Max Kresin was a very fragile boy. Yet his brilliance surpassed those three times his age. He knew the world on a different level. He was capable of understanding the spirits of animals, of plants. Max’s perception of the world was beautifully portrayed in his art and poetry. Growing up next to him, our families were extremely close-knit. I’ll never forget the Christmases we spent together, laughing and playing tag with the other kids all over the house. I’ll never forget the frog Christmas ornament he gave me one year. I’ll never forget sneaking into the kitchen for the freshly baked cookies that we just had to have. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything, even for a visit from DaVinci himself. But Max always was a little lost. I don’t think he was ever entirely satisfied with himself, or even his surroundings. He would experience extreme mood shifts, taking his frustration out on the ones he cared most about. He suffered from dyslexia and other learning problems. Yet he took comfort the unconditional love he received from his family; his parents, younger sister, and most of all, his twin brother Conor. The struggles, however, grew too much for him. On October 20, Max took his life. He was thirteen years old. For as long as I live, I will never forget that instant wrenching feeling of heartache. That sheer, raw emotion of vast emptiness that consumes you faster then you could ever imagine. As I saw in the third pew of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, I was surrounded by memories, frustration, sadness, but mostly by questions. I still can’t fathom how it all happened. It seems like a nightmare, a horrible nightmare that no one can wake up from. It’s amazing how one event can alter your entire outlook, your entire beliefs on life. Something so powerful and compelling you feel it could shatter the Earth. As I cried silently before the service formally began, Conor approached gingerly me. He gazed at me with something behind his eyes. It was something that hadn’t been seen in the church that day. Hope. Hope that somehow, we could persevere with our lives. And this look of hope was purely through Max’s eyes. At that moment I was taken over with a different type of feeling. It was a feeling of promise, of a sense that somehow, things might be okay again. This promise was gently laid across the 200 mourners, a blanket of familiarities. His soul always soared with the birds passing by, or the gentle ripple of the water. He danced a unique and fantastic beat to life. His physical presence may be gone, but his soul will remain forever with each of us. I realized that sitting in the third pew that tragic October morning. I have to believe, for Max’s sake, that there is light even in the darkest of places.
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