ESPN Writer Shares Moving Eulogy for Son, 21

Max Maisel is presumed to have drowned in late February
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2015 9:59 AM CDT
Updated Apr 1, 2015 10:14 AM CDT
ESPN Writer Shares Moving Eulogy for Son, 21
A screenshot of the beginning of Ivan Maisel's eulogy for his son.   (Medium)

Max Maisel was last seen at a pier leading into Lake Ontario on Feb. 22; roughly a month later, police ended their water search for the 21-year-old Rochester Institute of Technology student's body. While Rochester police yesterday told the Democrat and Chronicle he's classified as a missing person, a day prior father Ivan Maisel—an ESPN college football writer—said his son's computer search history suggests Max had thought about suicide. With their son presumed drowned, Max's family on Friday held a memorial service in his native Connecticut. Ivan delivered the eulogy. On Monday, he tweeted the following: "Given the response to my eulogy for Max, and the requests for copies, I decided to publish it." What he published, on Medium, is studded with moments of humor, regret, and insight. A sampling:

  • "Max's death has shone a light on the innate goodness in people, a quality that I am sure I didn’t appreciate until now. I think of that as a gift from our son. I have to say, Max, that on the whole, I would have preferred a dozen golf balls."
  • "Every major hurdle in his life, once he got over his fear, he leapt over gracefully and with room to spare. Mustering all that energy, at every hurdle, must have been exhausting. Our dear friend, Anne Pride, told us Max gave us a gift, that maybe he hung on as long as did because of his love for us. That beautiful sentiment has soothed me time and again over the last five weeks." (Ivan had previously mentioned that Max was "somewhere on the learning disorder spectrum.")
  • "Charlie Chaplin was once asked how to improve the classic visual joke of a man and a banana peel. His solution: the man walks down the street. There's a shot of a banana peel on the street ahead. Show the man, oblivious to the danger. Show the peel. Show the man approaching. Peel. Man. Peel. At the last second, as the audience is prepped and poised to see the pratfall, the man sees the peel and steps around it. Self-satisfaction spreads across his face. Crisis averted. Maybe even a jaunty look. The man takes one step—and goes right down an open manhole. I always thought, if we can get Max through the hell of high school, he will go to college, find himself, find his people and he will blossom. Max began to find himself. He found his people. And he stepped right into a manhole."
  • "There is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Max intended to take his own life. The Rochester police tell us they will not connect the dots. But you don’t have to be a pointillist to see a larger picture. We live at a time when suicide is recognized as a result of mental illness, when the stigma has been removed. Even if it weren't, we have never been ashamed of Max, and we aren’t going to start now."
Read the eulogy in its entirety at Medium. (More eulogy stories.)

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