Lately, I have been thinking about the power of words especially written ones. A few examples –
- I have been reading applications for Dave’s scholarship, and it has been demonstrated a few times that sometimes the author’s words may not be conveying the intended message. I know that when I have been fuzzy in my own writing, it is made abundantly clear by the responses!
- This afternoon I was reading an article in the William and Mary alumni magazine that shifted my view on Patton Oswalt who graduated the same year I did. I met him at a freshman mixer where he was greeting people with a convincing Australian accent. In fact, I think I asked others if they had met “the Australian guy”. I think of him as a rather goofy, funny guy, but the interviewer did such a great job communicating the depth of Oswalt’s thinking that I now see him in a different light. In fact, he reminds me of Grant (or maybe vice versa).
- Last night a piece of writing was shared that brought me to tears. It was written by a colleague and friend of Dave’s and was filled with funny references and memories. I think that I cried because it painted such a spot on picture of Dave.
- Grant got a letter in the mail from Franck, Dave’s sister’s husband, and all around great guy. He wrote it to Grant on his 18th birthday and connected with him in a way that was humorous and meaningful. Dave and Grant had a huge bond over music, and it was very touching to see Franck continue the conversation.
- Finally, I had the privilege of reading an email from one of last year’s scholarship recipients. She wrote so beautifully about the trials and triumphs of her freshman year of college. I was equal parts heartbroken for her and so very proud of her. Those were some powerful words.
I have decided to put some words to paper myself and finally write some long overdue notes. There were people who were so kind and helpful to Dave especially during the last months of his life. I believe that they know how grateful we are, but I am not sure that I have ever said thank you. Definitely time to remedy that.
The kids and I are spending this Spring Break doing a mix of things we need to do (hello, disastrous pantry and weed infested garden) and things that we want to do. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with both Grant and Parker. Grant and I did a college tour and all the while we were walking around he was making the most grossly inappropriate comments that were worthy of his father. When Parker and I were driving into DC, she was pointing out things in the music we were listening to that I had never noticed. She hears music just like her dad. He will always be a part of the amazing people that they are.
Parker and I visited the Renwick Gallery. The exhibit they are showing is called Wonder. It is quite spectacular in its elaborate simplicity.
I have also been spending some time reading through the cards and letters that we received after Dave died. I didn’t have the strength to read many of them when they arrived, but when I came across the rubbermaid container filled with them during our spring sorting out, I decided to try. It is beautiful to read the memories and thoughts people have of Dave.
I hope that the rest of this break is as peaceful as I feel today appreciating the opportunities and gifts that each day brings. While a part of me will always feel regret that Dave didn’t get to enjoy many more of them, I know that I honor us both by trying to live my life with gratitude, honesty, openness and wonder.
PS This is in response to Cimba. The boys are amazing. They just want to snuggle and be loved. And protect the house from passersby.
Mom and I enjoyed our annual “escape to the sun” getaway earlier this month. This year we explored the Ft. Myers/Sanibel part of Florida. It was a beautiful eighty degrees, sunny, and breezy. We agreed that although at times it was quite a bit breezy, we would have been melting without it. By all accounts the weather here was also very nice for much of the time that we were gone so the kids and Dad didn’t suffer too much in our absence.
We are awarding scholarships to four Hayfield seniors again this year. While I was basking in the sun I thought I might start to read applications, but I found that anytime I saw Dave’s name in print, a great giant lump would form in my throat. In the end, I abandoned the task and just read my book or listened to music.
That bit of melancholy followed me home, and I couldn’t seem to shake it off for the next few days. By the end of the weekend, I was pretty much feeling back to normal for which I was very grateful. It is strange how these moments can just hit seemingly out of nowhere.
I think about Dave all the time. Today I had a training that was right around the corner from one of the schools where he worked for many years. I thought about him but in a happy memory way. He loved his years overseeing the academy and some of his favorite people work there still. Likewise, March Madness is going on and I remember him and our yearly contest with a smile on my face. Every year we would complete brackets. Almost every year he was mathematically eliminated by the sweet sixteen. So, most days I can think of him and might have only a twinge of sadness or regret, but other days, it knocks me back a step or two. It’s completely unpredictable.
I do recognize how much progress I have made over the last year, nine months and a day (if I were counting), but I still have a ways to go. I find myself becoming more introverted than ever and know that I need to find times to step out of my comfort zone more often. A friend of mine, who has recently gone through a big change in her life, has declared this the “year of yes” which I renamed the “year of yikes”. I admire her proactive effort to move forward and try new things. Another friend, who has also gone through a loss in recent months, said she is committed to trying 52 new things this year. I admire both of these women and their bravery very much.
I guess this is all part of the process and it all takes time. I wish there was a guidebook.