Final words for my brother

Hey everyone,

It’s Parker writing. My family will return to Warsaw on Sunday and we’ll get back into our lives so I may take a break from writing here to allow time to heal.

Foremost, I’d like to thank everyone on behalf of the Snyder and Costa families for the great outpouring of love in the wake of my brother’s passing. There were hundreds of people who came to the viewing and the funeral, and many more dropped off food, flowers and hugs. Thank you to each of you, and to those who read and mourned in silence. You are all very dear and thank you, simply, thank you.

I promised I’d post below the eulogy I read at St. Raphael’s church. Those are my final words for my brother. But I have a few final words for brain cancer. 

In the beginning I kind of wanted to hate the cancer. Like it was this foreign being that had landed on our planet and went about poisoning our drinking water. But as time wore on I realized that hating the cancer was silly because cancer is just cells in my brother’s body that multiplied in the wrong place. So I kind of forgave the cancer, and in my brother’s final days, the only thing that gave me any solace was to stroke his hair and touch his face and repeat to myself that I don’t hate you cancer. Only then could I release my pain to love his entire being. I guess that my be helpful to other people going through similar ordeals. 

Lance was the best of brothers, the greatest of friends. We grew up together, side by side. From birth, we sucked our passifiers together, still in our jammies.

At Thanksgiving, we’d tie together my Aunt’s shoelaces underneath the dining room table, so she’d trip when she stood up. Lance, for some time, went around on all fours, imitating a little dog, so we gave him the name spotty. Those are the kinds of things you can get away with when you’re still in your jammies. Isn’t that right Tristan?

Since we shared a room, we were each other’s counsel. Life’s greatest mysteries we’d resolve on our own without the aid of our parents. Like why is rain so loud at night? On clear nights, we’d lie awake beneath the milk white light of the moon that flooded our bedroom and was so rich it was like we had a friend keeping us company.

Our worlds, Lance’s world, and my world, was framed by a simple idea: anything is possible.

Years later when I traveled through Europe it came to me as no surprise that he would join me. We backpacked through southern Spain. For two guys, age 23 and 25, we had one goal: seek out the most beautiful women we could find.

One night, we came upon a courtyard where a woman was dancing flamenco in a long black dress. And that’s when the two of us were inititated into the greatest of life’s mysteries: beauty. 

It took a few more years before he found the most beautiful woman in the world – that’s you Francine.

Really, I don’t think there’s a better way to live, then to have a brother to lie awake with at night to make sense of things.

Last night, about 800 people came by to pay respects to my brother. Schoolmates from Fox Chapel. Colleauges of Francine who work for Giant Eagle. Members of the Howard Hanna family. Neighbors here in Morningside. Friends from Nancy’s homeless ministry. The outpouring of love has been very healing. It has helped us shoulder our grief. On behalf of the Costa and Snyder famillies thank you.

I heard a few things last night more often than others, and if I can take just a minute I’d like to give shape to my brother’s 30 years.

There were a few things I heard more often than others: Lance smiled alot. Lance had such dear blue piercing eyes. Lance was always laughing. You Snyder brothers look alot alike. He took us to see 23 houses and he never gave up on us. That’s the real estate agent I know…

Please, allow me to point out three things that I think shaped my brother’s fairytale:

– He was a baby born in summer. So when he was one year old, he took his first steps in the tall grass, beneath the summer sun. Lesson learned: falling isn’t a problem when you land on the soft grass. His family was his soft grass.

– When he was 10, the Penguins won the Stanley cup, twice. His heroes, Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemiuex, acheived their dreams. This was another lesson: those who work hard get what they want.

– Lastly, when he graduated, his first job was with Pulte homes in Virginia, at the height of the real estate boom. Another lesson learned: there’s a future in housing.

But none of these good graces would have carried Lance if not for his generosity and charisma. It was his choice to volunteer with the homeless when he was 15 years old, to coach the Freshman hockey team when he was 25.

He was kind, gracious, caring, good-hearted, light in spirit, romantic, considerate – the best of qualities that earn you friends.

In closing, before I turn it over to my brother Morgan, I’d like to thank my brother Lance. Thank you for giving me 30 great years. There will be some who will say that your life got cut short. But not me.

When I need to, I will imagine us kayaking in the Pacific Ocean, up against the waves, the two of us battling the wind.


[read with Morgan] You my brother are my sunshine, you are my sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.

PART 1 of 2. Morgan will share his in a few days.

2 responses to “Final words for my brother

  1. Colleen Gomolekoff


  2. The journey that you will be continuing on next will be difficult. It is someplace you have never been before and you will not enjoy it, but you will travel through it. I pray that God holds you close to His heart since the journey has begun. You will need to rely on Him more than you ever have before. I have seen where some Christians feel it is their duty not too grieve, but that they should have joy. Well, you all have the joy, joy of knowing you will meet Lance again, but the grieving is needed to clear away the sorrow that is deep within. It is ok to cry, to mourn and to feel the loss of Lance. It will take some time to learn to live without his presence in your life. But you will. Don’t expect too much of yourself, and you will wake up again someday without the feeling of deep hurt you have in your heart right now. You have been changed forever, but you will go on. God will be there with you all, every step of the way. Again, I am so very sorry for your loss. May our Savior comfort you today and forever.

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