Sunday, September 25, 2005

A Month

Sunday, September 25, 2005 11:49 AM CDT

A month. It's been a month. Has it really been a month? Can it have only been a month?

Some days are so hard. I read my last entry...."I couldn't do this without you." And I think, "Am I really doing this?" The answer is no, not really. I look like I'm doing this. I'm doing what needs to be done. But I don't really feel here.

The numbness, this self-protective shell is all encompassing, it infiltrates everything. I remember it so well. When Kyle died. When Kenny was diagnosed with autism. I remember shortly after that, holding Zach at his first birthday, smiling and clapping and helping him open presents and blow out candles. In the pictures, in the video, I look like any other mommy. I remember feeling dead inside, wondering if I would ever, ever feel anything that resembled "happy" again.

But you do, you find your way back. I work with toddlers. I watch them learn to walk. They fall and they cry and they fall again. I've often thought, "If I fell that many times, I'd just give up and keep crawling." But they don't. They get up again and again until they've got it. And so will I.

In the meantime, nothing really seems very important. In comparison to the huge whirlwind of desolation that I know lies beneath the numbness, I find little motivation for anything else.

It takes enormous amounts of energy to learn to live without him. And I'm not even there yet. I'm not learning to live without him yet. I'm learning to stay alive without him. That's all I can do. I say and do all the things I'm supposed to, but inside there's this sense of being on hold. I wonder how this world can keep on spinning, madly, wildly as it always has, when for me, it's stopped.

People say "how are you doing? how are the kids?" I laugh inside. There are no answers to those questions. People ask them because there really isn't anything else to say. I say I'm getting through the days. One at a time. And I am. That's all. I don't seem to have room to return phone calls, answer e-mails or write thank you cards. But at the end of the day, I'm still here. That's something.

Two of the hardest days have passed. My birthday, two days after Dave died. Our anniversary, last Tuesday, September 20. 19 years. Deb and I went to dinner, ordered our husband's favorites, then came home and watched the video of Dave and my wedding. We laughed watching it. The music was beautiful, Mark and Erik singing. Dave's song for me...."I want to grow older with you, make each day a dream come true, love has slowly created one from two. Can't wait to spend the rest of my life, growing older with you." The funny part was Dave and I talking to each other, the whole way through. Aren't you supposed to be quiet up there? Dave and I were talking, laughing, smiling.

I'm going to try to post some pictures from the service on the caringbridge photo page...click the link above.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mom's Camp Out

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:59 PM CDT

Moms Camp Out

Lisa, Mimi and I took the kids, well except Zach and Drew, who had a b-day party to go to and were chicken to camp with the moms!....we went just for overnight. We had a wonderful time, the kids splashed in the water, we sat around the campfire, we slept on tree roots that worked their way through air matresses. The weather was perfect and the dirty eggs were the best food I've tasted in a long time.

Arrival was sketchy. We went to Fishhook...closed. We went to Charbonneau...full. Finally, we found a space at Hood Park. Whew. Thought we were going to have to go back to all the guys who weren't sure we could pitch our own tents with a failed mission. We pulled into the campsite, beautiful, right on the water. Moms unloaded gear, kids ran to the water. Moments later, Kate and Allie come running up the hill. "Mom, look at this rock!" I'm thinking, "Seen one rock, seen 'em all." So I glance over and begin to say something like, "In a minute, honey...." and she and Allie both insist that Lisa and I look RIGHT NOW. Kate holds out a rock. It's a roundish rock, broken in half. An ordinary rock. On its side it says:
DAVE
Really. The rock says Dave. Someone had written on it in green marker. And Allie found a shell. So we had Dave and Shell at the campsite. Mike was disappointed, 'cause he couldn't go, but Dave got to.



Other happenings:

Kenny has had 3 football games. In Yakima, in Lewiston, and in Walla Walla. Their team is undefeated. Kenny's got to play in all the games. He believes that they save him for the last quarter so he can come in and save the game. Cracks me up. We should all have so much confidence. He has a date for homecoming. A very sweet girl named Kendra. She goes to our church and is on the volleyball team. She's terrific. She wore a shirt to Kenny's home game with his name and number on it. At the home game, when Kenny went into the game (5th quarter), half the crowd exploded, cheering for him, and the guys on the sidelines started chanting his name. It was awesome.

Zach had his first football game last Thursday. Pioneer won 48-6. Zach was soooo fired up. I have never seen him like that. Our theory was that he was playing LOUD so his Dad would be sure to hear him. He was excited...and played incredibly well. He had two touchdowns, several sacks, two really long runs and ran for a ton of yardage. He was named one of the players of the game, which meant he got to be on the sidelines with the WaHi varsity team when they played on Friday night. It was great to see him down there on the field, walking among the players, just like his Dad did. Although Dave never had to carry water.

Kate's started dance, and is loving it as always. Dance recital is December 17 at Cordiner Hall for those of you who need to mark calendars. She's excited for choir and dance team at school to get started. She's enjoying school and loving her new teacher.

I went back to work today. It was good to be there. Thought I'd do a few hours. Ended up working most of the day. It was good to be busy with things that were interesting. It was good to see the little preschool faces coming back, having grown so much over the summer. Toddlers start tomorrow. I can't wait for that.

Thanks, camping buddies. It was the perfect cap to a miserable summer. Just what I needed.

Love, Shelley

PS. You won't believe this. I completely emptied Kate's room and started from scratch, got it cleaned and organized. Did the same with the garage. Thanks, Alex, the "Clean Sweep" with latte was fun. Thanks, Cindy for the truck. Thanks, Mike, for running a used carlot across the street. Thanks, Matt, for getting Kenny to school. Thanks, Cyndi, for getting Kate home from dance. Wow, there are so many people to thank. You are the best. I couldn't do this without you.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ashes

Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:45 PM CDT

Yesterday, Alex came to visit. I found out that Dave's ashes were ready to pick up. Alex said, "Are you going alone? You can't go alone." So we talked for a while, and she agreed to go with me. I'm so grateful, the experience was so surreal. I know I would have felt so empty to be in that place by myself. Instead, I had Alex, keeping me grounded, keeping me sane, reminding me I wasn't alone.

We picked up the wooden box, surprisingly heavy, with a little clink...the fish symbol Dave always wore. The box is lighter wood with an inlaid cross of darker wood. The box is smooth and simple. Alex and I found ourselves touching it, stroking the surface. It was somehow irresistible. Warm and comforting and beautiful, kind of like Dave himself.

Alex and I talked about ashes, and what you do with them. She talked about her Dad. I felt so unready to decide, and Alex helped me see that it was okay to take my time. After hearing her, I felt decidedly less "creepy" about keeping the box here. I wondered how the children would react. They were just like Alex and I, drawn in, needing to touch it. Kenny, especially, touches the box every time he goes by. It reminds me of when Dave would sleep in the living room, and we would stroke his head or give him a kiss as we went by. It's good to have something to touch.

Kyle's ashes are in a blue marble box, buried in Gig Harbor. I'm unsure what I'll do, but I'd like for them to be together. Weird, since they already are. I feel better about being able to take my time, thanks, Alex. I love you.

We are getting through the days. Some times are hard. Some times are okay. The grief comes in waves. Crashing over us, sometimes little by little, sometimes all at once, then receding, leaving us drained, but cleansed. Like the beach, there are sneaker waves, things that hit us unexpectedly, things you just aren't prepared for. Like seeing that Dave was cremated on my birthday, and that date is on the bottom of his box. I didn't know what I felt...my eyes flew to Alex. She held my arm. The wave came, then retreated.

Our house feels empty now. Dave, in life, was such an incredible, awesome presence, that, in death, his absence is huge. Huge and loud. The house echoes with the missing of him. Things feel hollow sometimes. I find myself listening for Dave, for the jingle of his keys, the spring in his step, the strum of his guitar, the song of praise, the deep laugh. I find myself looking for Dave, a blue and white jacket, a pair of sunglasses below a baseball cap, a doo-rag, a whistle, a smile. I find myself feeling for him, in giant hugs, soft touches, high-fives. There are echoes of him everywhere. Zach strums his guitar. Kenny laughs deeply. Kate hums as she works. I tell myself it's enough. It has to be enough. It's not.

Kate holds her little pink heart pillow. She gave it to Dave when he went in the hospital in May. It never left his side. He slept with it every night. She says, "It smells like Daddy." She won't sleep with it, because then it might smell like her. I found her crying one day. She thought it was losing its smell, so we found a sweatshirt of Dave's and wrapped the pillow in his shirt overnight, to refresh the Daddy smell. What will I do when it fades for good?

There are still many beautiful stories to tell of Dave's last days and hours. Some have heard them on the phone, but here....I can't do it yet. I don't know why. Words, phrases and stories, these are my friends, my ways of coping. But some places I can't go yet.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by such loving people. The calls, visits, cards, e-mails....so caring, so sustaining. Such nice things people say. I have had many people say that I'm strong, that I'm amazing, that I'm inspiring.

Okay, guys, here's the real deal. I'm not. I'm really not. I'm not strong. But I do know how to lean well. Thank you for being people I can lean on. I'm not amazing. But I do know how to be honest and real and how to feel. Thanks for caring about that. I'm not inspiring. But I do know how to get out of the way, to allow a process to happen as it is meant to, and like Dave, to let things happen through me. Thanks for being part of this. Some have said I'm brave. I'll take that. I am brave. Sometimes I'm scared, but I decide to reach out anyway. It's not easy, but it's the only way I know. Dave and I learned a lot about being honest and risking and connecting and what it takes to make relationships real in the moment. We learned it the hard way, through Kyle, but we never lost it. Dave used to say, "Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you choose to do about it." There is no day but today. I don't do this as an example. It's not the "right" way. There is no "right" way. Each must find their own way. This journal started out as a way to convey information when we were out of town for treatments. Along the way it's become something else entirely. I'm still not sure what it is, only that I'm grateful for the company along the way, and I'm grateful for the chance to share some parts of Dave with you, and I'm grateful to God for seeing us all through.

Love you all, Shelley

This song speaks to my heart today. I encourage you to go to www.air1.com to listen to some of this music that I've been posting, it's powerful to hear.

"A Little More" by Skillet

Love is all around you now
So take a hold
Hidden in our words
It sometimes ain't enough
Don't suffocate day after day
It's building up
Cause when you're feeling weak
You know I'm strong enough

Just one more day
One more day

Oh, let the world crash
Love can take it
Oh, let the world come crashing down
Oh, let the world crash
Love can take it
Love can take a little
Love can give a little more

Love is indestructible
So take a hold
Sometimes hard to find
A reason good enough
I'll stand beside you
Never leave through it all
And faith will bring a way
To the impossible

Just one more day
One more day

Oh, let the world crash
Love can take it
Oh, let the world come crashing down
Oh, let the world crash
Love can take it
Love can take a little
Love can give a little more

You can find me
You can find me
You can find me anywhere
Take a look over your shoulder
I'll be standing there
Standing there

Love is all around you now
So take a hold
And faith will bring a way
To the impossible

Just one more day
(You can find me, You can find me)
One more day
(You can find me anywhere)

Let the world crash
Love can take it
Oh, let the world come crashing down
Oh, let the world crash
Love can take it
Love can take a little
Love can take a little
Love can take a little
Love can give a little more
A little more

Take a little more
Take a little more

Friday, September 09, 2005

More

Friday, September 9, 2005 10:31 AM CDT

Taking Zach to school this morning. On the radio:

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine and you shine for me, too
I love you
Yesterday
And today
And tomorrow
I'll say it again and again
I love you more
I love you more

Zach singing along. Tears on my face. I miss him so.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hi Dave

Tuesday, September 6, 2005 7:36 PM CDT

I find it hard to write now. There seems to be nothing to tell. People ask me how I'm doing, what I need. The only thing I need no-one can give, so I say, "I'm doing all right." Am I? Hard to know. Just working through the days as they come.

Small Dave story....I went to see Elaine at the payroll office and discovered that Dave had taken out a voluntary life insurance policy that I didn't know about. It was a real blessing, as the amount of the policy nearly covers the debt accrued through cancer/autism these past few years. It means that we should be able to keep our house. Sigh of relief. That's not the real Dave part, though. After leaving the district office, I ran into the mini-mart to get a soda. On the radio:

You know our love was meant to be
The kind of love that lasts forever
And I need you here with me
From tonight until the end of time

You should know, everywhere I go
You're always on my mind,
in my heart In my soul

You're the meaning in my life
You're the inspiration
You bring feeling to my life
You're the inspiration
Wanna have you near me
I wanna have you hear me sayin'
No one needs you more than I need you


This was the song Dave and I danced to at our wedding. I smiled, cried a little and said, "Hi, Dave."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Memorial Service

Thursday, September 1, 2005 0:21 AM CDT

Dave's Memorial Service

A beautiful day, sunny, clear and not too hot. 1600 gather, wearing clothes bright with blue, purple, Hawaiian flowers and Disneyland characters. They are here to say goodbye. The only clouds are inside.

There are beautiful flowers everywhere, pictures of Dave, a Wa-Hi football jersey and helmet, high school trophies and his beloved guitar, the only object that meant anything to Dave, looking lonely on stage.

Bob and Judy, on their anniversary, grieving, sad, welcoming friends and family.

Shane, Jeffrey & Patrice play beautiful music, some of Dave's favorite songs.

The football coaches, resplendent in Wa-Hi royal and white, come in from the field, tan and tall, smelling of the sun and fresh grass crushed under cleats. They are warm when I hug them, they feel strong. They feel like Dave.

We gather in the family room, but after praying with Robin, Denise and I can't stay there, we sneak to the back of the sanctuary to watch the people and listen to the music. Zach finds us and sneaks in to hug his friends. We long to be part of all that is happening. We want to take in every minute. We want to stop time.

I find myself needing Mark and Erik and Deb and Cindy. When we come into the sanctuary, I see those faces and break into a smile. I wonder what people think when they see me smile.

We settle in the pews. Kate sees Dave's guitar and snuggles close. "I miss Daddy." "Me too, love, me too." I find myself wishing I had 3 sides, so I could be right next to all three of our children.

I hear Skip welcome us, pray with us. Above him, a picture of Dave, sitting with bandana around his head, on the front porch at the beach, putting on his boots. The picture is washed with blue, you can just make out the water in the background. You can see he's readying to walk away.

Dave's brother, Bob reads from Dave's favorite chapter, Romans 8: "I am convinced that nothing can separate us from the love that is Christ Jesus."

Jeffrey and Patrice and Shane begin to sing:
"Oh Lord, You're beautiful,
Your face is all I see
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me...."

Erik Haroldson plays the piano, sings in a voice so pure and strong and clear, the song he wrote for Dave twenty years ago:
"My friend with the magic guitar
Lend him your ears, open your heart
He’ll sing a song for you
Because he knows just how you’re feeling
And if you listen carefully, I’m sure that you will see
The story of the magic man hidden behind his words
And then he’ll smile songs of happiness
And he’ll whisper words of tears
He’ll share all his secrets with you
Because he just wants, just wants someone to hear

Don’t you know that I hear?"

Zach, leaning forward in his pew, sending Erik love, so that Erik can sing. Kate, singing along, softly.

Peter Wiederspan, talks about how we can get to know Dave better...by loving those around us, by learning to play and instrument, and playing it long and loud and ignoring everything else around, by telling everyone in sight when you fall in love, by honoring your parents, by loving Jesus and letting His light shine in you, you'll know Dave better.

Shane, Jeffrey & Patrice begin "Forever," a song Dave sang with the kids when he taught Vacation Bible School, kept singing with Sunday School classes and finally brought up to the sanctuary. The children came forward to do the hand motions.

"Let my song be a sweet perfume
Rising up to heaven
Let my life be a prayer to You
Pleasing You forever..."

Mark Thompson came to tell us of Dave, a basketball player, learning to coach football, reaching out to care for each player, no matter their talent. He spoke of the years of Tuesday evenings, Coach and the Music Man, preaching and singing at the chapel at the Christian Aid Center, ministering to and loving the least of these. Of a man who learned from his parents to love and be loved and to follow God in all he did. A man unafraid to really love the people in his life and to tell them so.

Dave's brother, Greg, read from James 1, "Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness....Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him."

Mark Nelson, guitar in hand, the pain of losing his friend etched on his face sang "Coming Home."
"The sun stood still today
And everything was bright
And even though there was no time
They waited an eternity
For you

You held your son so close again
Your Father pulled you closer in
And all the angels held their breath
And watched you take another step
To Him

The angels were dropping everything
To lift you up and bring your wings
A choir sang their welcoming
And you joined in once more to sing

Hallelujah"


Harvey Wellington shared about Dave, the full meal deal, a young boy running through campgrounds, a boy surrounded by love and faith, a teenager eating everything in sight and playing basketball every spare moment, a young father struggling with loss, a teacher and coach who truly made a difference for so many, a grown man who told kids, "I believe in you. You can do it."

Rev. Robin Peterson, Dave's pastor and mentor for most of his life, shared about meeting the teenager, the shining star, scholar, athlete, full of promise, who shone, then struggled, then overcame. He reminded us what Dave would have said. He was an ordinary man, who accomplished extraordinary things by allowing himself to be used as God's instrument. He shared the lyrics of a song and he shared his broken heart, the depth of his love for Dave showing in his words, his face, his voice.

Then the slide show, put together by Jeffrey Townsend. An incredible tribute. I gave Jeffrey 300 pictures (scanned by Thomas Bebee) and a set of songs. Jeffrey created pure magic...pictures of Dave, as a little boy, growing up in the arms of a loving, secure, faithful family. As a child, playing with his brothers. As a teenager, shooting hoops and playing football. As a young man, playing music. As a husband, shining with love. As a father, every picture a portrait of adoration. As a patient, showing strength through his weakness. As a friend, enjoying moment with the people he loved.

In the background, "You'll Be In My Heart" by Phil Collins, "My Front Porch Looking In" by Lonestar, "More" by Matthew West, "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart, "This is Your Life" by Switchfoot, and "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe. Kenny and Zach and Kate are all singing along with each song, getting stronger with every word, raising their voices in true Dave fashion, celebrating the love, the music...one and the same. The love and the music.

Dave's smile is in every frame. In many of the pictures, other eyes turn toward the camera, but we see Dave, gazing on the faces he loves, drinking them in. We see birthday parties where all the adults sit on the perimeter and Dave is playing right in the middle with all the kids. Pictures of him, in coaching blue or black, striding across the field, clipboard in hand, encouraging pats on the back for players. Pictures of him tenderly holding babies. Pictures of him throwing the ball for his boys. Pictures of him with his head thrown back, laughing. Pictures of him with his guitar, shining that smile, talking to Mark and Erik without any words at all. Pictures of him in his wheelchair. Pictures of Darren shaving his head. And finally, pictures of him in the hospital bed where he spent his last days, still connecting with people, welcoming them in, drawing them near.

We cried, then laughed, then cried some more. Amy cried, unable to be consoled. I lifted her. She clung to me for a few seconds, then reached for Zach. He held her until she could breathe again, until she felt safe and calm.

We then sang "Amazing Grace" with Hanna Peterson's beautiful voice leading us.
"Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now am found
Was blind but now I see."

I'm sure I'll be editing this, there is so much to say, and some of the words are jumbled, but beginning to sort themselves out. I know I've made mistakes, but it was a beautiful tribute to a great man, who lived for others, never letting an opportunity to care or reach out pass by. He had many "refugees," people he took in and called his own. He faced every trial honestly and bravely. He gave his all. Someone said, "The paper got it almost right. They said he was a kid magnet. Dave was a people magnet." How right that is. I am still hearing about people whose lives were touched, transformed, by knowing Dave.

It was a priviledge to know him, to love him. And saying goodbye is nearly impossible.

The obituary follows:

David Joseph Meyer
December 28, 1962 – August 23, 2005

Dave Meyer, 42, died at home, surrounded by love, after a valiant eight-year battle against a malignant brain tumor. Throughout his journey, he never gave up, fought the good fight, and showed us what courage looks like.

Dave was an incredibly caring person with a bright smile and a warm embrace. His boundless energy, positive attitude and love for God touched everyone who knew him. He was an inspirational teacher, who loved his students and cared about each one. He was a coach who had an impact on his players on and off the field. He was a loving husband and a father beyond measure. He was a gifted musician and songwriter, sharing his love of music with so many. This was a man who glowed with the love of Jesus. He was a hero and an inspiration, although he never liked to hear that, always giving the glory of his accomplishments to his Lord.

Dave was born in Aberdeen, WA in 1962 and grew up in College Place and Walla Walla, attending Davis Elementary, Sager Middle School, Garrison Middle School and Walla Walla High School. He was an outstanding athlete, scholar, and student leader. He was involved in student government, basketball, football, Chamber singers, and drama. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English at the University of Puget Sound in 1987, where he played basketball, played in a band, “The Currents,” and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He did his graduate work at Eastern Washington University. He married Michelle Lynn Bond in 1986.

Dave taught at Curtis Junior High and McIllvaigh Middle School in Tacoma. He and his family returned to Walla Walla in 1992, where following in his father’s footsteps, he began teaching and coaching at Walla Walla High School leaving a legacy of love, honor and integrity in all he did. He taught history and English and coached football and basketball at Wa-Hi, and helped create the Conspiracy of Hope annual event. He volunteered his time, coaching Little League baseball, Little League softball, YMCA basketball and AAU basketball. His love of the game and his code of sportsmanship have guided many young athletes. He was an active advocate for youth with disabilities, encouraging opportunities for inclusion and acceptance for all people, coaching Special Olympics and Challenger baseball. He volunteered at CareNet and the Christian Aid Center.

He joins his son, Kyle Douglas Meyer (January 2-27, 1989) in heaven. He is missed by his family: wife, Michelle Meyer, sons, Kenny and Zachary Meyer and little girl, Kate Meyer, his parents Bob and Judy Meyer, his two brothers and their families, Bob, Mindy, Annalee and Caleb Meyer and Greg, Stephanie, Aaron and Micaiah Meyer, his parent-in-law, Carol and Dennis Bond, his sister-in-law and family, Denise, Darren, Jakob, Amy and Lukas Ullmann, his grandparents, Spud Grim and Edith Meyer.

Dave was a man who never knew a stranger, who truly loved the people in his life and never missed an opportunity to show that he cared. His light continues to shine in each person who knew him, especially his children.


The Walla Walla Union Bulletin also did a front page story on Dave, The TriCities Herald did a story on the front page of the local section and the news from Kennewick came and did a news story, interviewing teachers, administrators and students about Dave.

It's so clear to me that I won't be the only one missing him, that he leaves a huge hole for so many.


Union-Bulletin Article:
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

WW coach, teacher dies
David Meyer, remembered as `a kid magnet,' died this morning after a long fight with cancer.

By Sheila Hagar and Luis Gomez of the Union-Bulletin


MEYER
A longtime Walla Walla High School teacher and coach died Tuesday morning after battling cancer.

David Meyer, 42, taught social studies at Wa-Hi since 1992, and coached basketball and football. He participated in various clubs and organizations on campus.

Meyer was involved in and influenced by gospel music and played in a Christian band, Wa-Hi Principal Brian Pendleton said today.

The teacher was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 1996, after a car accident required a head CT scan. He died in his home after valiantly battling his illness, Pendleton said.

``Dave was absolutely a warrior. I couldn't describe him in any other word. This (disease) was absolutely not going to get him down. With every surgery his goal was to get back in the classroom in six to eight weeks,' Pendleton said.

``He was a tremendous man of faith.'

The school district was supportive of Meyer's goal, hiring a long-term substitute teacher to fill in for the ill teacher when he was gone and to be ready to step into the gap on days Meyer's strength would not allow him to finish classes, the principal said.

``He never left the job for good.'

Meyer's dedication was noted by his students, Pendleton said. ``A lot of kids would say to you that they learned how to battle things in life by watching Dave Meyer. He was loved by many, many students.'

Skip Pritchard, associate pastor at College Place Presbyterian Church, had known Meyer for 23 years.

Meyer led the church's worship team and was a favorite among the congregation's children. He also played guitar at the Christian Aid Center and befriended special-needs adults, Pritchard said.


In his journey with brain cancer, done with faith and courage, Meyer taught people how to live, the pastor said. ``He lived his life out loud. This was a remarkable man.'

The Meyer family has chronicled their past year on a Web site called Caring Bridge, a free, online service that allows families to keep people updated during ordeals such as theirs.

``It was a place where everyone could keep updated on his condition, and it was easy to go up and talk to him and ask him about things,' Pendleton said. The site allowed school staff and friends to understand the situation without imposing on the family, he added.

The Walla Walla resident came from a family of educators. His father, Bob, and his mother, Judy, also taught at Walla Walla public schools.

Meyer was homecoming king at Wa-Hi in 1980 and graduated in 1981. He earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Puget Sound.

``This is a tremendous loss to our educational family,' Walla Walla School District Superintendent Rich Carter said in a written statement released Tuesday.

``Dave was a kid magnet who really connected with students. Our district is grieving his passing, but will remember his strength and dedication to education as we welcome students back for a new year.'

Meyer is survived by his wife, Michelle, and children, Kenny, a ninth-grader at Wa-Hi, Zack, an eighth-grader at Pioneer Middle School, and Kaitlyn, a fourth-grader at Berney Elementary School.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder St.