From his younger sister
Fred was always the kind of older brother I could look up to and be proud of. I was always proud to state that the twins were ‘My Boys’ when I was younger and still feel that pride today. Fred always worked extremely hard at everything he did and I was always amazed at how much knowledge his brain could contain. I remember when I was in 9th grade, Fred was in my physiology class and he asked a question I’m sure was on topic but was so above and beyond what any of us could understand it was like they were speaking another language. I’ve always been so proud of the man he has become. A great father to his girls, a wonderful brother, son, grandson, but most of all- to all of us- he was a great FRIEND.
Fred was always someone you could depend on. There have been many things he has helped me with, computer fixes, car fixes and installations- or just being there when needed. When he was around it was extremely hard to stay in a bad mood. I have heard from many about his infectious ear to ear smile so I know I’m not alone in this thought. I will never forget him following Mom or I around “I pinch, I pinch” or at any of the dinners Case and I had him over for – If Case and I start nit-picking at each other he would make it come to a stop by saying “Hey, hey, you’re both pretty.”
Something I always appreciated about Fred was how big of a heart he had. It never mattered when I last saw him, a week, five minutes; he always had hugs for me. These weren’t your typical “one arm, kinda squeeze for a second, boy hugs” but true bear hugs- he was always a true cuddle bug. Fred made it very hard not to love him ~ And if you are here, you know that and I’m sure he genuinely loved you too.
It makes me sad to know my brother will never meet his nephew and that my son, our little Eoin Frederick Clay, will never know his namesake. I hope our son will grow up to be half the man my brother was. The morning after we found out of my brothers passing, Casey’s alarm played P. Diddy’s ‘I’ll be Missing You’ and I wonder if that was Freddie’s way of telling us that he is still here for us and watching over us. I keep this in mind when I wake in the mornings with a piece missing from my heart and the world feeling a little ‘off.’ I look to his example and guidance as I struggle to find a new normal. While his physical presence may be gone, he lives on in the hearts and minds of those he left behind.
From his wife
Song Lyrics from Madonna’s “I’ll Remember, Theme from “With Honors”
Say good-bye to not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began
Say good-bye to not knowing how to cry
You taught me that
And I’ll remember the strength that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you saved me, I’ll remember
Inside I was a child
That could not mend a broken wing
Outside I looked for a way
To teach my heart to sing
And I’ll remember the love that you gave me
Now that I’m standing on my own
I’ll remember the way that you changed me, I’ll remember
I learned to let go of the illusion that we can possess
I learned to let go, I travel in stillness
And I’ll remember happiness, I’ll remember
No I’ve never been afraid to cry
AND I finally have a reason why, I’ll remember
I will remember. I will remember the happy times and dancing in the kitchen. I will remember dreams of the future and hockey games on the TV. I will remember the strength that you gave me and the love you gave to our girls and me. Through this memory you will remain alive in our hearts. Our children will always know that you loved them and that knowledge will give us all strength on the road ahead. I love you, and I miss you. Your daughters will always love you.
From his twin brother
I will miss my brother every day of my life, but I have been blessed with the love and support of my friends and family that has helped me through this. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for reminding me every day how truly lucky we all are to have known a man like Fred.
From his mother………..
Raising such a loving baby, young boy and young man like Fred was a joy for Chris and I that is beyond words. What parent would not be excited for each new day and next step. Our memories are deep rooted and will never be erased as well as our love, pride and absolute admiration of Fred. He did things right, and when the path was unclear, he didn’t know how to do something – or struggled – he still kept a smile on his face and told us all not to worry. Fred was still learning and growing as a father, husband and man just as we all do at the young age of 24, and for the rest of our lives. As a mother I am truly blessed that I had 24 years with my son and truly devastated that he is gone. He contacted me every day, either by phone or internet. He played tricks and jokes on me, shared his thoughts and was genuinely my friend as well as my son. Fred knew the pain I, as his mother felt – having all the kids grow up and leave home. He tried his best to ease that pain and be there for me. The months before his death, I had the privilege of spending extra time with Fred – talking over life, his goals and dreams. His dad and I were able to help him while Fred was going to get himself and daughters settled in a new place. I sat up at night with Fred, he spent time at our business with me, and we had an amazing Easter Sunday with all of the family. I write this and try to find words that could give full measure or a true tribute but I realize those words don’t exist. We all would have saved him if we could, if we would have known. His pain cannot be explained but the love from each and every one of you towards our family assures me that if we all did know, each of us would have helped Fred carry his burdens. Fred leaves us now but we are all better people having known him. Remember my son for his smile, his personality, his love of family and his true wishes for peace.
As a family we have a huge hole in our hearts without Fred in lives. If there is one person in each family that acts as a glue, that would have been Fred for us. Numbness took over after finding that our son had died by suicide. Disbelief, bad joke, bad dream…..anything but real. This just does not happen. But it did and it does everyday to families all over the world. Things were sketchy for each of us in different ways in the first months….destruction, shutting down, complications, and just not knowing who we were or where to go from where we stood. Many days my husband just held on to me and looked ahead with tears in his eyes. Neither of us knowing what to do, and not wanting any of it to be real.
It is real and we are living. We are the survivors, the ones that Fred continues to live through every day. Starting over is something routine now. We fall and start over constantly. We find ways to cope and find peace for ourselves through little things and each other.
Grief is a studied process that has steps and stages that have been defined by experts and trained through support groups and one on one counseling for years and years. I had never experienced a loss of a loved one as an adult to where grief became complicated and part of my everyday life. The stages are interesting to read about and identify with. Sometimes you can put yourself inside of a stage or mixed between a couple. They do not go in order, they are not timed, they do not happen for everyone at the same time, they can be intense and overwhelming, and the grief stages will probably never end. We shift as individuals to different stages and levels in our grief. It is most certain that none of us are completely at the same point in grief at any time. We take steps, forward and backward, and as a family we have completely fallen apart in some areas and instances.
We wake up everyday and think of our lost family member. It is most definitely the first thought for all of us. We make a decision everyday as well. Survival.
Dear Friends and Family,
I have read through every card, letter, email, and have looked at the guest book from the Memorial service and messages to Fred and our family, at least one hundred times. I start to write individual Thank You notes and I get stuck, barely able to write one without feeling overwhelmed to do anymore.
The love shown to this family since the death of our son, Fred, has been next to amazing – a true miracle and a showing of how “right” some things are
in this world. Chris and I both want to thank each of you for contributing to Fred’s memorial, donating flowers to go into Fred’s memorial garden, bringing supplies and food to the house, working on the benefit, donating at the benefit, sending flowers, cleaning the bar before benefit day with us,
donating haircuts and massages, sitting with us and listening and crying with the service, giving us words of encouragement, showing up with a clothes dryer
at our door when our dryer broke the day after Fred passed away, helping us with Fred’s two surviving children, meal after meal brought to us, the swing
set for the girls brought to the yard, help at the bar, and prayers for us and our entire family. The list goes on and on, one kind thing after another, and genuine friendship and understanding for
all of us. All of the combined love and support is what we needed and will continue to need moving forward. Each card and act of kindness has helped to pick up the pieces and try to find our way. We cannot express in emotion or words enough appreciation and love back to all of you. Please just know we are joyful and in
complete awe watching and experiencing this love. It is helping us rebuild a little bit of hope and strength every day. We miss the love from Fred, the hugs, the jokes, laughs, smiles, calls, emails and the thoughts of our future with him. We want our son to come home and still have a hard time grasping what is happening and believing he is gone. We have spent time together as a family, going to counseling and trying to eat together each night after family sessions to have family time. We are all walking around a little lost but grieving and trying to work through this around friends, family and a large community stretched from Wiggins to Denver and beyond…full of people that will hold you up when you fall apart is exactly what will help us through this devastating time. We love you, all of you and Thank You.
Chris and Leslie Beery