V.I.P. / R.I.P.
(Very Important Person / Rest In Peace)
Recently I attended the funeral of a friend's son Cory who left this life way before his time. I wasn't fortunate enough to have known him well, but the others in attendance that day did. I was envious of Cory for the family and the many friends gathered there that day. One of the sayings I love is; a true measure of a man is not the money in his bank account, instead it's the friends and family that show up to pay their respects. In my eyes Cory was a very wealthy man because the family and friends that showed up that day nearly filled the church to its capacity. So many of those that were there will forever wonder "Could I have done something to avoid this"? Did I miss a sign or not return a phone call when I should have? Or the ever hopeless thought of I wasn't there for him when he needed me. His memory will haunt us all for some time yet his life will always be remembered by those who knew him, always and forever!
I was in awe of the turn out and so impressed by Father Kevin Anderson who officiated over the service. My understanding was Father Anderson knew Cory, his family and so many of the friends that were gathered there that day. It wasn't just a funeral; it was a tribute to Cory and a celebration of his life.
Father Anderson took a stand that day in the Catholic Church when he said that depression was an illness. Those that commit suicide were ill and would not be held forever in purgatory. I found great comfort in his words and his ancient folk songs he sung. It seemed to me that the folk songs explained the difficult journey Cory faced. More people than you and I will ever imagine suffer from depression unaware that they have this illness.
My father and his father before him would have looked the other way seeing me cry openly. My heart was broken watching my friends suffer, not to mention when the brothers and sisters read their letters and testimonials to Cory. But Lisa's letter to her son is the one that took me over the edge. I can so relate to her in the fact that we may not have been there at birth but we are and forever will be their parents. Not just because of marriage, not because of changing the diapers, but because of the way you found your way into our hearts.
One thing I will never understand is the helplessness that Cory must have been in when he left his life behind. I myself believe that he was very ill because I could never imagine that he would knowingly have hurt those that love him so. He would never have left it to his family to pick up the pieces and deal with the aftermath of his actions. I pray that Cory's family will someday move on with their lives; the first year being the hardest with the first birthday, Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving without Cory. Just know that it's OK to mourn him and wish that he were there with you as you gather together as a family. Truth is that he will be there with you, because each of you will have Cory there with you in your heart.
I wanted to share two things from the funeral flyer that was handed out that day. The first one written by his family is:
Cory touched the lives of all those that had the privilege of knowing him and becoming his friend. If you were privileged enough to have had Cory in your life as a son, brother, or friend you were one of the lucky ones. Just as he embraced everyone, we embrace Cory into our hearts. It was a true privilege to know him.
The other one is the poem on the back side that's reads:
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free, I'm following the path that God laid for me. I took his hand when I heard him call. I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way. I found my place at close of day. If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy - A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss, ah yes , these things I to will miss! Be not burdened with time of sorrow, I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life's been full; I've savored much - Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch. Perhaps my time seemed all to brief. Don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your hearts and share with me. God wanted me now: he set me free.
To Cory's family I wanted to say thank you for sharing your son, friend and brothers life with us. I can honestly say that I wish I had taken the chance to have gotten to know Cory better. I'm here for you all if you need me and will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
Cory Allan Hoffman
27 September 1992 to 31 July 2011
"May you find the peace that you were searching for!"