Monday, August 31, 2015




I'm a little bit sleepy.

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.

11 comments:

Jo said...

Oh, Frances, I am so sorry for this sadness, so glad the quilt got there in time, so glad your Man had such a great friend, so sorry that his friend (and yours) is gone. So glad you could celebrate his life so well, so sorry for the grief you will all go through. Isn't it odd that life and death are both such great mysteries, when they are all we have??

Heather said...

And also with you, Frances.

Pom Pom said...

I don't know what to say except that I am so sorry for your loss.
I will pray for you and for your husband.

gretchenjoanna said...

Thank you for telling us the story of your Man and David. David lives on, but he will have to be a different sort of friend now. I am not sleeping well lately, either. This life is so full of death and loss. But bravo for your mother! Cherish her. Let's cherish everyone!

Angela said...

I too am fed up with hearing of friends with cancer- since I moved in January, 3 dear friends have died of the disease [2 of them not diagnosed till after we left, so really quickly] and four more have been diagnosed in the past month. And my heart is aching for all those who are losing the ones with whom they could share precious, unique memories, and for young lads like Isaac, losing their Dads too soon.
I am increasingly conscious of the importance of making up quickly after petty disagreements, and rebuilding relationships before they turn into lifelong estrangements.
Bless you, Frances, for all that you personally have done, to love and support The Man, Becky, and Isaac through these dark days, when you are hurting too. God give you all the grace and strength that you need. [and of COURSE you have weathered the years better than others - you clearly have inherited your mother's fighting genes!!] love and hugs xxx

Nancy McCarroll said...

Peace..also with you.

Heather F said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Frances. Your post made me tear up. Hugs to you and your family.

Susan Zimmerman said...

May I suggest a comforting read for your heavy heart? Winnie the Pooh might be just what you need.

Until you can find your trusted copy, I send this for you and the Man:
“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”

And for the Man:
"I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.”

And you need tea. Many cups of tea with honey.

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.
"There there," said Piglet. "I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”

Sending healing thoughts and prayers.

Tracy said...

Oh my dear friend. I am heartbroken for you. Loss and grief are such sad and difficult bedfellows with whom to be cozied up. My fervent prayer for you is that you will know God's closeness in your grief. He knows your broken heart and your tears and He holds you close. Even when days feel sad and lonely and broken. If I were closer I would bring tea and cake and cry with you, because I'm good at sympathetic crying (hence the tears in my eyes now!!!).

Big hugs to you and The Man and your boys.

magsmcc said...

I think it is essential that we make opportunities to eat, drink and be merry together because there are just no guarantees in this old life. Except for the ones that aren't in this old life. The peace of the Lord, Frances x

Gumbo Lily said...

I'm sorry for your broken hearts. A good friend who leaves should break your heart.

God's peace be to you.