don't ever say goodbye

You told me I’m the most beautiful person you've ever met in your entire life. I must not be though, because I’m still here, you’re way over there, and it didn’t stop you from saying goodbye.
—  k.r.b. // don’t say pretty things like that
don't ever say goodbye. — evan’s eulogy

I’ve known for quite some time that I’d have to stand here and relay this eulogy to you all. I’ve had years to prepare, to ready myself for the loss I’d inevitably experience. I know that I should be equipped for this, with a speech that properly encompasses my relationship with my father, and how wonderful of a human being I thought him to be. I can do this, I suppose. This piece of paper in front of me is a demonstration of that. But I don’t want to. I really don’t want to, because I’m not ready to say goodbye to him. But I have to. I know this now as I look to you all with his coffin beside me.

I think all of us, at some point in our lives, have possessed the ridiculous belief that our parents will live forever. I certainly did, even after I found out about his condition. I was young, too young to properly come to terms with such a thing. Neither of us quite knew how to handle it. But my dad did his best anyway. I remember he’d assure me that everything was going to be okay, that we’d get through it together over and over until I started to believe it. He kept to that promise, and I’d like to think I did too.

That’s how it always was. He and I, us against the world, dealing with whatever fate happened to throw at us and holding hands through it all. It had been that way ever since my mom left. He’d been devastated by it, concealing his despair for my sake, keeping it behind closed doors that I didn’t dare to open. Although I hadn’t reacted in the same way, I understood. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be left by the love of your life, but surely, it was enough for anyone to disintegrate emotionally, to give up completely. But he didn’t do that. Quite the opposite, actually. He took the role of both mother and father to me, toiling day and night to make ends meet while doing his best to keep some sort of normalcy between us. He didn’t want me to grow up in a broken home. He wanted me to be happy, and he made sure I was.

There were a few other struggles I won’t mention so publicly, but let’s just say that in the lowest, most terrifying point in my young life, he didn’t run like my mother had. He didn’t turn away or allow his fear to get in the way of helping me. Instead, my dad did all that he possibly could to pull me out of that darkness. I’m not sure I would have survived it without him.

I will say sorry for not being open about his condition earlier. He felt guilty about it too; right from the moment we made the decision to keep it private. I’m sure you all would have appreciated additional time to adjust, just as I have. But I can assure you, no amount of time can prepare you for such a loss. It’s the kind of harm that endures, a pain that imprints itself upon you permanently, leaving a hole in your chest that can never truly be filled.

But my father wouldn’t want us to focus on that. But then again, he wouldn’t want me to stand here and list each of his wonderful qualities and achievements like I’ve been doing. He’d want us to instead follow his example by harnessing the pain and grief we all feel right now, and prosper because of it. By all means, I’m not telling any of you to stop grieving. I only ask that while we do so, we carry a little piece of Evan with us. That we incorporate the same resilience and courage he had into our own souls, particularly in hard times like these. And I promise you, if we do, we’ll end up kinder, braver and just plain better because of it.

Like I said, I’m not ready to let go of you yet Dad. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe your spirit will haunt me for the rest of my life. Maybe that’s how I’ll carry your piece. I can only hope.