This morning Dave died. Jim called at a little before 9am to let me know. He was heading home to take care of the details. Dave will be cremated and buried in his family plot. He didn’t want a service of any sort, but then we all know that the service or whatever happens next is never about the deceased, but for those left behind. Jim’s plan is to have a gathering soon, at a friend’s house for everyone to come together to share their memories of Dave. The thought is that everyone will bring a potted plant and when we leave we will take with us a different potted plant than the one we came with. Dave was all about plants. That was one of the things we bonded over. He gardened, loved roses and bleeding hearts and peonies (which I pronounce ‘PEEuhnee’ but he pronounced ‘peeOHnee’). He grew potatoes in a large bucket. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and pronounced the word potato ‘buhdayda’.
Two Christmases ago they came over to visit and he brought me a jade plant he grew from one of his own. I have in the last year given away at least two babies I grew from that plant, and will take one as my contribution and tribute to him. In my yard I have peonies that he gave me from his yard when we moved, as well as some bleeding hearts. I didn’t think the bleeding hearts survived, but this year they bloomed with gusto.
I will miss Dave. Of the two of them he is the one I bonded the most with, the one I made contact with and made arrangements with. I don’t know how much Jim will maintain contact with me. I don’t know if he will stay in the area. If Jim had had his way, they would have moved to Arizona or New Mexico years ago. He is always cold, while Dave often could be found outside in just a t-shirt in October.
I am grateful for the time we had this week to say good bye, to let him know how much we loved him and would miss him.
After I hung up the phone this morning, Bob hugged me, and then Cooper ran in doing whatever he was doing, wearing his footy pajamas and Bob the Builder belt that has a box on it that sings several things from the series, pressing the button regularly so that the theme song “Bob the Builder, can we fix it, Bob the Builder, yes we can” kept playing over and over, and being goofy and silly and suddenly I was incapable of staying sad. There is such a joyful life force that comes out of a 2 year old, one that shines regardless of the loss and grief that was just being experienced in the kitchen moments before. I decided a more appropriate way to celebrate Dave’s bigger than life personality was to enjoy Cooper’s enthusiastic goofiness and chase him back into the living room to color (I drew a turtle), rather than stand in the kitchen and cry. There will be opportunities to cry later, but for the moment I chose to bask in the bright joy that is Cooper and remember Dave in happier times.
Happy travels Dave. Go with God and we will be seeing you again someday.