Yesterday was David's memorial service. It was secular, but lovely. Knowing he probably didn't have much time left, he planned what he wanted--a celebration, not a service (he wasn't religious), a time for him to be remembered. He wanted people to laugh. He always made people laugh.
Sometime this summer, he sat down and made a video in which he talked about what was important to him--his family and his friends, music, learning, and travel. It was lovely to have him in the room with us. It felt like he wasn't gone yet. The saddest part was when he talked about not being able to see his friends as much as he liked as he got sicker. In the old days he was always going to concerts or out to dinner or for a beer. He kept all his friends from his childhood onward. A lot of them were there yesterday. It was SRO and then some.
Anyway, when he talked about missing his friends on the tape, he started to cry. So we all started to cry. I had teared up a little before that point, but I hadn't cried. But when David cried, I cried, and the Man cried, and everyone cried. We were so used to Dave laughing and being brave and philosophical. But when he cried we knew what of course we already knew on some level--that he had been scared and heartbroken, too, just like the rest of us. It was almost too much to bear.
And then when the service was over we had lunch in the next room and remembered David, the way he wanted us to. We told stories. The Man saw so many of his old friends from college--and girlfriends! I'm pleased to report that I have aged better than all of them. (O vanity, thy name is Frances!)
The Man and I were exhausted when we got home, and I thought I'd take a nap, but I didn't. And I had a hard time sleeping last night. It's hard to sleep with a broken heart. My heart was broken for David's wife Becky and his son Isaac, who is 24 and spoke beautifully at the service. But it's also broken for the Man. He met Dave his very first day of college. The Man was the first person in his family to go to college, and when he got there, he met this smart, friendly, funny Jewish guy from Connecticut the very first day and thought, 'College is going to be great!' And it was.
But the Man is never going to be 18 again, never going to stumble into somebody's dorm room and stay up all night discussing the meaning of life and R.E.M. lyrics with someone he'll stay friends with well beyond graduation He'll never have that history with anyone else. He'll make new friends, I hope, though like a lot of men I know, he doesn't make new friends easily. But he'll never make that kind of friend again.
So I didn't sleep very much last night, thinking about that, and now I'm tired. And I am really, really tired of cancer. Last night I learned that someone I like very much, someone who has been very kind to me and my children over the years, has Stage 4 lung cancer. Not a smoker, not someone you'd think would be at risk. But there you have it. Really, I've had enough of cancer. Enough.
But I will end this on a happy note, because there are always happy notes to end on if you look for them, and I didn't have to look hard for this one at all. My mother's birthday is today. She's 80, and she survived Stage 4 lymphoma. Quite frankly, she kicked its butt. Her best friend came for the weekend, and I think all they did was eat, drink and be merry (and go to church on Sunday, of course). So there are some happy endings to sad stories. I hope there will be more. Peace be with you, my dears.
I'm a writer and a stay-at-home mom who keeps meaning to mop the floors because I think it would make me happy if I did. I love books and music and writing, spend entirely too much time in the dentist's chair (I bet I have more crowns than you do), and used to think I was sort of bohemian, but now I wonder. No tattoos. Minivan. That story.