Daniel’s Funeral & Eulogy

Daniel’s eulogy was  written in collaboration by his uncle, parents and other family members. It was read at his service by one of his cousins. Thank you for taking the time to read it. May it serve as another reminder of how special and loved this little boy was to so many. You can also read what Daniel’s Bus Driver, Mr. Wheeler wrote and read at Daniel’s funeral service here.

Daniel Bardens Eulogy

“Good morning. Thank you on behalf of the Barden family for coming to honor our Daniel. So many of you have expressed your sympathy and sorrow these past six days and we acknowledge the pain this brings to our hearts. Still, that is not how we feel Daniel should be remembered; he was just too full of life, joy and love.

My grandfather, Martin Giblin, Sr, came to this country in December of 1947, arriving days before Christmas. He met my grandmother Madeline and together they raised ten children. Today he is 90-years-old and patriarch to a family that includes twenty-one grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It also includes its share of personalities and performers, comedians and characters. There’s even a Committee made up of Papa’s daughters but that is another story entirely. You would think that with so many people it would be difficult to stand apart from the crowd but that’s exactly what Daniel managed to do.

From the time he was a baby posing in pictures with his siblings James and Natalie, he stole the show with his chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. Those same eyes would twinkle as he looked up at you, beaming that angelic smile that bespoke equal parts and delight. In short, a person would really have to work hard at not liking Daniel Barden.

Daniel was a man of many names–Philman, Daniel the Maniel, Little Oatmeal, Hurricane Daniel and the Marauder, to name a few. It was those last two which speak to a characteristic of his nature that endeared him to us all: a physicality which manifested itself in group-hugs, affectionate back rubs, impromptu climbing onto shoulders, or frenzied wrestling matches with his brother James while his mother Jackie begged them to stop. Later he would burn off his relentless energy playing soccer and swimming.

Daniel had the ability to not only feel genuinely glad to see you but to convey it so simply and effectively. Pulling into Papa’s driveway in Smallwood would invariably result in him bouncing out of the house and rushing to meet you. We who knew Nana feel this characteristic was inherited from her, a woman who would always be the first to greet you and the last to bid you farewell.

For someone with such playfulness and sense of motion, Daniel had a tremendous capacity for being thoughtful and was finely attuned to the feelings of others around him,** including his beloved stuffed Ninjacat, who he once claimed to have “birthed himself”. He believed in holding doors for strangers, making sure there was enough milk for everyone else before adding it to his cereal and rescuing his “little worm friends” when it rained, walking along the driveway picking them up to “bring them back to their families.”

Daniel was such an advanced thinker for his age, he even expanded his philosophy of altruism to others, not only feeling he should share his own potato chips with you but expecting you to behave as generously as he would. It was more than once that a much younger Daniel wandered off at some beach or outdoor festival to find an unsuspecting family, drop his diapered bottom down on their blanket, smile pleasantly and help himself to their bowl of chips. To his enormous credit, no one ever got disturbed or angry at the cherubic, curly-haired boy with the sparkling blue eyes and potato chip crumbs up to his elbow.

No family should ever have to go through what my aunt, uncle and cousins have these past six days. They share that unspeakable pain with nineteen other families here in Newtown, along with the families of the staff at the Sandy Hook Elementary School who were also lost that day. The Bardens know they are not alone. There is a large, loving family standing beside them and an army of devoted friends and loved ones behind them ready to lend their support. Mr. Rogers spoke of his mother’s advice to “look for the helpers” in a time of crisis and how it led to the realization that “there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.” Daniel was certainly a helper in his time here with us. We all feel we’ve met so many helpers throughout this ordeal–from state troopers protecting our privacy to countless people offering to donate their time, their services, food or any token to demonstrate their love and care. We are deeply grateful to all of you and beg your indulgence for one more favor ; please think back on the beautiful life that Daniel Barden knew for seven short years. Honor that life by increasing the number of helpers in our world by behaving like one yourself. If you see something broken, fix it; if you can intervene and spare someone pain, do so; and if you know you have a moral obligation to speak out against what you feel needs to change, then stand up and speak.”

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