Shoshana Lopatin’s Eulogy for Amir

Jonathan and Amir were best of friends. Birds of a feather. Both frighteningly brilliant. Both insightful and both unconventional. They were constantly getting into trouble at Ramaz for their unwillingness to live by the rules of the establishment. On one occasion, my parents were called in to the Principal’s office because Amir and Jonathan had once again refused to tuck in their shirts. Upon confronting Amir with his felony Amir answered I can’t do it – it’s too combine. Frankly, my mother never understood what he meant but just assumed that he was expressing his disdain for convention. We finally looked up the words today – an association of persons for commercial or political, often unethical purposes. I mean no disrespect to Ramaz but I have to hand it to Amir that he had a way with words. I loved his healthy disregard for convention and his critical approach to experience – every belief he tested against his own conscience and his own judgment only.

Amir was my favorite person in the world. Whenever I finished a conversation with him I couldn’t help but smile. Life seemed more worthwhile, more hopeful and more honest. In one of our last conversations Amir told me that whenever I was faced with a decision I should make that decision from an optimist’s standpoint. I should assume that any path I chose would have a good outcome. He had such beautiful dreams and convictions and I felt that I had a place in the world because I was loved by him.

William Phelps wrote that the happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Amir had the most interesting thoughts. It was so incredible to talk to him and such a privilege to be invited into the life of his mind. It is not something that I can explain only something that one must experience. I would like to end by reading you a poem that Amir wrote in 1994 – ten years ago while a student at Ramaz.

[read Journey I]

Amiri – you had the most interesting thoughts and you were the happiest of people. So how did you know already ten years ago that “together had departed”?