As people did on Wednesday night, they gathered again on Thursday to pay respects to, say goodbye to, honor, and celebrate Nicholas Coleman.
A standing-room only crowd packed the Enfield Congregational Church for the funeral ceremony – some Somers High School students even came on a bus from school – and cars lined the road from the church down to 3M and then clogged the roads on the way from the church to the cemetery.
All of it was done for Coleman, a 17-year-old senior, who touched many people in his short life.
“I know as we gather here this morning, there is no one would not rather be somewhere else,” Rev. Barry Cass said. “No one who does not wish that the funeral service for Nick Coleman was not necessary. And yet, given what has happened, it is also safe to say, there is nowhere else any of us would be, or could imagine being, this morning. Our lives have been disturbed. We are sad, beyond any we have felt or imagined before. We feel lost and empty. We feel the gaping hole in our lives that Nick has filled enthusiastically, caringly, energetically, brilliantly, effortlessly, lovingly.”
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Cass said that as people mourn Coleman’s death and come to terms with the hollowness that they feel, holding onto the memories is important.
“Recognize that Nick touched many people, changed lives, brightened the world with his presence in ways that are hardly expected of someone his age. There is much that has been lost, and we do not minimize that, but it is vitally important for each of you who have known and loved Nick to recognize also today what is not gone. Celebrate that part of Nicholas Coleman that has not died. Because there is a part of him that will never die. Nick will live on in every single one of you for the rest of your lives. That is a wonderful, and powerful gift, that he has given you and he never even knew he was doing it.”
Coleman’s life was lovingly recalled, with his aunt talking about his big blue eyes with long lashes, his laugh, and how he was so tall and skinny that seeing him in highwater-looking pants was always a possibility.
She joked about how he was incredibly smart and would teasingly correct her – usually on something that was common knowledge for him. He also liked to remind her how she is a non-essential state worker, and one time when he was young, he even called her – very early in the morning – to let her know that she didn’t have to go into work yet because she was “non-essential.”
For as smart as he was, she said he could be crazily absentminded, and talked about how it often happened that they would be at a gathering and talking about something and Coleman would be there, but wouldn’t be paying attention. All of a sudden, he would realize something was going on and go, “Wait, what?” After that, they would have to explain the whole story or situation again.
Coleman’s aunt talked about how well he worked with children and how he got a kick out of it when one tried to be like him.
“He was a good boy with a good heart,” she said.
After the funeral, Coleman was laid to rest at the Somers Center Cemetery. Following that, a reception was held at the Somers Knights of Columbus.