 year old brother’s memorial service at the end of November, 2000. I hadn’t read it in a very long time, so it was both emotional and interesting to see what it contained. Perhaps the most notable thing about it (to me) is how similar I am to the person I was 14 years ago. I often give yoga much of the credit for teaching me how to heal and shift my perspective, but this speech shows me that I have always thought that way. Yoga just confirms and validates what I have always known.
I have just now transcribed this address into type and am sharing it for the first time.
(The memorial service was held in the chapel of the private school that my sister and I attended, as my mother worked as a staff member in the library there, and the school therefore allowed us to use the chapel for no cost.)
Thank you all so much for coming here this evening to celebrate Ted’s life. It is amazing to see how many lives Ted has touched and affected.
I was just here in this beautiful chapel a few months ago, revisiting this school after many years, and I can not describe how unreal it is to be standing here now in front of you all in such unspeakably sad and tragic circumstances. Meeting in this beautiful setting does bring some comfort, however, and I believe that there is also special meaning for Ted that we are here.
Ted had an unfounded notion that he was not as smart or capable as his sisters- that he was not good enough to have ever attended an elite school such as this one. But I believe that he was the best of all of us. I know that he was incredibly smart- he was an innate writer, had a keen mind for business, worked incredibly hard, was extremely organized, and had a strong ambition to become a financial manager and help others manage their money well- an ability he was particularly proud of in his own life. In addition to these traits, Ted was the funniest and most caring and generous person I have ever known. I believe that by gathering here, we are letting him know that he does belong in the best of places.
Ted had a tough life, but he had an amazing spirit and strength to carry him through. He was not only able to cope with difficult experiences, but to triumph, to prevail, and to turn his own pain into making everyone around him happier.
Ted really understood people and had the rare ability to relate to everyone- no matter what their position in life was. He was said that he could see things that others could not.
He never had a bad word for anyone, no matter what they did- or didn’t do- for him. He forgave people for their shortcomings. He catered to each unique personality he encountered.
He worked really hard himself, so that he would be in the position to help everyone else, and was always thinking of how he could make others happy. At Christmas time, Ted would buy presents for everyone- not just friends and family members, but friends of family members, co-workers, even strangers who were down on their luck. He put a lot of thought into each and every gift and always managed to come up with the most perfect gifts for each person.
He also had a tremendous sense of humor and was always making people laugh. He put people at ease.
Ted was so important to me. He was my little buddy, my anchor in life. I loved him deeply and looked forward to being closer and closer to him as time went on. I depended on his friendship and sense of humor. I knew that I could call him anytime. He knew that I love hugs so he always gave me one when he greeted me and again when he left. He would always tell me funny stories of good times he had had, like on St. Patrick’s Day when he donned a green Irish top hat and danced around to Irish step music all night long entertaining everyone there.
Ted truly lived life to its fullest. I am hoping that we can all infuse some of his spirit into us and that we can carry through life by laughing, joking with each other, and being good to one another.
Too many of us close ourselves off and don’t communicate our feelings or affection to one another. We alienate ourselves and create misunderstandings among each other (sometimes because we are just too afraid). I am hoping that we can learn from Ted how important it is to share both good times and bad with each other, to always show your love, to be open, to try to understand and relate to one another, and to realize that we can find strength in each other and make our lives meaningful and happy.
You hear too often that life is too short to be so angry or to tell those you love that you love them everyday- but in our daily rigor, we tend to forget this advice.
If we keep Ted with us in our hearts, we can help each other out so much. I hope that you will always share stories about Ted and keep his spirit alive. And don’t be afraid to act a little crazy now and then. Dance around and break a rule every once in awhile. Ted will be smiling with you.