December 8, 1980 – February 6, 2018
A long-held acquaintance of mine committed suicide a few days ago. Shawn Leonard. His funeral service was today. Shawn was a friend of my husband’s since the 6th grade who, according to Mike, entered his friend group based on his skills of not being deterred by all the crap they gave him.
Feelings of grief and loss have been coming in waves for me since his death.
The funeral today was packed full of people, filled with sorrow, confusion, and questions – one glaring one in particular: Why?
On the back of the program for today’s service, it stated:
Shawn made everyone’s life a little brighter. He will be so missed by so many. Don’t ask why – ask how you can bring a little Shawn to the lives of those you love.
Each member of his parental team: mom, dad, stepmom, and stepdad, along with four of his six siblings and his oldest nephew, spoke at the service, painting a vivid picture of Shawn’s authentic, lighthearted, and generous spirit. Some of their words that stuck with me and made a lasting impression:
If there’s something you want to do with a loved one, DO IT! (Shawn’s dad)
Shawn loved hard and loved often. (One of his sisters)
Talk more and listen more. I regret that I didn’t talk more and listen more to Shawn. We never know when it will be the last time we’ll see someone. (Shawn’s 19-year-old nephew)