A Final Farewell to Will Marris

So if Thursday night and Friday were hard on my family take that and multiply it about a zillion times and you may come close to how tough it must have been for the Marris and Warrington families. My daughter-in-law Meaghan summed it up when she posted on Facebook:

“The world certainly doesn’t make sense…

No mother and father should have to bury their son, no sister–her brother, or wife–her husband and for sure no little boy should go through life without his best friend, because of cancer.

and my wife added:

…what a heartbreaking day-seeing Nicole Marris walk down the to the front of the church holding the hand of her precious son Aiden brought tears to us all. I do want to say that I feel privileged to have known Will Marris and to be a small part of Team Willpower. Will fought bravely and as Nicole said, he lived fully and fearlessly. I have nothing but admiration and respect for Nicole-what an amazing young woman she is! She stood in the front of that church, alone and gave an inspiring and beautiful eulogy for her soulmate, Will. I feel so much love and sadness for this wonderful family. My heart goes out to my sweet DIL Melissa Marris-Karn and her parents Diane Marris and Bill. You raised two incredible children and Will will never be forgotten. My heart aches for Will’s grandmother-she recently lost her husband of 55 years and now her beloved grandson. Ed and I love you all

 This morning Nicole posted her beautiful eulogy to her soul-mate on Facebook. I don’t know how she got through it. She is so very strong.

“I struggled with deciding to post the Eulogy all night. I thought I would reserve it just for yesterdays Funeral service. So many have asked who heard about it to read it, but I wasn’t sure if I should keep that moment private.

The I went to check on Aiden early this morning to make sure he was covered up and saw that in his hand was pictures of his Daddy, just 5 shots of Will we had taken for his CPA license at a walgreens years earlier. Aiden had seen them months ago and kept them on his easel and now with out coaxing or fully understanding all that has happened he sleeps with Daddy. I took it as a sign from Will to share the words Will helped me to find, and ensure that people find the moments of happiness in their lives and cherish them.

I hope people read it and smile for us, not cry, or feel sorry but smile, thats what Will would have wanted, that is what he always did. Smile.

I know there are people thinking, how can I be up here? How can I stand up? People this week have told me that I am so strong. Truth is I never really felt strong. And I still don’t feel strong. What I have always felt is love. I was loved so unconditionally by a man who was my soul mate, my best friend in life. That has made me strong.
My joy is that over yesterday and today I have seen that love he gave me reciprocated by all of you. So many of you have shared stories, love, and admiration for the man I loved. That has made me strong.
Will and I had talked about this day. As much as we wanted a different outcome, more time, we knew this day would come. The one thing he wanted more than anything is for people to share his story. To share his life. He wanted to understand the struggle but also know his joy.
I’ve know Will since I was just 14 years old. I think God put us together that young so we could squeeze as much time together that we could. It wasn’t long after we met I knew he was the one. There was no one else I wanted to share every tear, every happy moment with than him. Even yesterday, I got some good news and I reached for the phone and immediately wanted to call him, to make him proud. He was always my biggest supporter, my number one fan I teased him.
When Will was diagnosed on June 15th 2010 with Lung Cancer, I can tell you it rocked our world. Like most of you feel now, I was angry and I think I grieved then for the death of our previous unaware life where Cancer didn’t exist. I think God made me feel that way then so I could feel the way I do now. Not angry, but thankful. I am so thankful for so many things. Will and I decided very early on that we couldn’t take his Cancer away; we couldn’t wish it never happened, or wake up and live that life before June 15th. But what we could do was control how we lived our lives after. And boy did we live. Will and I lived so fearlessly after that moment. We loved each other more deeply, hugged a little tighter, lingered a kiss just that much longer, savoring every ounce of the beautiful love god have gifted us. And no truer testament to god’s gift of love to us is Aiden.
Most of you who know us know Will and I were planners, we planned for everything. So it only made sense to plan to have a baby after we were married for 4 years. But after a year of being married I was ready. Will on the other hand was not. He struggled with the responsibility, would he be a good dad? Even joking, He said babies scared the crap out of him. And he refused said no way were not having a baby against our 4 year plan. But within a few months he had changed his mind, he always came around. Some people would say he was “whipped” tease him that I ran the relationship. But we both knew that wasn’t the case Will could get his way when he wanted to but if it was something that made me happy he’d go to the ends of the earth to make it happen, he loved me that much. It took a year for us to be blessed with our pregnancy but Aiden was worth the wait. And if there was a shadow of doubt in Wills mind about the type of Daddy he’d be it was erased after he held him. Will became the best Daddy I have ever seen. Aiden would call him best friend because he truly was. Despite chemo, radiation, illness Aiden always came 1st. Will made time to play, wrestle, laugh, and teach Aiden. It’s because of that Aiden is single handled the smartest, kindest, charismatic three year old I know.
Today I’m not saying goodbye to Will, because he’s never far away. He’s in my heart, on my mind, he’s all around, and he’s everywhere. I feel him even now telling me to make sure people keep fighting for Lung Cancer, for the people we had the privilege to fight this disease with. He’s want people to worry less and live more. To understand that you’re not a victim of your circumstance, unless you attitude reflects it. He’d want me to tell you to stop fighting, to forgive, and to say I love you early and often. But mostly he would want me to tell you to smile. Smile at a silly memory, laugh at an awkward moment because life is messy, and it can be really hard sometimes. But God gives us gifts, moments of true bliss and happiness, but sometimes it takes work, effort on our part to find them in the business of life. Please find those moments for Will.”

There’s not much more I can say. Will you were on very brave young man. You faced death every day yet it did not defeat you. You lived your life on your terms trying to do the most you could for everyone else. For Nicole, for Aiden, for your family and for everyone else who is suffering from the dreaded disease. Most times we go through life sweating the little things, bitching and moaning about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans in the long run. You faced down the “Big C” and made the most out of the little things, a smile, laugh a hug,, love they are the important things. Both times I participated in the Lung Cancer runs and you came up to me and gave me that smile and hug, it meant a lot to an old man! You were the one we were there for, but you gave out the most love and kindness!

There are some images from the last few days that we stay with me for a long time. First near the end of the viewing on Thursday night. Everyone was standing around talking and I looked over and there was Will’s Dad, by himself looking at several of the boards of  photographs. Just watching hin  wondering what must be going through his mind was heartbreaking. Then yesterday morning when they brought the casket through the center aisle of the church and Nicole and Aiden came down that to the front of the church, like my wife wrote there were not enough tissues in the world! Just before that I had seen two of Will’s close friends Jeff Reed and Jose Soarses come in and I thought, my God, my son Peter will be one of the pallbearers. Just two and one-half years ago Will had been the best man at Peter and Missy’s wedding and now they were burying him. Once again the line, life’s not fair comes to mind. You know Will, Peter chose you to be his best man! At the time we questioned that decision a bit but now we know, Will you are the BEST MAN!! May your life teach us all how to be a better, father, brother, and husband and may research money one day come flowing toward lung cancer, so that other families don’t have to face days like those just past. Will we will keep up the fight Team Willpower will stay strong, you shown us the way and we know you’ll always be there to cheer us on!

My wife pointed this song out to me the other night and it fits so well. Thanks Will, you will be missed and loved forever!