Last week, after 3 years of pain and paralysis following neck surgery, my dear friend Brandon chose to took his own life. Brandon’s parents asked me to speak at his funeral. They wanted me to read his biosketch and then talk about my near death experience and let the family know that Brandon was OK. I was happy to help out. Brandon was 40 years old, with 3 children. The funeral was beautiful. His kids all had a part. His oldest daughter explained that the kids were not mad at their dad, they were happy he was out of pain. I must say this was the hardest speech I’ve ever given. It was just so hard not to cry, and I wanted to be a comfort to the family, not add to their stress. I closed the talk with a poem by Henry Van Dyke called Gone from My Sight. It’s about how, at the same time we are saying goodbye to Brandon, there’s a whole group of people on the other side who are welcoming him home. Our loss is certainly their gain. Brandon was a wonderful person who lit up a room. I will miss him. And I know he’s OK.

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