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When you contain an ocean of sadness, it can be necessary to calcify your shores lest the tide surge beyond them, leaking into all aspects of life. People call this cynicism or bitterness, but it’s simply a defense mechanism to keep them along the beaches and away from the snarling sea beyond the horizon. For out there in the deep is more than they are willing to comprehend, a place where one is swept away into the melancholy, often fatally. Yet oceans are relentless, eroding their containers methodically, so the calcification is a process of constant maintenance, a necessary edifice to forever repair. Time is no match for an ocean.

It’s not a secret this methodology seldom holds up. Leaks are common and difficult to control once they’ve begun, and they manifest themselves in a myriad of ways, nearly all negative. Substance abuse. Violent behavior. Complete social withdrawal. Or the owner of all that murky water simply opts to take the plunge, dive headlong into the briny foam and drown once and for all. Every outcome is tragic, but this last one haunts all of us here today, for it was the choice our dear Edward made when he shuffled off our mortal coil by his own hand.

There are many memories to celebrate, as those who have spoken before me recounted, and I share some of them, as well as several of my own. But we have gathered today to mourn the loss of our friend, brother and son, and I would be remiss in pretending to not be overwhelmed with sorrow. I, too, have employed the calcification strategy against my depression, as Edward did, and it has predictably collapsed multiple times, just as it did for him. In fact, much of my most important time spent with him was the two of us dwelling on precisely that. How did it fall apart for you this time? Why? I want more than ever to ask him that today, though I suppose I know his answer.

He was swallowed. There’s no shame in that. Some of you may want there to be, to blame him for his shortcomings and imposing this grief upon you, which is an understandable reaction, but also a deeply self-centered one. You weren’t out there, trying to build up the dam along the shores every day. Maybe some days, maybe quite a few days, but not always. I don’t mean to admonish you. We simply couldn’t be. Only Edward had to tend the coastline at all times, searching for fissures. But a tsunami can sweep you out to sea in a blink, and no one’s safe against the ocean. Rest in peace, dear friend.

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