Amanda and I would like to thank you all for joining us as we honor and remember our brother, Daniel. There is a terrible heffalump in the room with us, however. And I need to tackle it head on because that is the only way I know to fell it or drive it away.
Chemical Depression is a physical disease. It causes a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes it very difficult to feel happiness or sometimes feel anything at all. Dan’s struggle with this began before he was ten years old. But Dan was always so quick with a joke, or a smile, or a funny face, or a hand just when you needed one, that from the outside, with the optimism he could inspire, this was often incredibly hard to see.
Dan was always very sensitive, and I mean that without any negative connotations at all. He had one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen crammed into a person. Because of that, he so often gave of himself, whether it was his smile, his time, his strength, his knowledge, or just a hug. These were his coping mechanisms, because it was your smile that got him through his struggle day after day. But it was not possible for any of us to fight this battle for him.
What’s happened is so incredibly unfair and so sudden that it seems completely senseless. And while we can never know for sure the reasons that led to this terrible tragedy, it is possible to understand Dan’s struggle with Depression.
Depression lies. It tells you that you are nothing, that you can do nothing, and that you have nothing to give to those you love. We know this cannot be true. Dan gave us all so much, and we are all already longing for the incredible friendship that has now ended. There is a vast unfillable hole in our lives left by his passing. Dan was so very, very loved. He made us laugh. He saw us all through many parts of our lives, both good times and bad ones. I can’t begin tell you how much easier this would be for Amanda and I to get through this if we could have him here to help us do it.
Depression cheats. It makes it impossible for you to think clearly, for you to recognize long-term consequences, or even conceive of the possibility of the long-term. Part of what makes this so shockingly painful is how well Dan was doing in so many ways recently. We were all so proud of the things he was only beginning to accomplish. And while for us remaining behind in our sorrow, this seems like a cruel insult added to an already grave injury, you must understand that this is only Depression’s cheat. When you feel better, you have more energy. Your personality loses restraint. Your emotions grow bigger and more forceful, while your reactions and decisions are still just as rash. And it does not matter that they carry far more consequence when Depression does not permit you to perceive those consequences, or even a time after now.
This is how Depression steals. This is the way that someone so kind-hearted, so loving and so beloved, could leave us. This is why Dan was taken from us all by such cruel surprise. And so, as we all try to cope with this terrible loss of our brother, our cousin, our nephew, our friend, Amanda and I would like you to keep something in mind.
Do not anguish yourselves in a vain wish to understand a moment that can never be understood. Wish instead that Dan knows that he is loved. Do not blame yourselves and do not blame each other. Understand that now Dan’s painful struggle is finally over and he may finally find the peace he sought with such effort in life.