Every now and then I go back and read through the things I’ve posted here. When I did so today I realized that I often make reference to Kevin’s “Light” and his “Ripples”. It occured to me that if you are reading this, but you did not attend Kevin’s funeral you might not understand where these themes come from. So I decided it might be helpful to post the words I spoke at Kevin’s funeral.
These are the very first words I wrote about Kevin. Indeed, these words are the first I was ever compelled to write. I was sitting at my kitchen table on the Friday after Kevin’s death when out of the blue the words “How do you measure a life” popped into my head.
I had been asked if I wanted to speak at the funeral and originally I had said no, I didn’t think I could get through it. When these words came to me I had to begin writing, right at that moment. The words poured out of me quickly, perhaps fifteen or twenty minutes. The next day I edited the fourth paragraph, but other than the very last line these are the same words I wrote on Friday October 15, 2010.
I once mentioned that as I gave that speech I could feel my father standing at my side with his hand on my shoulder, holding me up and giving me strength. There was a teleprompter facing me with Kev’s graduation picture on it. I looked up at him throughout the speech and when it was over, I added the last line speaking directly to him.
How do you measure a life?
There are those who will tell you it’s measured by fame, or fortune.
Others will tell you it’s measured by experience, or knowledge.
But the wisest know that the true measure of a life lived, is by the impact that life had on others. The ripples sent out from one soul impact everyone they touch.
Some selfish souls try to wash over the whole world in an attempt to fill their own emptiness. This is the root of evil, the pitiable screams of an angry, unloved child.
The truest souls realize that the most powerful ripples are gentle and intimate. Their lasting impact is to make this world a better place by touching the souls closest to them, gently nudging so that they might, in turn, go out and touch others. This is the power that can move mountains.
This is also the lesson of Kevin’s life. His impact on each of us here today, and hundreds of others who are unable to join us… he was there. Oh, he loved to have fun, and to compete, and man he loved to make us laugh. But he was also there, not just when you wanted him, but more importantly when you NEEDED him.
I know how much Kevin worried about you all. I know some of your stories; I’ve learned some new ones when I read your remembrances. Other stories are yours to keep private. What comes through loud and clear is that Kevin cared for all of us. He was a wise man.
Please take this from here today. Be there, 100%, for the people who love you and need you. Let Kevin’s impact keep rippling… keep growing.
Kevin has left us much too early and he has left a huge void in our lives. The pain we are all feeling today is testament to the impact he had on us. His life was short, but by the wisest measure he leaves this world a rich, rich man.
I love you Kev, I believe your light was too bright for this world.