The Eulogy

The Eulogy


10 days since death

This was written and read at the funeral by CJ

This was the most challenging thing to write, not because of the context but because of the subject. There are no words I could use that would properly describe who and what Ariana was to me, to my kids, to her friends and family. There are no adjectives strong enough to describe the pain of my soul being rendered as I watched my best friend slowly fade away.

I have seen Ariana through many different eyes throughout the past few weeks, and I’ve never realized how deeply she impacted others. It is hard to see that when it was always my eyes that looked upon her.

Back in 2016, Ariana had finished her initial treatment. The chemo was done, and her surgeries were healed. We had made it through one of the most difficult years. And to celebrate we took a trip to Asia with our friends.

It was halfway into our trip when we found ourselves alone, sitting on the floor of the apartment we rented in Japan. The room was dark and still. Ariana turned to me and broke the silence. She began telling me how happy she was to be in Asia. How lucky she felt and grateful for the time we were spending together. My heart began to swell. I smiled and told her that I loved her.

She paused, and her eyes fell to the floor. Her smile faded, and the energy in the room changed. She looked back at me and told me that she got a call before leaving for our trip. Her cancer was back. My heart started to race, and my palms began to sweat. I was heartbroken all over again. Ariana let the moment hang in the air and gave me space to process. She started laughing a few moments later and told me she was just kidding.

That set the tone for her entire battle with cancer.

Apartment in Kyoto, Japan

For Ariana, everything in life was to be either enjoyed, laughed at, or loved. There was little room for anything else. She gave generously and protected intensely those that were close to her. She was my best friend.

A few months ago, when we got the news that the cancer had spread to her brain, she asked me if I thought I was winning or losing at life. I paused to think.

Ariana and I knew we were not special, but two people out of 7 billion on this earth. There was suffering all around us. We were not alone. So there was no reason to be angry about what was happening.

Ariana taught me how to love unconditionally, live freely and defend passionately over the nearly two decades we were together. The lessons were often painful and difficult, but our love was forged in the fire. We grew into adults together, and our spirits became one.

Over the years, the battle for her life was a continuous breaking of my heart, mind, and soul. In the final week of her life, my physical pain was unbearable as our spirits became untethered. Yet, it was the least I could do for her. The pain I carried and endured was not comparable to the pain she held onto and safe-guarded.

Ariana could love in the worst of times and showed me how to be there for others, even when I didn’t want to be. In my depression, she stood by my side, despite the pain it was causing her. She showed me how to care for someone in need. She prepared me to be there for her during her six-year fight.

Ariana was all in when she committed. Whether it was parties, holidays, or spending, she never held back. She paid attention to others and always knew the perfect gift to give. She taught me that it was okay to enjoy material possessions, big or small.

She was equally lazy and could do nothing for long stretches of time. She never apologized for it or felt bad. She taught me that life wasn’t always about “doing.” A lesson that I am still learning.

Ariana refused to stand down when someone she loved was being attacked. She would burn with rage against those who dared hurt her kids, family, or friends. It was a form of love I could never replicate. She was my protector.

Our story has ended, and it is complete. In the short time we were together, we have experienced life in full. We traveled the world. We were near divorce. We fought. We loved. She saw me through my depression. I got to care for her until death. We were inseparable. We did nearly everything we set out to do, except grow old together.

So, when she asked if I thought I was winning at life, it wasn’t hard to answer yes. I have felt pain and loneliness to degrees I never imagined, and I have fought for a love more profound than I thought possible. And I got to do it all with the most incredible friend to have ever come into my life.

I know many of you feel the pain in your heart right now; I want you to know it’s okay. We are going to be okay. All of us. Me, the kids, and all of you.

The pain that Ariana suffered is incomprehensible. And when she broke, in the quiet of the night with just the two of us, it was made clear how much she took on herself.

Despite all of it, her death has truly been a celebration. And that is exactly what she would have wanted.

Her life burned red hot then faded quickly. She lived with an unwavering passion and a relentless pursuit of life. She taught us all that we needed to know. In your sadness, find her lessons. In your happiness, enjoy as she would enjoy. Love fiercely. Defend others unapologetically. And let everything else go.

She has given us the example of how to live a life despite it being filled with pain and sorrow.

Let your hearts be sad for our loss, but always remember she is finally at rest. And never forget her parting words to us - toodaloo motherfuckers.

Ariana, I will love you until the day I die.