Monday, March 02, 2009

After ...

Despite meeting his family and many of his friends, despite the beautiful service in the beautiful sanctuary, somehow, it still doesn't feel like he's gone.

I anticipated that the memorial service would somehow make reality more real, but instead, it still feels abstract.

Despite a pocketful of crumpled Kleenex.

It was wonderful to meet his mother and his father and his brother and every other member of his United Colors of Benetton family.

It was equally as wonderful to meet so many of his friends who have become my friends over the past few weeks, bonds forged of our collective grief and distinctive stories.

All of us have learned new facts about Dave this month. I, for one, marvel that after talking to him for so many hours for so many days for so many years, there is still so much to know.

The book was well-received by his familly. His father, the deacon of the church where we said our farewells, leafed through his copy during the reception and said, "I've never seen anything like this."

Nor have I. But I like the notion of compiling everyone's memories for the family, especially for someone like Dave whose friends dot the country and mark the various phases of his life: pre-transplant, post-transplant, undergrad, grad school, work.

But perhaps Dave's dad was referring to the book's heft. What I expected to be a few entries from a few friends turned into 63 pages of recollections and, hopefully, comfort.

Ryan, Dave's brother, gave me one of Dave's many, many, many Cubs hats, which I will cherish.

And I will become accustomed to speaking to Dave's other friends, instead of to Dave.

My dear friend Angela (who did not know Dave) mailed a card to me last week so that I would receive it today, after the service. It contains this comforting passage:

Amid this new silence,
a gentle applause
for this life we'll remember,
whose spirit that was
such a gift to us all
and remains with us yet,
whose radiance and love
we will never forget.


And so begins life in a new era. Today did indeed feel like a beginning, the first Monday of a new month. The sun was shining. I tended to many tasks that had been shoved aside.

Tomorrow promises to be even more productive.

One foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

5 Comments:

Blogger Mercurie said...

I am so glad you got to attend the service. And I am glad that Dave's family appreciated the remembrance book.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Waldon said...

Thank you, Beth! For being such a wonderful Friend to Dave, both while he was here on Earth and now in the eternal sense. I also want to thank you for so selflessly reaching out to our Family, especially to our Mom. I don't think I could even begin to express exactly how much comfort your phone calls, messages and that amazing book have provided our Mother during this crisis. You will forever be in our Hearts, thoughts and Prayers.

I also really like your reference to the United Colors, that made me smile. I usually call my Family "The Rainbow Tribe" or "The Rainbow Warriors"

--ryan

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post! It mirrors how I feel--there should be closure, but it seems just out of reach. Tantalizing, but like an illusion. Still the tears come without warning just at mere thoughts. I suppose it shall be like this for some time.

On a separate Dave related note, I shuddered to read about Robin Williams having serious heart issues at a relatively early age today considering that two of us chose to write about how much Dave was impressed by him at the Oscars. All I could think was, not now. Not so close to Dave. It's silly I know since I do not even know this man, but Dave did and in what feels like a very small universe of late, they seem intertwined.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth,

Thank you so much for your postings about Dave's passing. They have helped me come to terms with the fact that he is really gone. Dave and I were friends back during our days at Centre College. Around 1999, we lost track of each other and I was trying to reconnect with him when he died. I wish I had been able to attend the memorial service and to have met you. I was wondering if you would be willing to share the memorial book with his friends?

--Kathy K.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Ryan, it's truly been my pleasure. Dave was a very important part of my life. I'm so happy to have met so many of his circle of family and friends.

And Kathy, I'm happy to share the book. You can join the Yahoo! group that was created for Dave: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Friendsofdavewaldon/ or find my e-mail address in my profile and write to me so I have your e-mail address and I can send the PDF to you.

11:43 AM  

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