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