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Monday, January 31, 2011

Raymond's Eulogy

When Joseph died, everything was black. I now know that you can die of a broken heart. We could not sleep, we could not eat or drink. I always wondered when I went to someone’s funeral or wake , whether I made a difference.

I can tell you now that you, our family and friends helped us to live.

On the behalf of the Chow Family, I want to thank everyone for their incredible support.

Thank you so very much.

Our son Joseph

Initially, even though he worked so hard, he had no success. He was always the youngest, smallest in his class.

As parents, we send our kids out into the world. We cannot be with them. We can only hope that they make friends and succeed.

When he went to Fordham Prep a magical transformation into a wonderful, caring, athletic, beautiful young man began. That growth continued at Amherst. He had such fantastic friends. We were so happy. Joseph worked so hard. He was called “Speedy Joe” by the Amherst swim team, because he was the slowest on the team.

He lived every minute of his life.

He really was the “Little Engine that Could.”

Joseph took all of what his family, friends, teachers and coaches had to give, internalized it and passed it forward.

When we heard that he was going to Africa with the Peace Corps, we were really worried. We were worried he would stick out.

We worried that he would be mugged, kidnapped, or robbed, and that he would not succeed and integrate into his community.

Joseph told us not to worry. That the Peace Corps told him that all you had to do was make friends and that they would keep him safe.

He was confident that would happen.

When we met with Andrea, we were able to see videos, pictures and remembrance book from Tanzania. He had lots of friends. He had succeeded.

With the death of Joseph, there has been lots of grief and sorrow.

Donna and I want you to release your grief and sorrow. We will hold onto that. It is a parent’s burden and prerogative to do so.

Instead, we want you to celebrate his memory.

If his memory helps you do better, if it helps you live life more fully, if in the dark, his memory gives you a little light, or helps your flame burn a little brighter, if you take this and pass it to your friends and family, then a little piece of Joe will live on.

If Joe were listening now I can just see how he would react.

He would smile that big smile of his. Then he would do his high pitched giggle. Then he would break out in his loud laugh.

Then he would raise his hands in mock exasperation and go AARGH!!

Then he would lean forward and with great gusto he would say to me. “Dad, That was CRAP!”

Before Father O’konsky gives the final prayer, I would like us all to clap for Joe. The Applause will help send his spirit up to heaven.

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