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Aaron Kimel Homily

Aaron Kimel Homily

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Published by: akimel on Jun 23, 2012
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05/08/2013

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Funeral Homily for Aaron Edward KimelDelivered byFather Alvin F. Kimel, Jr.22 June 2012In the Name of the Father and the Son and the HolySpirit. Amen.Introduction
 Not once have I ever entertained the possibility that I wouldever find myself in this moment, preaching at the funeral of one of my children.I stand here today not to offer a eulogy for my son Aaron.There will be other opportunities for such eulogies, as weeach seek to find healing for our loss and to understand thetragic decision of Aaron to end his life.My purpose, rather, is to offer an argument. Aaron was brilliant. He loved a good argument, and he usually won.Aaron and I did not often speak about God. At some pointin high school he moved into a scientific materialism fromwhich he would not be moved. He was not a militantatheist, as he acknowledged that it was possible, however unlikely, that God might exist; but he simply could not,would not, embrace a Christian worldview. Yet for the sakeof family, he always said grace with us at dinnertime.
 
I am not a philosopher. There is no argument I can offer that Aaron could not demolish in five seconds flat. I stand before you as a priest of the Church for over thirty years.But most importantly I stand before you as a bereavedfather, who has been utterly devastated by the death of his beloved son.Aaron’s death has been a traumatic—and clarifying—eventfor me. I see reality more sharply, more clearly than I haveever seen it before. I stand before you, therefore, either asa madman … or a prophet of God Almighty. I cannot judge. You must be my judge. God will most certainly bemy judge.
Nihilism
Aaron did not believe in God. He did not believe intranscendent reality. He did not believe in a life beyond thegrave. Life has no ultimate meaning or significance. After death there is only nothing.In Aaron’s room I found my old copy of the short stories of Ernest Hemingway. I do not know when he borrowed it.Perhaps he read the story “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.”In this story we read the prayer of nihilism:Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thykingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada.Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nadaas we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but
 
deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.It is a relentlessly bleak, hopeless view. Despair is its onlyconclusion.Aaron was a man who lived in profound interior pain. Hehad come to the conclusion that nothing in this world,neither medicine nor psychiatry nor career nor even thelove of his family could deliver him from the despair andfutility that had possessed and paralyzed him. And so hemade what seemed, to him, to be the logical choice.A logical choice … if, and only if, Aaron’s worldview istrue. If Aaron is right, then he has indeed found relief fromhis suffering, relief in nothingness, relief in nada, nada,nada. We who have been left behind must now suffer therepercussions of Aaron’s decision; but he at least he is at peace … if Aaron is right …
The Christian Alternative
But there is an alternative. Consider the possibility thatthere really is a divine Creator, a transcendent deity of infinite love who has brought the world into being from outof nothing. Consider the possibility that this Creator hasmade human beings in his image in such a way that we canonly find our supreme happiness in communion with him.Consider the possibility that this God has actually enteredinto his creation, taking upon himself the limitations of 

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Murray Dalrymple added this note
Read you Homily several times. It takes courage to preach your child's funeral. Seven years ago our pastor,Dr. James Austin, preached his daughters funeral. His daughter was unable to speak and for 21 years could do nothing for herself. But, as you, had hope that one day he would be able to talk to her. That's what we all hope for. The journey of grief will take us places we never imaged.
Jean Ramey Prevatte added this note
I read your homily on fb where my friend, Becky Briggs, posted it. As the mother of a 20 year old daughter who died accidentally and very carelessly 15 years ago I was amazed that you were able to write as you did. As I read I was certain that your son is in heaven as I knew without a doubt that Leigh had gone there also. I can only assure you that things will get better & the pain will lessen.

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