How does one measure the value of a life? Not, I submit, by wealth amassed, fame achieved, or honors bestowed. But rather, I believe, by the impact that the life had on those left behind.
Alex’s life on earth was cut brutally short, but on those who knew him, his family and friends, it had an extraordinary impact. It is strange for one so old to say of one so young, but we learned much from Alex. We are better people because this wonderful young man beautiful inside and out - was in our lives.
Alex’s charm and gift for making friends of everyone from his classmates at St. Bernard’s, Trinity and Princeton, to the Doctors and Nurses at Memorial Sloan-Ketterlng, who tried so hard to save his life, showed how friendship can forge bonds between people bringing joy In good times and comfort In times of adversity.
Alex’s writings, which received two national awards, demonstrated that one can be funny, witty and produce great comedy without er being cruel, caustic or sarcastic.
Alex’s hikes in Colorado and Alaska, and along the Appalachian Trail and his travels in China, where he studied Mandarin and played an occasional video game with Tibetan Monks, showed us how a thirst for knowledge and adventure can broaden the mind and elevate the spirit.
Alex taught us the importance of love of family. Alex’s love for his wonderful parents and brothers was at the very core of his being. We all know that an Illness such as his can tear a family apart. Because of the great love between Alex and his family, these family ties are now even stronger than ever.
And, we leaned much from the courage and grace with which Alex faced his terrible Illness. One example: Last summer, Alex was given a delayed birthday party. Though frail, he gave every appearance of having a fine time and of being In good spirits. No one could have guessed, that the very day before the party, the doctors had told him that all of the draconian treatment and operations over the past two years had failed, and that his days on earth were numbered.
We mourn the passing of this intelligent, insightful, sensitive, courageous, graceful and gallant young man. We mourn the books he would have written, the theatrical roles he would have played, and all the good in the world that he would have accomplished had he been given more time. And, we mourn the children he did not have and who would have carried on his genes.
But, we give thanks to Almighty God for having had Alex In our lives. And, we rejoice that he has been released from the pain and suffering of this earthy life and is now in Heaven.
Just as we know that infinity exists but cannot picture it, so we know that Alex has been called by the Lord, for reasons we cannot fathom, to a place we know Is there but cannot see.
But, I suspect that Alex is looking down on this gathering, not entirely displeased with being the center of all this attention, and, is, in fact, counting the house.
And, I know for sure, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that Alex has changed our lives for the better and that he will live forever In our minds and hearts.
- Richard M. Furlaud
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