Tim Flavin's Eulogy
Given at Damon's Memorial Service, January 18, 2003
Hello, I'm Damon's brother, Tim. I live in England with my wife, Stephanie, and our daughter, Eleanor. I love my brother Damon, so I'm not afraid to laugh and cry with you folks today. Or be corny.
It was supposed to be different. Damon and Linda were coming to us in England for Christmas. All scheduled. Tickets reserved. Planned for some time. Damon was gonna meet his eleven month old niece, Eleanor, for the first time. "Uncle Damon" for the first time. The pleasure and pride I've taken in watching Damon's children Ondine, Jessica, and Eli grow and evolve into such unique individuals, here it was my turn to see the process begin for Damon and my daughter, Eleanor. It was supposed to be different.
I didn't grow up with Damon. I didn't follow him through school. Damon was the eldest in the family and I was the youngest. 15 year age gap. Not much in common. Damon was well launched into the adventures of adult life by the time I hit long pants. No, I came to know my brother in more recent years, and as I think about the evolution of our relationship I find that it is linked to wonderful places: London, where we shared the delights of the theatre; Normandy, where we shared the memory of Damon's father; Cazedero, where Damon shared his family. With Damon there was always art and music and books. And more books. And laughter. That man could make me laugh. And that age gap just seemed to narrow as we got older. I was just about catching him up.
It was amazing to be part of caring for Damon during his last days. There was this whole caring contingent of friends and family I found at Alvarado Avenue when I arrived. Since you're all here I want to tell you that within the tragedy of Damon's passing I experienced something extraordinarily beautiful in all that shared love and caring: the cooking and cleaning, the bathing and feeding, the lifting. Something I've never experienced before. Marsha, Trish, Forrest, Michael, Alan, Jim, everybody who helped and visited -- thank God for you folks.
One of the things I could do for Damon was to take him for a walk in his wheelchair in the local park, the same park he and Linda have walked their dog, Murphy, in for the past umpteen years. On one of the last walks we were able to take we reached a point behind the ballpark at which I wasn't sure whether we would be able to get through the barrier in the fence with Damon and the wheelchair. I told Damon I might have to leave him behind and go for help like Ralf Fiennes did with Kristen Scott Thomas in that movie, "The English Patient." By the time he makes it back ol' Kristen's just a skeleton. I didn't know it but this was a movie Damon and Eli had seen together and found excruciatingly boring. Well, Damon let rip with his biggest, best bellylaugh, an infectious wale of delight that filled the space between the trees and made the birds take wing. That was some gift.
It's been a privilege to be brother, brother-in-law, uncle and, indeed now great uncle to the assorted Rareys. Damon's family. To share him with brothers, Mathew and Jason, sister, Courtney, and our mom. Betty Lou's family. And now here we all are -- many families, sharing Damon. There sure was a lot to go around. I feel so blessed carrying Damon in my heart. And as I look at my daughter today I feel nothing but joy knowing that Damon is there too, flowing through her veins. That we're sharing her afterall.
You may have noticed that I'm recording Damon's memorial service. I'm filming just over there. This is for Betty Lou, our mom, who felt that today would be a little too much to handle and asked me to do this so that she can still share this remarkable occasion with all of us, but in her own way. You will hear from her later in the service.