A blog about general entertainment, fashion, and movies. And some random stuff too.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eulogy for Chad Linley

I have been MIA the last week and a half because my family has suffered a horrible loss. My older cousin, Chad, passed away last Thursday and this whole week has been the worst week my family has experienced together. His funeral was at the end of this week and I was asked to speak. I wrote something for him and I decided to share it because I want everyone to know what a beautiful person Chad was. This is what I said for my precious Chad at the funeral.

"Chad is my older cousin on my mother's side of the family. He was always doing things to disrupt or liven up the status quo. One of my favorite examples of this was from this past Christmas break when the cousins (there are 7 of us) were getting together after Christmas one last time before everyone had to go back to school/work/whatever. We all decided to go to Red Lobster for lunch and as we walked in, Chad spots the lobster tank. Without hesitation, he went over and scooped one of the lobsters out with his bare hand. It wasn't some sort of premeditated idea. It seemed to just be a visceral reaction to seeing the lobster tank. The obvious thing to do. Why wouldn't he pick up this lobster? So naturally, I pulled out my camera. Maybe my first thought should have been to tell him to put down the lobster before they kicked us out, but it made for an awesome picture. And no one who worked there seemed too upset. On the contrary, it seemed to make them all laugh more than anything.

That's one of the main things that can be said about Chad. He had an inexhaustible ability to make those around him laugh, to make them feel joy. The last few days have been some of the hardest I have ever experienced in my life, but one thing that has really helped sooth some of this pain has been being able to go on Facebook and see the beautiful memories and funny stories that Chad's friends and loved ones have posted about him. Most all of these memories are stories about Chad's unyielding, loving nature. Chad was absolutely everyone's biggest fan. He loved everyone, all the time, no matter what you did, who you were, who you dated, how you believed, whatever; you were his favorite person. Even if there were tons of people around, he could make you feel like the most important person in the room. You felt like you belonged. You felt like you were loved. Because he was talking to you. Because he was interacting with you.

One of my best friends only met him, maybe twice, but when I told her the news she broke down crying. Later, she sent me a memory she cherished about Chad. She said: 'It was at your parents Fourth of July party. He jumped out, looking like an Indian about to do a firework dance, with intense eyes and his music blaring and I couldn't help but think of the sun. I could tell just from that occasion that he was full of light and had a spirit that attracted people towards him. I remember listening to his music and knowing that he had a talent that other people needed to hear. He rushed to hug me when I left and I remember how daring I thought he was because he hardly knew me. That night I felt like his favorite person and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to meet him and to share an experience with him where I could see his heart and spirit.'

A day or so after I got the news, I remembered something that was sitting in the back of my mind all week. I had thought that I needed to text Chad about something (I can't even remember what it was about, maybe a joke I saw on Tosh.0, because we loved to text each other jokes from that show) I wanted to text him because he'd get a kick out of it or... he'd like to hear about it... or something. And I had stuck that in the back of my head with the to-do list stuff and forgotten about it, assuming it was something I could do at any time. The weight of this hit me all at once, because we aren't guaranteed a tomorrow.

I wrestled with feeling like I'd been robbed, like this was the worst injustice. And these things are true and still they eat at me. However, when I looked at all the people who have been deeply or even briefly impacted by Chad, or when I see the joy on the faces of those who are just telling stories about him and the eagerness so many have to do so, or when I break down about losing him only to end up smiling through my tears because I just can't help it at thinking of his boyish charisma and his unrelenting affectionate spirit , I have to think about it in another way, too. He was taken too soon, but I am still so blessed that he was here at all. He impacted us and continues to do it.

He showed us what it looked like to choose to be happy, to choose joy. He showed us what it meant to be playful. And above all, he showed us what it felt like to be loved unconditionally, because it was the thing he did so extraordinarily well.

He was one fiercely positive ball of energy and each of our lives, this world, was made more beautiful because he existed in it. We are not guaranteed more time, but we are so blessed nonetheless."