What kind of person was Daniel Jordan Levesque? He was a musician, he was a poet. He was a joker and a great student. He was a loving friend, brother and son.
That was the picture painted of Levesque during a memorial ceremony celebrating his life that attracted about 1,000 people to the community centre Wednesday afternoon.
Levesque died when he was killed in Victoria B.C. on Aug. 3. He moved there only three months ago to pursue a music career and only days after recording his first demo, his life was cut short.
An acoustic version of the Foo Fighter’s song Everlong played as mourners filled the hall until it was standing room only. “And I wonder/When I sing along with you/If everything could ever feel this real forever/If anything could ever be this good again,” the lyrics went.
The ceremony was led by funeral director Gary Sulz and Reverend Matthew Carter. Elton John’s Daniel played as the funeral party entered, .
Reverend Carter said a prayer and read out Levesque’s poem Soulfire Burn (go to the end of this article to read it) before inviting Levesque’s friends up to speak.
Friends and family shared stories, sang songs and talked of their memories of Levesque. They tearfully spoke about how great a friend he was, how much he loved his family, how was able to express his emotions and help others; and how much he loved music and poetry. All his friends referred to him as a brother.
“It didn’t matter what state you were in, Daniel could make you smile,” said his friend Kayne Cameron.
Said Tara Brunetti: “It was quite clear to all of us that Daniel was one of a kind.”
A slideshow was played, showing photos of Levesque’s life from when he was born until his last few days.
They showed him as a newborn, graduating from elementary school, spending time with his younger brother Kristian, who died when Levesque was only 3.5-years-old; and his next siblings, Joel and Lainey; hanging out with friends, playing guitar, in the recording studio and growing up from an innocent little kid to a maturing adult. One common element of most photos was a wide grin on his face.
The ceremony reached it’s climax when Levesque’s one and only recording was played for all to hear. It was a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man, with Levesque playing two guitar parts and singing with a raspy, expressive voice.
After that, his family spoke – first his aunt and then his father Steve Levesque, who now lives in Lac La Biche, Alta., who gave an especially passionate, struggling to speak through his tears.
“One of Daniel’s traits that I admired the most – he had so many traits – was his ability to share and express his feelings,” he wept. “I envied that in him because I’ve always been so strong and shy and quiet and I wonder how he would do it around his friends. So I felt tonight I needed to get up here and express my feelings because I know Daniel would have wanted me told.”
He read out short speech he wrote called My Boy that led to even more tears and a meaningful round of applause from the packed auditorium. Here is what he read:
“I’m grateful that you were always surrounded friends who truly loved and cherished the time they loved and spent together. I’m proud you turned into a caring loving soul who cared more for others than for yourself,” he cried. “I’m thankful that your talent, passion and commitment to life left an identifiable mark on this world. I’m sad that I’ll never be able to look into your soulful, beautiful eyes, the ones with the brown patch just like mine.
“I’m honoured that I was your dad and that you looked up to me. In reality I always looked up to you. Lastly, I’m so blessed that you saw it in your heart to forgive me. We were more than father and son. You were my friend, you were my love, you will always be my boy and I’m going to miss him so much.”
Daniel’s mother Stacey was the last to speak. “How does a mother say goodbye to her beloved son?” she wondered. “You were my life and I loved you from the second that I held you. My heart burst with joy. You were my first born son and we did so much together.”
“You held my hand when we said goodbye to your brother and you were my reason to live,” she cried. “You wiped my tears and you held my heart and you changed my life. I love you so much.”
She spoke of his voice and watching him grow up and joked about his smelly room.
“He was my every day and he was the greatest man I’ve ever known… I will never understand why my heart has to be so broken and why I’m not able to give answers to my Joel and my Lainey,” she said as the sobs built up in the gathered crowd.
“All I know was that I’m so lucky that you loved so unconditionally and I love you my Daniel, my baby boy, my sweet baby boy.”
By Daniel J. Levesque
Soulfire burn, until your flames are put out
climb higher please, and never ever doubt
your own existence, because you keep us alive
you embers keep us warm and your love defines divine
it’s all for you, Soulfire, you’re all i trust in this life
i crave you like cigarettes and need you like, right
now and in this time, without hesitation or delay
so be with me Soulfire, ignite my every day
because beauty is skin deep, but Soulfire is an aura
incomparable, indescribable, yet i continually search for a
way to explain the joys and the pain
and way that it keeps me sanely insane
as i chase the Soulfire, ’round the world again
there’s Soulfire here and there’s magic behind
the way that it roars and hatred i find
when i cant have my Soulfire, when it’s just out of reach
i have come to expect it, it has nearly impeached
every shred of reality in my sick twisted mind
so i beg for my Soulfire and i beg it to bind
me into it as one, so i would never be left behind