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Wednesday, August 17, 2005 5:44 PM CDT

Tears. Lots of tears. We have made the most of these last few weeks and I am so glad. Dave is surrounded by people who love him, who stroke his head, who tell him what a fine man he is, a wonderful father, a nearly :-) perfect husband--a life partner beyond what I could ever have imagined or come close to deserving, an inspirational coach and a teacher beyond measure. Before Zach left for Idaho, after spending some special time with Dad, Dave looked at our children's faces, then at me and said, "We done good, Shell. We done good." And so we have.

I fear our journey is nearing the end. Dave has been confined to bed for the past week or so, unable to use his left side. Swallowing is becoming increasingly difficult. His breathing has changed over the last 12 hours, he has a lot of mucus in his throat, which makes it hard to breathe, and chokes him sometimes. The vomiting has pretty well abated, thank God. He is unable to eat or drink much, just a few bites and sips here and there. It's getting harder to get the medication in.

He's been pretty alert and with us most of the time, but today even that has taken a sharp decline. When he's awake, he's not really very oriented, and has not been talking, although he seems to hear us.

We've made some great memories over the past few months, and are making sure that Dave hears all the words, everything he needs to hear.

I hope I'm wrong, he's proved statistics wrong so many times in the past. He's been a brave and valiant warrior, fighting this battle with everything he has, continuing to smile and just be Dave....if you've ever been in his presence, you know exactly what I mean. If you've ever been the recipient of that Dave smile, or one of those Dave hugs, you know. Even now, he finds the strength to lift his good hand and stroke my hair when I lay my head on his chest. That's Dave, always giving.

I love him more than I can say.

For those of you that don't know him well, I'm going to paste in a letter from Jillian, his long-term sub last spring. I hope she won't mind, I can't find her phone number to ask permission. But it gives a clear picture of the kind of man Dave is. Amazing, remarkable, unequaled.

"Dave –

I should have written this note two months ago, but my Mom always says that it’s never too late to say thank you. I’m afraid this little card doesn’t have enough room to hold all the gratitude I felt for having the chance to brush elbows with you, but it’ll have to do!

When Ginger called me in January, asking me to sub long-term for “THE” Dave Meyer, I said yes with fear & trepidation, wondering if I had what it would take to fill the biggest (figurative) shoes at Wa-Hi. Turns out I didn’t, and that was the point. From the first day, it was overwhelming how much your students cared about you. They are drawn to you, Dave, not because of your gift for teaching, your extensive knowledge in history & English, or even your passion for music (although you’ve got all of those things.) They are drawn to the Jesus in you, the one who radiates His love to every single kid that walks through your door, in every single lesson, song, story, or smile. You love them with the love of the One whose love they need the very most. And that doesn’t come from you. Thanks for showing me that I don’t have what it takes to really love these kids – but He does.

Thanks for being so gracious with such a stubborn, learning teacher. You encouraged me, even when I didn’t deserve it, just because you knew I needed it. You gave me chocolate, smiles, cookies, and hugs when I was grouchy. You showed up, when every fiber in your body screamed at you to stay in bed. Thanks for teaching me what it means to be faithful.

I’ll never forget what Nick Clark wrote on his final, in answering the question, “What did you learn this semester?” He said, “ Mr. Meyer showed me what it means to really fight.” Thanks for fighting for those kids, Dave. They noticed.

You are a man of true faith, and the truth about your character has really been revealed in your “Cancer Journey,” as you called it on your Cultural Profile. You are a fighter, faithful to your core to the only Source of real LIFE. I’m honored to have worked with you this year. Thanks for the chance to teach with you, and through that, to discover the kind of teacher I want to become. I’m blessed to call you a colleague and honored to call you a friend! In Christ, Jillian"


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