Eulogizing Chad Thomas Lewis, Ironton, Ohio & New York City

This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write.

When we lost our beloved Hefner, I simply could not imagine a deeper pain.

Sadly, I was wrong.

Losing my best friend is by far the worst pain I have ever felt. I cannot keep my eyes dry just trying to type right now.

In Chad’s own words, he was “Chad Lewis here. Nick’s best man and single greatest friend that anyone could ever have ever.” He literally wrote that line and he was 100% correct!

And for some unknown reason, the Universe decided that Chad’s last day on Earth would be January 10, 2023. Just a few hours after we spent :42 glorious minutes on the phone, Chad would be struck by a brain aneurysm, passing peacefully in his sleep at the age of 42. For that, I am thankful. There are much worse ways to go.

For 24 years, Chad and I spoke nearly every day. As I write this, it is impossible to believe that we have not had a two-way conversation in over a month. That is something that would have been impossible to imagine just over 6 weeks ago. But I keep talking to him. And I do not see myself stopping any time soon. I can imagine his reply and I try to remember to be thankful for the countless memories we made that allow me to continue to speak with him.

In fact, it is my memories, pictures, videos, & stories, that have helped me realize that I can keep Chad alive. I never truly understood the cliche until now. By continuing to talk about him, tell stories, remind people “what Chad would’ve done”, look at pictures & videos, we will keep him with us. While it certainly is not what any of us would have chosen, we must also work to get to a place where we accept that this is one choice that is not up to us.

In celebrating Chad’s life, I was honored to be able to speak a few thoughts and to share where my mind had gone in the week following the news. This was the first eulogy I have ever given and ironically, I drew strength by reminding myself that had it been me who was taken, not only would Chad give the world’s greatest eulogy for me, he would not have left my wife & children’s side for a single second. That is who Chad was.

One of our dear friends had the foresight to record the eulogy and after I gathered the strength to listen to it myself, I became inspired to use it to make a video tribute to Chad. Normally, Chad was the person I would ask to proof these kinds of things. I am smiling as I picture him, somewhere in the Universe, offering some (well deserved) constructive criticism!

Below is the video that I hoped I would never have to make.

Eulogizing our beloved Chad Lewis

While many who read this will have never known Chad, you will certainly one day know great loss & suffering. These things are as much a part of life as birth & death. To help anyone who may be coping with loss, below is a copy of my eulogy. I go back to it now from time-to-time whenever I feel I am losing my way.

For anyone struggling with loss (or anything), never hesitate to contact me or any trusted friend/family member. You would be surprised who is willing (and able) to help if you simply ask.

Celebrating my best friend, Chad Lewis

Last month I received a book in the mail from our friend, Mike, who included a note about how he got a duplicate, and thought that I might get something out of the extra copy. 

Appreciating the gesture, I set the book aside for a future time.

Then, last week, a couple days after we lost Chad, I happened to glance directly at the book. 

Considering the title, I thought, “maybe this will provide some solace”. 

I decided to give it a read: Man’s Search For Meaning.

A few pages into the horrific stories from the Holocaust, I started to wonder if I had made a terrible mistake!!! 

Thankfully I had not. 

The author’s take on LOVE was exactly what I needed at that moment. He said:

-Love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. 

-The salvation of man is through love and in love. 

-Love goes very far beyond the physical person. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance. 

When it comes to people we love, there’s nothing quite like the love we all shared with Chad. 

A few years ago I felt compelled to write a letter and mail it to Chad to thank him for all he has done for me and make sure he knows that I love him.

I took a picture of the letter in case it got lost.

I would like to share the letter with you now. 

In closing, I would like to share Seneca’s take on losing a friend:

“Has it then all been for nothing that you have had such a friend? 

During so many years, amid such close associations, after such intimate communion of personal interests, has nothing been accomplished?

Do you bury friendship along with a friend?

And why lament having lost him, if it be of no avail to have possessed him? 

Believe me, a great part of those we have loved, though chance has removed their persons, still abides with us. 

The past is ours, and there is nothing more secure for us than that which has been.”

Nicholas J. Nicastro
Ironton, OH
January 20, 2023
In celebration of Chad Thomas Lewis, Ironton, Ohio & New York, New York
Forever loved. Forever missed. 

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