exploring life and love with pictures and words

Grateful for a treasured memory …

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David married into one of my favorite families, a family that I absolutely love and consider my family too. So, like them, he became family as well. Aside from a few extended visits, I saw him once, maybe twice a year, but we always picked up right where we left off, easy conversation and happy to see one another. With every visit, I could count on him to tell a favorite story about my dad.

David met my dad one summer when my dad joined me on an east coast vacation. Driving home from an exhausting business trip, David called his wife Jeri to check in and I’m sure was looking forward to a nice quiet evening alone. Jeri mentioned that I would be there with my dad to stay the weekend. Needless to say, the last thing David wanted was to entertain me and a man he’d never met. Although, I would never know that until he told me years later. On that evening, he welcomed my dad into his home with open arms, and never let on for one second that he would rather be in bed. The two of them became fast friends, drinking and talking the night away.

As they headed to bed, my dad asked if he could sleep on the back porch under the stars. David thought this was crazy because they had a perfectly suitable guest room. But my dad insisted, he often slept outside in his own backyard. David finally gave in, giving my dad a few blankets so he would be comfortable.

I saw David the summer after my dad passed away. He greeted me with is usually giant bear hug and whispered in my ear, “Your father was a great man, Christine.” We both cried and then he reminded me of the summer my dad slept on his porch. We laughed and cried some more. He didn’t feel embarrassed or try to hide his tears. I loved that about him.

Every time I saw David he found an opportunity to tell the story. Some how the subject always came up, either as a way to tell someone about my dad, or just for the sake of reminiscing. In any case, I never, ever tired of hearing David tell it, always with such fondness. Sometimes a new detail was added, but never an embellishment,

About a year ago, I learned that David had cancer for a second time. This time the fight would be tougher. I received regular reports from his sister-in-law, my dear friend Moe, he was having a rough go and pretty weak. I saw him for the first time after his diagnosis in Moe’s kitchen during the holidays. I remember telling myself, do NOT cry . . . I didn’t, even after hugging him.

Through winter and spring I received more reports about his health from Moe. I remember the two of us crying over breakfast, cursing God damn cancer. But David was a fighter and well enough to travel to California with Jeri and the kids for their annual summer trip, receiving chemo right up to flight time.

I received these messages from David on that day. . . .

D: Happy belated birthday ! Hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow . I’m getting infused right now and   flying out to LA later today. I’ll see you soon

Me: Thx David. Can’t wait to see you and give you a giant hug xoxoxoxox

D: Same here but you might have to close your eyes. I look like a leper from the chemo
Me: Still love you and won’t close my eyes. 🙂
D: Thanks same here. I’ll see you tomorrow
When I saw him on the 4th of July, he was exactly as I expected, happy, smiling and gave me a giant hug. I looked at his face and told him he looked great. He laughed off my compliment and drew attention to the bumps on his face. I told him that it didn’t matter because I was going to kiss him on the lips. . .  and I did.
At some point during the day, David told the story about my dad. I believe my sister and maybe Jeri was there. And in true David form he added another little tidbit to the story. He said, “You know, I never slept on that porch before your dad did. But since then I’ve done it a few times with my boys, and it was great.” I remember getting a giant lump in my throat, as David beamed, and being so happy that my dad had somehow made that happen.
In October, I heard again that David was doing poorly. I sent him a text telling him I loved him and that I was sending strength. He replied, “Thanks Christine, I’ll see your dad soon and I’ll say hello to him for you.” I just sobbed and wrote that my dad would welcome him with open arms . . . David simply wrote, “I know.”
David passed away this morning. I sat in my office and bawled when I got the news. My heart aches for his family whom I love so much. Still, I am grateful that he is at peace.  I am grateful for these beautiful memories he has given to me. Most of all I am grateful to have known such a wonderful man . . . father and husband.
When I share memories about David, I will always smile, tell his children what a great man he was, and share the stories I remember. David taught me that. I might cry when I tell them, but that’s okay. David taught me that too.
It’s been a long day and I’m thinking about David and my dad making a plan to sleep on the porch tonight.  That makes me smile.
xoxoxoxo

7 Responses to “Grateful for a treasured memory …”

  1. Steve

    Christine, I am so sorry that you have lost a family member, he sounds like he was a great guy. You are so very lucky that God saw fit to put him in your life. I bet he and your dad are sitting on the porch, crakin’ wise and knockin’ down a few beers. You are in my thoughts and prayers. (HUG)

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. jsackmom

    Oh thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I felt like I could know David and your Dad through your loving words. Write as much as you can during your grief that’s when the healing starts to take place, one story at a time. Wishing you comfort during this difficult time. 💓

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Mary

    Damn cancer is right! So dear that this wonderful man was full of heart right to the end. I’m sorry cancer has taken so many of your loved ones. I write this today as I found out only hours ago that a dear friend has ovarian cancer. I feel so helpless, but your story reminds me that I can be present, and I can smile and hug her and hold her and be there. Damn cancer!

    Liked by 1 person

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