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CSBuff - EBN - Mission Inn

Well I lived in the neighborhood across Academy from Mission Inn.

I cry quietly when I drive past Mission Inn. I sorrowed when it was open. I sorrow now that it is closed. A regular at Mission Inn- Brother Bohacci - befriended my son Alan - when he worked there. Alan died one night coming home from work, crossing the street from Mission Inn. After work he had first gone up to this pub on Dublin (Dublin Inn) saw some friends, while there play the last song he ever heard - Stairway to Heaven. Came back to Mission Inn - saw Brother Bohacci - and then walking across Academy was hit by a driver headed north- going about 80 miles per hour. They say the driver was in a drag race with someone else- never found the other driver.

Anyway - Mission Inn is a place where Alan found very important friends, and was finding himself. He bussed and washed and finally they started letting him cook. It meant all the world to him. I was so thankful fro the people there. They kept Alan's picture on the wall there, until it finally shut - which broke my heart.

So CSBuff and EBN - there was some mystical purpose you wrote what you did today. Sorrow at the loss of a child will always be there for folks like Gateway and me (and others on this board who have losses I do not know and could not comprehend), but it brought back the memories of a place that was good to my son. It was, this evening, a bit of a blessing. So - for the first time - I get to say thanks to both of you!

I wrote and delivered my son's eulogy. I'm going to cut and paste it below. Of course- please skip on past the whole thing if you wish. If you read it you will see the reference to Mission Inn. You will also see a reference to a chalk painting he did of a Duck. At this very moment - I turn to see it on the wall of my office. And there is, on the Southwest Corner of downtown Acacia Park - a giant sculpture of Alan's Odd Duck that community members made and installed several years ago now.

In it - you will also see reference to Alan's dark times. I wonder if I should have been more direct about the times of drug abuse, self mutilation and ever deepening depression - as there is no way really, reading this - to understand the joy he did give back to be as he recovered - bit by bit - before I finally lost him. So I will mention it here - and no more.

Enough - thank you again - the memory of Mission Inn has brought tears to me as I write this.


I have looked in vain for the words of others to help me with my son’s eulogy. But they are not there. No one has yet written about the loss of the Alan we have come to know and love. So my work, in these final moments of remembrance, is to honor his life, and the incredible work he did in such a short time on this earth.

Few of you know his full story. I had the honor of being with his mother when he was born. He did not come into this world easily. Looking back on his delivery, I wonder if even at that time, as he entered this mortal life, he knew he had chosen a very difficult path. His mother’s labor was long and hard, and perhaps, before the veil closed with his birth, even then he was a bit reluctant to enter this probation. But his mission turns out to have been very great, and only the most magnificent of spirits would have ever chose the calling he filled.

After his first few months of life in Provo Utah, we took him to live in a small two bedroom apartment in New York City. It was there he learned to crawl and walk. We had a wonderful couple next door – Stuart and Robyn Smith - who had little ones the age of Shauna and Alan. We all fretted over these little ones, and talked over how to protect them against the cold New York winter we had that year.

Then we returned to Colorado. Some of my business partners will remember the first day they ever saw Alan. When we met for the first time, they took the whole family to lunch, at one of the finest restaurants in Colorado Springs. There Alan proceeded to show just how far he could throw his lunch. Now Karen and I were just mortified, but I think my future friends and partners enjoyed the independence of this young boy.

Very little came easily for this child, except his spirit of hope and love. As a little boy, he could run like the wind, but he was so very frail. He made wonderful friends as a very young boy. Some of you will remember Kelly Pond and his family. Alan and Steven Pond were soul mates. They loved games and playing together.

What stood out about Alan his whole life, even from his early years, was his sensitiveness and his vulnerability. Over the last several days, old friends and acquaintances have called me, reminding me of what a wonderful little boy Alan was, and that he had the kindest heart they ever knew.

As a toddler Alan loved his sister Shauna dearly. He followed her wherever he could – even copying her footsteps and singing her songs, as best he could.

Simple memories come back in a big way at these times. I have always recalled with great fondness how Alan caught his first fish. All he needed was a string and some newspaper. He filled a sink with water, got the paper wet, balled it up and tied the string around it. He ran out excitedly, holding this string with a wet clump of paper at the end, and said with a great deal of pride and excitement “Look Dad – I caught a fish.”

Then along came little brothers first - Nathan and Trent, then Blake and Dane. As a young boy, Alan loved them dearly. He would sit and play with them for hours. You know, that never changed. In his last years, he took great pleasure in playing with his brothers, and taking excitement in what pleased them, whether it was their music or art or games.

Alan could have been an artist. I have a chalk drawing in my office done by him when he was six years old. When it was done, it was exhibited throughout the City for several months. It is this simple drawing of a big bird, with stick legs. But then down under this huge bird, Alan added in his own cute little bug. As you look at the picture, you immediately get the feeling that Alan believed that life was full of joy and happiness. Simple but good feelings come from that picture.

I have pictures of Alan as a young boy. They break my heart, and I don’t know if that will ever change. When you look at them, you see this very happy boy, standing with his sister or brothers, full of joy. A huge smile was always on his face. I have to thank his mother for giving him those times.

I have memories of Alan playing soccer. He could outrun most any boy his own age, and most of you remember those beginning years in soccer, where you really don’t have teams, as much as you have clumps of little children migrating the ball up and down the field. But for a while Alan was faster than them all, and the parents would say – do you see that little boy – he’s just so fast.

But these are not the things which made Alan so magnificent. If they are blessed with loving parents and health, each little girl and boy has the sense of wonder and joy that Alan had. It is that reward given to us as parents that is the wellspring of our love. No – Alan’s greatest beauty comes later in life.

Things change. Not every child – perhaps not any child – gets the perfect childhood. I have no doubt that the greatest wound Alan ever received arose when his family was split. This young boy loved his mother so very dearly. He wanted the wounds to be healed. It was then I learned that Alan hated only one thing – to see others suffering. Alan would do anything he could to alleviate the suffering of others, but the breakup of his family was beyond his control.

Difficult years ensued. Until the last few days, I thought they would stand as the most difficult time of my life. Alan turned on himself. He felt everyone’s pain to such a huge extent, that there was no peace for him. Life made no sense to him, and he reflected it in all of his actions and feelings. He lost his dignity. He lost his pride. And as his father, I did not know how to be there for him. There are those here who know how low he dropped.

There was a time when our savior cried out –

My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me. Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring.

I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

I truly believe that Alan reached that point. His pain was that great.

Now many sad stories end here. Perhaps in premature death or a lifetime of disappointment. It is not the end of Alan’s story, and that is the miracle.

Those of you who walked with Alan in his lonely and desperate times have told me that even then, what stood out was his sensitivity and love for others. Of all things Alan understood pain and suffering. He fought to be there for many of his friends. His first love – Amy Lacrue. Dan Miranda, Ryan Bachman and Karl Hansen. He fought to be there for his mother, who as we all did had struggles of her own over the years. In every case, all he said was give me your pain. You are a worthy person. You have the capacity to love and be loved. I love you. He gave what he could, even in his most painful times, without asking for anything in return. Alan understood, even when things were at their worst, that true healing comes from giving. In this, Alan began to claim ownership of a great treasure - his dignity.

In these times there were those who buttressed him up as best they could. His mother Karen, with help from her husband, Mike never gave up. His aunt, Mary Ruth, loved him dearly. Members of the church gave more than one could ask. His friends stayed by him, and loved him with all their might.

The emergence of Alan from desperate times was not fast nor easy. But slowly his spirit began to prevail. The thing I always worried about for Alan was that his pain was so great, and that he had no true joy.

With the help of teachers and administrators at Aspen Valley High School, he never gave up on his education, and finally received a real high school degree. I cried at that graduation. Alan had overcome odds that many others do not.

From there, Alan slowly moved into the work force. Alan never wanted to be a burden. He took great pleasure in working. And wherever he worked, he made new friends.

Then miracles started to happen. Alan found a new job, at the Mission Inn. And there he found so much more. He found new friends, who cared about him. He did good work, and took great satisfaction in it. Living with an overworking father and a super achieving sister, Alan was so different. But here he began to hit his stride. He was made the manager of people and a business. He learned he belonged. Then, with the confidence that this gave him, he became so very giving to his family, where so much of his pain had begun. His mother again learned he loved her mightily. He connected with his brothers in the ways that meant the most to them. He played computer games with Blake and Dane. He listened to Nathan and Trent’s music. He spent hours talking with his sister Shauna.

And he found joy. Because of a close friend at Mission Inn, he took up golf. When that same friend (Brother Bohacci) got Alan some new clubs, he was so very pleased. So Alan was beginning to enjoy life. He looked forward to his work. He looked forward to having fun. He was surrounded by loving friends.

And for me, this was his greatest gift. He truly had found a new peace. The little boy, that was so caring and giving, had come back into this young adult’s life. This gift was so great because Alan, by living with joy, was telling me, and all of those who know and love him – It’s OK Dad. Yes I had a lot of pain and suffering, but I have overcome it. All I ever wanted for Alan was the same as any parent wants for their child. That he could have joy in his life.

For those who knew Alan for years, I want you to know he did, in the last several years before his death, find joy. It is so bittersweet. If those years had not been there before he passed away, our agony at the pain of his life would have been unending. But we know he went through so much, that of all people, surely he deserved many years of joy and peace. A family of his own. Hours with his siblings. Years with his friends. They have been taken from him, and in that there can be no solace.

Over the past days, friends of Alan have come forward to bear testimony of him. One person told me Alan taught her to love when no one else could reach her, and that she would love him the rest of her life. Several have told me that he was the kindest gentlest person they have ever met. A grown man, who never had children of his own, knew Alan well, and shared with me that of all the young people he had ever known, Alan was the finest he had ever met, and that if could have chosen a son, it would be Alan. There have been many other testimonies as well.

So Alan has built a monument with his life. It is the story of fighting and overcoming the greatest of battles. It is the rarest of tales, of a person who was almost completely broken, and fought for dignity and joy.

Alan – when you got your dignity back, you gave me mine. When you got your life back, you gave me mine. I thank you for that.

Alan was a person who loved without condition. A man with no malice in his heart.

So what do we learn from his life?

Parents – never lose hope. The darkest moments come before the dawn.

To Alan’s friends – remember how Alan lived his life. Fight for your dignity by being there for others. Find joy. Take time for friends. Love your brothers and sisters. Let your parents be a part of your lives – for whether you want them to or not, they live through you.

To Shauna, Nathan, Trent, Blake and Dane – love each other the way that he loved you.

To Karen – thank you for in those difficult years insisting on being his mother. You loved him so dearly, and he knew that and took courage in it. You were a great mother to him. You will see him again someday, in all his glory.

As for me, and for all of us – well there is unfinished business. My heart will always ache. I will miss the late night conversations. I will miss the joy in watching him overcome so very much, and becoming his own person.

But Alan was born in the covenant. I look forward to meeting him again, and letting him relieve my sorrow. Each of you will have, I believe, the chance to greet him again. To hold and hug, laugh and cry. The joy will be greater than we can ever imagine. And he will begin teaching us again.

There stands a sign today, at the place where Alan worked, that is simple in its words, and yet speaks for us all. It says God Bless Alan. I only ask that each of you take the time to remember him in your prayers.

Yes – Alan came to this life with the most difficult of missions. He had to show us all that pain and suffering can be overcome – with love and compassion. Never asking. Always giving. May we take his spirit into our lives, and bless our families and fellow man as he did.

I love you Alan. You are beautiful.
We all love you Alan, with all our hearts.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Eulogy For Alan Scott Mahaffey
Born –February 2, 1980
Deceased – October 3, 2002

Posted: 01/12/2021 at 8:48PM


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Current Thread:
CSBuff - EBN - Mission Inn -- cswilliam 01/12/2021 8:48PM
  Beautiful words.... -- Gateway 01/13/2021 3:59PM
  Very touching. I got choked up.** -- buffaloaded 01/12/2021 9:03PM