Friends and family of Michael Holland found it hard to say goodbye to the man they hope is still alive.
Holland, 25, of Jay, Maine, was one of the 33 crew members on the sunken cargo ship, the El Faro. Hundreds gathered for his funeral at the Jay Community Building Wednesday evening.
"I will always hold on to a ray of hope that Mike was able to escape the weather conditions ... and is on an island somewhere, eating fish, drinking coconut water, waiting to be rescued," said Clint Brooks, reading a eulogy Holland's mother, Deb Roberts, wrote.
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Ten speakers paid respects to Holland, including the president of TOTE Services, the company that owned the cargo ship.
"We will not forget the crew members of the El Faro, ever," said President Philip Greene.
Friends remembered Holland as a soft-spoken, fun-loving, adventurous friend and dedicated mariner.
"Mike gave me some of the best memories of my life," said friend Ben Hebert.
Hebert said it has been an agonizing two weeks, first learning that the El Faro had been in the path of Hurricane Joaquin, then waiting to hear any updates about the search for survivors.
"The last few weeks have been the darkest of my life," said Hebert. "There will be many dark days ahead. Mike will be the light that guides us."
His mother, Deb Roberts, said she can have comfort knowing that her son died doing what he loved, and lived life to the fullest.
"I'm sure he had no idea that he only had 25 years to live, but he packed each day with a new adventure," said mother Deb Roberts.