Breathing

Thursday March 22, 2012

I have only a few minutes to write. There is so much to do in the next few days.

The Memorial and Celebration of Life for Dave will be on Sunday.

The closer we come to Sunday the more I miss him. Some is the preparations, but mostly because when I am stressed he would be my anchor. Ironic isn’t it? He’s not here when I need him most, because he is not here.

In the past years I have created many, many photo montage DVDs, several for memorials. I am immersed (drowning might be a better word) in making Dave’s presentation and have been for days. With each passing hour hundreds of photos have been edited to dozens. I have taken so long in these decisions of finding and building the collection, and working through the photos family shared, I no longer can include the videos. There is too much media – audio, video and photos – representing his 72 years of life story to condense to 15 minutes. He was a father, husband, friend, mentor, musician, colleague, professor, life-long educator and student. He had tough times smoking and drinking too much and gentle times encouraging us to be the best we can be. There were what he’d call failures and successes. He was just as human as any of us, growing into his wisdom years by living life.

I just don’t have enough time to work with all the material technically. I doubt I ever will, because in my mind this project is so much more than I can realistically give.

It feels like each photo I remove I tear away a piece of his life. Yet, there are special and ordinary moments no camera has ever captured. There are people, places and things documented only by the participants in his life. Even though I sometimes feel like only I knew him, he really belongs to others. That’s where the memorial makes sense: it’s a time for everyone to reflect on where and how his and their life intersected.

Perhaps this is why it is so hard to think about going to the memorial. I just want to have my quiet time with him. I’ve spent the last year sharing him. When this day is gone then so is he officially. This is the ritual of closure, one of the most dreaded words in grief.

Once the photos are put away, the projects of memory and legacy are set aside for later, and the dust settles so to speak, what remains are what was described to me as the intimacy of everyday life. These are the moments of quiet that I can still talk to him in my own way and still acknowledge that I miss him. This can become a time I don’t have to share once again. The time and work of grief doesn’t disappear just because we’ve said good-bye. Everyday life has changed.

5 replies
  1. Ellane Chandler
    Ellane Chandler says:

    I’ll be thinking of you and Dave here in Asheville. My writing circle meets about the same time, only Eastern Daylight Time, that the memorial will begin. I’ve told the group about Dave and they know he was instrumental in my path as a writer.

    Reply
  2. Kate L. Wall
    Kate L. Wall says:

    My physical self will, of course, be 1200 miles south. My spiritual self has been moving northward over the weekend. I’m really sorry I’m not going to be there (particularly for the Tobacco Ceremony and music).
    I’ve been thinking Dave is with us in the weather — it’s cold, blustery, sunny, warm, cold again, threatening to rain. It’s almost as if I can hear him railing at not being physically present, but reminding us he is still here.
    As much as you’re not looking forward to the events of the day, know he’s going to be standing right behind you and do not be at all surprised if you feel a comforting hand on your shoulder to steady you.
    All my best to you all.
    Sincerely,
    Kate

    Reply
  3. George Schroeder
    George Schroeder says:

    I have moved from thinking about Dave to thinking about you during this time of your life. I cannot imagine the vacuum that must have been created by his passing. I am certain Dave gave you all the tools you need to make it.

    I thought about you last weekend. I was 3,700 miles away but right there. You have friends all over this country. Be well and know you are loved.

    george

    Reply
    • joan
      joan says:

      Hi George and Kate. It is comforting to know that Dave’s spirit moves with us near and far through our memories. There has been a lot of love in the air! Keep it flowing on the currents. ~Joan

      Reply

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