One Impossible Week Later

I can still picture myself sitting there, holding his hand, unwilling to allow my gaze to move from his face. I remember being utterly confused as to what had just happened, unable to comprehend what I had just witnessed. I still feel like that. I just can’t believe it.

I keep thinking about what an amazing father Dave was. He cultivated a special bond with each of our kids over a shared interest. With Parker it was cheering on the Blackhawks in their matching jerseys. With Sam, it was a shared love of reptiles and their recent purchase of Ellie, the king snake. Grant and Dave shared a similar (often highly inappropriate!) sense of humor, and Dave was introducing him to classic movies like Caddyshack, Airplane and Stripes.

Dave was very purposeful in his conversations with the kids during his final few weeks. He made sure to let them know how proud he was of them. He talked to them about how it would be tough when he was no longer here, that it would take time but they would be okay. He made them secure in his love for them.

The kids said their goodbyes to Dave at home. We had a few scares Sunday morning, and it was obvious that we were turning a final corner. Because his family and I realized that we would not be able to keep him comfortable, we decided to take him to the hospital. Before we went, the kids took turns talking to him and in his last fatherly act, Dave mustered up the strength to connect with each one of them. Parker told him she loved him and he told her he loved her too. Then he puckered up his lips so she could give him a kiss. Samantha told him she loved him and that she would talk to him later. Dave made a great effort to look at his watch and told her “okay”. He blew her a kiss as she turned to walk away. Dave saved the last bit of his energy for Grant, the one of our three kids that he worried about the most. Grant told him he loved him and Dave said, “Relax. Take it one day at a time. I love you.” He left them with all of the tools that he could to insure that they would be okay. I love how much he loved them.

I think about him when I fall asleep at night, when I wake up in the morning, and most moments in between. I just can’t believe it.




8 thoughts on “One Impossible Week Later

  1. Dave sounds like an amazing dad. I have been thinking a lot about your kids and wondering how they are dealing with this. It’s a very very tough time for all of you and I guess only time will help. In the meantime I’m sending you early morning hugs and lots of love, and I want you to know that you are not alone, even if it feels like it at times. xxx

  2. As with Nicola (post above) I too have been thinking about the kids as well. I know they must be hurting so deeply too. It must be hard when you yourself are in such pain and despair..This is a pain you never want your children to endure, or yourself for that matter. What a true gift Dave was to all of you and what a gift you all were to him-a beautiful legacy. You must be dying inside and I wish we could all take your pain away -Because it is the worse pain you could ever imagine. Keep posting. I know it may not seem like much but you are all in our thoughts and prayers Robyn.

  3. Robyn – Dave may not be here physically but his life time memories will always be with you and the kids. I’m sure things will come up daily that you will make you ask yourself what will Dave want but remember he’s always in your heart. Take baby steps each day. Lots of Love

  4. One day at a time…one moment at a time…we are here with and for you…always and forever. Love, Liz xoxoxo

  5. You were and are amazing in how great you made his life especially these last years. The kids will be fine in a bit and have great memories of him and his huge love for them. Love, Ann

  6. Robyn, I had four children graduate from Hayfield Seconday. Two of them had the privilege of shaking Dave’s hand as they received their graduation diplomas. I just wanted to share with you that it was your husband who “saved the day” a few times while my kids were in school. When teachers or coaches didn’t support them or their teams in one way or another, they felt comfortable going to Dave and he always backed the student…when it was right to do so. The entire community has so much respect for your husband…what a comforting feeling that must be in such time of grief. One of my biggest memories of Dave was when I took my preschool class to the Tiny Tots concert at Hayfield. I had no idea who the big guy in the Woody costume was but he did a fantastic job and he made the program that much better! I found out later that he was indeed the new principal and I thought to myself, “oh my…if he is willing to put on a Woody cowboy suit and get silly with an audience of preschool and kindergarten children…he is going to be a great principal!” I went home that day telling my daughter all about it and she confirmed that “yep, he’s the new principal and he’s GREAT!” I have read just about every one of your blogs and even from this stranger’s perspective…you truly have a blessed family and I hope you find comfort in your wonderful memories of your amazing husband. -Kathy Zatt

  7. Robyn – I don’t think we ever met, but I knew Dave pretty well as one of his Y buddies and over time I had met each of your children at the Y also. You were married to just a wonderful man and you have a beautiful family. My thoughts, sympathies, and prayers go out to you, your family, Dave, and the tremendous reach of people who Dave so positively touched with his energy, enthusiasm, spirit, and love. All of us who ever met him, and we were the lucky ones, will always remember Dave. Dave and I used to talk before the Hayfield days about when that opportunity would come and I will never forget his joy and my joy for him when he finally got the job where he obviously excelled beyond anyone’s expectations, except Dave’s. Dave always asked me about my two sons (now 25 and 27) and he followed closely their progressions through school and early adulthood. He was an amazing friend. I left Northern VA in August of 2012 to move back home to Western PA and by chance I ran into Dave at the Y on a visit in September 2013. Dave was his normal self, upbeat, positive, and never acknowledging what he had been dealing with for over two years at that point. Again, he was so selfless and such a good friend and I can see that he fought a great fight. By chance, I was on Washington Post website last week and saw the saddest of news I could have found on Dave passing. I have read pretty much all of your amazingly candid blog of yours and Dave’s experience and I thank you for that gift. I hope and pray for your healing and for the healing of the children and Dave’s family in the days and weeks to come.

    Bill Stewart
    Freedom, PA

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