Leighton and Simon met on the very first day of Kindergarten (at Muir Lake school) in September 1988 and remained firm friends from that day onwards, graduating together from high school and going on to do the same program at university. This was the eulogy delivered by Leighton at both of Simon’s memorial services :
Many of you here today no doubt are having a hard time believing who it is we are gathered for. I have seen disbelief on your faces, heard shock in your voices, that Simon had chosen to leave us so early.
I can offer to everyone here the small consolation that the Simon that left on Sunday morning was not the Simon that most of us knew. I can offer to you the encouragement that he suffers no longer, that he has found now the peace he sought, though I know they do so little to bridge the chasm we feel between the smile that so often graced his face and the terrible darkness behind it – that we have been so abruptly brought to terms with. Many, many people, throughout the course of this last week, have been brutally introduced to a side of Simon he had hoped to keep from us forever.
We are all surprised that it ended the way it did. To accept that it has (happened) is going to be a hard thing to do. But to have expected it would have been a greater tragedy yet. The last few months had been a difficult time for him. He told me many times over the summer how strange and empty an experience it was to wake up in the morning, remembering the beauty of the sunrise, and only finding shades of paler and paler grey. Even more sobering was listening to the music that poured through his guitar. Sad notes picking out sad chords on their way to repeat the same sad chorus, again and again.
But her could never forget about hope. The one thing he could never do was forget about the sunrise. The future, and the beauty it could return to him, was always dear to his heart. I’ve thought many times since that that was probably very hard for him. So, too, it was something that kept him going, when all he had of joy was a memory and a promise. Tragedy was something he never accepted. For any of us to have expected this would have been even more tragic.
So many took such a rough shock when they learned how he died. Today, though, I think it would be good for you to remember, or perhaps meet another side of Simon that he would have loved to share with you. He was a dreamer. Out of all the people I know, Simon had the highest aspirations, the farthest-reaching goals. We talked many times about going out and changing the world. He took with him, everywhere he went, a vision of a world freed from so many chains, restored of so many afflictions. Wherever he went, where his eyes were filled with the world, in his heart he carried heaven. And now, heaven carries him.
Let none of us forget that the depths of his darkness was always matched in magnitude with an excitement, a passion for the healing of a hurting world. Let none of us forget the God-sent vision he could not help but see the world through. Let none of us forget how deeply he had touched us in his twenty-one years. Let us all remember, too, the smiles he so joyfully brought us. Let us all remember the heaven he saw just beyond the borders of this world. Above all, thought, let us remember that he would never have wanted us to hold on to his so dearly cherished ideals in solemn and sad-hearted reminiscence, honour bound to them by the memory of his death.
Today, Simon, we remember you. We remember your pain, but more than that, we would remember your joy. The vision you set out for the world around you will carry forward with a passion we will call our own. Today, we do not begin to live your eulogy, we begin to walk by the light of the torch you held so high.