Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cry Out To Jesus

Saturday, October 29, 2005 12:03 AM CDT

New photos today, October 29, 2005. Both on the caringbridge site photo page and at the Yahoo photo link...click on the Halloween 05 album.


Cry Out to Jesus
by Third Day

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

When you're lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who struggles with being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

Monday, October 24, 2005

Anger

Monday, October 24, 2005 3:17 AM CDT

I need to find some time to write.

After the numbness of denial, and the outcry that is bargaining...anger is the next phase. I've been there. Off and on for a week or so. It's a hard phase to write about. Especially when I'm mad at everyone and no-one. Nobody wins, no matter what they say. Alex knows what I mean. It's hard to explain. It's this feeling that...well, one part of my brain says, "Shell, if you're mad at EVERYONE, perhaps the common denominator is YOU." And the other part of my brain says, "So what's your point?" It's like when we were going through the diagnosis process with Kenny. I'd call my mom and say, "Gosh, I'm really worried about Kenny. (Insert example of odd Kenny behavior here)." And if Mom said, "Honey, I think you're doing this right, you should go get it checked, you're such an aware, thoughtful mom." I'd seethe..."How can she even imply there's something wrong with my child." If however, she said, "Honey, Kenny is wonderful, he's perfect, just yesterday you were telling me how smart he was with that puzzle, I'm sure he's fine, all moms worry." I'd jump all over that..."Don't you take my concerns seriously? Aren't you listening at all??" Z and I were talking about that wounded animal reaction, that feeling of irrational, defensive, protective rage that can be triggered by the smallest of things. It's funny how I can sit outside myself and say, yep, this is exactly what you'd expect...and still have it consume me. Unfortunately, awareness doesn't give us an avenue around the pain. Hopefully an understanding of what it is and how to walk through it. But no free passes.

An example.

On an internet listserve I belong to (one devoted to parenting-not the brain tumor ones), about a week and a half ago...women were complaining about their husbands. Oh, they leave wet towels on the floor and the toilet seat up and don't change a diaper right and whine if their wives go out to a movie. I want to scream at them. I really do. I want to shriek and throw things that break loudly. Don't they know how lucky they are to have their husbands there?? I'd give anything to have Dave here to leave a wet towel on the floor.

Not really a good example, since Dave never did any of those things that were listed...but I'll give you this one. Last week, after a particularly rotten day, when 20 or 30 things went wrong before noon and I thought I was going to have to call a taxi to get Z to the doctor because all those people who say, call me if I can do anything, couldn't....the garbage disposal backed up. I stood in my kitchen and cried. I felt abandoned. And I wanted to yell, "Dave, where are you?" Which is actually kind of funny, because Dave is the last person on earth who would have a clue about how to fix a garbage disposal. But I would have given anything to have him standing there in the kitchen, with that perplexed look on his face, holding a screwdriver in one hand, shrugging with the other, being absolutely no help at all, saying, "Hon, I don't exactly know what you expect me to do...I'll take a look at it, but you'd better call my dad."

Luckily, Cindy came by, called Mike and he bailed me out of a truckload of spaghetti stuck in the drain. And Tiffany got Z to the doctor-thank you, Timm! His quad appears to have a tear, so he'll be out for a few weeks. Didn't get to play in the big final game against cross-town rivals at Garrison. (We won!) This injury did happen on a td run against Richland, though, so as Z says, "At least I got the 6 points!" Z's season is over. Tiffany and I both got teary when, after the game, the PiHi and Garrison players all took a knee around their coaches in the center of the field then raised their helmets together and shouted "WaHi!" They'll all be together next year. Basketball starts Monday. Z wasn't going to play school ball or AAU, but something happened over the weekend. Q, Jake and Paul were here overnight, boy town was fun, but man, they can pack away a LOT of food! (Thanks Deb, for keeping the late hours with me and for caring.) Anyway, now Z wants to play. I don't know what changed his mind overnight, but I'm glad. He seems to do better overall when he's in a sport. Pray for protection for him as he plays; he's gotta learn to hear pain as his body's message to stop!

Kenny has two more weeks of football left. We had his IEP last week. Another first without Dave. Things are going well for him at WaHi, and it seems that most of the programming that's in place for him is a good fit. He wants to play basketball again this year.

Kate is fighting a cold, but having fun with dance, choir and school dance team. She's thinking of dropping Explorers (her TAG program), she loves the program, loves the challenge, but feels unsettled spending that time outside the regular classroom, I think she's yearning for a home base and some stability. We're all meeting about it tomorrow. Please pray that we'll make the right decisions to support her best. I'd hate for her to lose the academic challenges and opportunities that Explorers provides, but her emotional well-being has to take priority.

Had a nice brunch with Bob and Judy today, thank you. Then we went to the farm to carve pumpkins and eat along with our church family. It was so good to be there. I'm up most nights and have been having a hard time getting up on weekends, so it was good to have an afternoon event. Wish Dave had been there...he never minded pumpkin slime. I hate it.

Anyway, back to the original story. If you are lucky enough to have your husband today, nag him a little less, appreciate what he does well, be grateful for him, and hug him once for me, okay?

More about anger later. I managed to skirt the big stuff in this entry, it will come when it's time. Shelley

PS. Thanks, Alex and Lisa...for being there during a very tough, lonely week, for not forgetting that for me, it's not over. It's just beginning.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Escape

Saturday, October 22, 2005 7:56 PM CDT


"Be My Escape"
Relient K

I’ve given up on giving up slowly, I’m blending in so
You won’t even know me apart from this whole world that shares my fate
This one last bullet you mention is my one last shot at redemption
because I know to live you must give your life away
And I’ve been housing all this doubt and insecurity and
I’ve been locked inside that house all the while You hold the key
And I’ve been dying to get out and that might be the death of me
And even though, there’s no way in knowing where to go, promise I’m going because
I gotta get outta here
I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake
I gotta get outta here
And I’m begging You, I’m begging You, I’m begging You to be my escape.

I’m giving up on doing this alone now
Cause I’ve failed and I’m ready to be shown how
He’s told me the way and I’m trying to get there
And this life sentence that I’m serving
I admit that I’m every bit deserving
But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair

Cause I’ve been housing all this doubt and insecurity and
I’ve been locked inside that house all the while You hold the key
And I’ve been dying to get out and that might be the death of me
And even though, there’s no way in knowing where to go, promise I’m going because
I gotta get outta here
Cause I’m afraid that this complacency is something I can’t shake
I gotta get outta here
And I’m begging You, I’m begging You, I’m begging You to be my escape.

I am a hostage to my own humanity
Self detained and forced to live in this mess I’ve made
And all I’m asking is for You to do what You can with me
But I can’t ask You to give what You already gave

Cause I’ve been housing all this doubt and insecurity and
I’ve been locked inside that house all the while you hold the key
And I’ve been dying to get out and that might be the death of me
And even though, there’s no way in knowing where to go, promise I’m going because
I’ve gotta get outta here
I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake
I’ve gotta get outta here
And I’m begging You, I’m begging You, I’m begging
You to be my escape.

I fought You for so long
I should have let You in
Oh how we regret those things we do
And all I was trying to do was save my own skin
But so were You

So were You

Friday, October 21, 2005

Computer Problems

Monday, March 21, 2005 10:38 PM CST

Will be offline for a while, computer problems. If you'd like to check out more Disney photos, you can go to: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/shibelle007/my_photos and click on the album called Disney 2.

Dave will start thalidomide soon. He had to fill out a million papers and forms (and we all know how he LOVES that!)

Hope to be online soon with photos of Zach's b-ball tourney and baseball games. Kate will be in the talent show tomorrow and we'll hope for pics of that, too.

Love to all, Shelley

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Business and Prayer

Thursday, October 20, 2005 5:36 PM CDT

Lots of emotional stuff to write, will update those issues tonight, I think....

But on the business end:

1. DVD's of the service, which include the heartfelt songs that Erik and Mark wrote and sang for Dave, the worship songs that Dave loved sung by Jeffrey, Patrice and Shane, Amazing Grace led by Hannah, and Forever with the children doing the hand motions, and of course, the magical picture and music show pulled together by Jeffrey...will be available soon. It costs Jeffrey about $8 in supplies to make each DVD.

We'd like to have an idea of how many we'll be needing, so if you want one, please let me know ASAP. If you can afford the $8, you can get that to me. If you can't, and want one, there has been a donation to help out in those situations.

A huge thank you to Jeffrey. He's done so much for us. The time and energy and love he has put into this project is a reflection of the love he and Dave had for one another and for their Lord. It's truly awe-inspiring.

2. As far as donations, an update for you all. The Big Blue Booster Dave Meyer Memorial Scholarship Fund is over $2000. This fund will benefit students at WaHi. The Dave Meyer Children Educational Trust is over $9000. Jim Hayner helped us structure that fund so that it would be protected and used only for the children's educational expenses. People have been incredibly generous and we are so grateful.

Thank you all. S

PS. Please pray for some of the BT wives and their husbands:

Kari, link above for Kevin Terry...Kevin is really fighting, struggling, they just got bad news on the last MRI.

Cathy, my dancing friend on the 58th floor, her husband Lou is on a new trial.

Cheri, my cheerleader mom friend in CA, her husband is on a new chemo. I'll ask her if I can post Fred's site here. Site is above: Fred Schappert.

These are valiant women, standing beside the men they love, living life in the trenches of this battle every day, raising children, researching treatments, caring for their families, and keeping hope alive, and yet still finding time, energy and love enough to support me. Join me in praying for them and their famiies. Pray for a cure...we can't lose one more father, son, brother, husband to this disease.

(later)
Too late. I got on the list tonight, it's 12:45 or so, and found out that a man named David died day before yesterday. I don't know him or his family well, just talked with his wife a few times, as they seemed to be walking just a few steps behind us for the past few months. David was 38. His children are 7 and 5. He never gave up hope and used his situation to reach out to others. Sound familiar? Too familiar. It has to stop. My prayers go out to his wife, Felicia, tonight.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Grief, Revealed

Saturday, October 8, 2005 12:01 AM CDT

Whew! Well that little entry created quite a flurry, didn't it? LOL. Well, I guess most of you don't know how much of a flurry, because you don't get the private e-mails. Side bar....it would be good for those e-mails to go public. Grief, this journey through an alien, barren landscape, is universal. Most have walked a similar path. Each path is different, but there are commonalities in our experiences, threads as Jeffrey calls them, echoes...my feelings, my thoughts echoed in someone else's story. Some choose not to share or to share with a select few. Their right, their call, their decision. But I do know that the sharing of these stories brings understanding, brings connection to others, and opens the way for God to be present. "Whenever two or more are gathered"....we cannot do this alone.

So that is a part of the reason that I share, that connection, touching that universal archetype within us all. It's not the most important reason. This journal, which began as a way to convey information, grew into the story of an incredibly loving and courageous man and how powerfully he touched the people around him. It has changed again, into the story of my heart. It is a way for me to preserve these days, these feelings, these stories for my children. As they grow, they will want to remember. This is a way for them to know what happened, a way for them to recall what it was like.

Every day, I consider taking it off the web, making it something private, for my children. So far, I haven’t felt the need to do that. The responses I receive indicate that this journal touches a nerve for many, that it gives people a way to not only offer caring to us, but to further examine some of these issues in their own lives, their own relationships, to stop and remember what is of real value. It’s a small echo of Dave. Every day he shared himself with his students, his friends, his family. He was real with what was happening, the good and the bad. He always found a way to direct our eyes and our hearts toward God. God is the river, Dave is the rock, this journal is the ripples across the surface of the water.

In this effort, I strive for honesty above all else. It is tempting to "pretty up" the pictures, to gloss over the hard parts, to focus on the beauty. Our culture expects that. In some ways, we expect ourselves to be less than human. There cannot be full love without the risk of searing pain. A person like Dave, in life, gave so very much. It makes sense that there is a huge wound now that he's gone.

As a therapist and psychologist, I find people’s responses to that pain interesting, fascinating. As a person, I find some responses comforting and some less so. But all are made in love, and I feel that. Some are quick to assure me that what I feel is normal. Some resonate with what I’m feeling. Some are made anxious by it. Some draw parallels to their own experiences. Some pray for me. Some make assumptions. Some are frightened for me. Some are probably frightened BY me, although no-one's said that yet! Some offer advice or books. Some search for meaning. Some have encouraged me to not apologize for my anger. I don’t feel apologetic for feeling. Emotions are what make us human, all emotions. Some want to take away my pain or ease my burden, and realize that they can’t; that in most respects, the work of this journey is left for me to do. I can reach out for support and help, and I do. I’m not laboring under the delusion that I have to do this alone. I can’t. The work is mine, only I can do it, but I have support in doing that work. Some clearly think that I have lost my mind, and are worried about me. I’m okay, really. Really. I’m okay, in the way a woman in labor is okay.

When a woman gives birth, it hurts. It’s painful. It’s scary, especially if it’s the first time. She can get help and support and comfort from those around her, but the real work only she can accomplish. It’s exhausting and all-consuming. There are times when she feels like she simply can’t do this another minute. Sometimes she screams or cries or gets a wild look in her eye. Sometimes she says, “Just make it stop. I can’t do this anymore.” Those around her feel helpless and frantic. Then she reaches deep within herself, finds that reserve, holds her husband’s hand and musters the energy to move things one step further. This cycle can happen over and over again. And in the end, she’s got a gift beyond all measure, a sense of relief, and immense pride in herself.

The analogy is imperfect, as all analogies are. For one, there is no epidural for loss! The tunnel of grief is longer and more convoluted. Knowing when you’ve reached the “end” is impossible. The rewards are less tangible. The reasons less clear. But all-in-all, the gist holds. It’s a labor of love. And it’s perfectly natural and perfectly ordinary, and astoundingly miraculous and extraordinary all in one.

We tend, as a culture, to shy away from the hard parts, the ugly parts, the less than perfect moments. In movies, the laboring mom, with perfect make-up, hollers a little, her husband wipes her brow, and “Oh, it’s a boy!” and there are beautiful smiles. Most moms kind of roll their eyes, knowing what the reality for most is truly like.

Our culture glosses over reality. We are uncomfortable with pain. We teach it early. We pick up babies who fall and say, “There, there, it’s okay.” Nope. It’s not okay. They hurt. How much more real, more validating would it be if we could say, “Oh, that hurt. I’m right here.” We want to stop two year olds from feeling angry. How much better if we can acknowledge their anger, their burgeoning sense of self, and help them learn to use the power in their feelings positively instead of telling them not to feel it. We have trouble when our children feel sad. We numb them with tv. We fix them with cookies. We tell our teenagers they are over-reacting when they pout or seethe or express angst over their friendships and the state of the world. We laugh at their “drama” and call them moody. As a people, we generally do a lousy job of being able to tolerate hurt and anger and pain and grief….the whole “negative” spectrum of human emotion. We want to fix it immediately, and make it all better. And while it’s important that we are making progress, that we aren’t stuck, it’s just as essential not to skip over the steps…the denial, the bargaining, the anger, the sadness….these are essential before the acceptance. These are cyclical; they return in a spiral, we revisit old stages at new levels over time.

My hope is to teach my children about this spiral. To allow them their feelings, all of them. To let them know that joy and pain are simply two sides of the same coin. That in truly experiencing the joy of life, they will be open to the hurt. They will have to risk in order to fully love. And to learn that the risk is worth it. And to learn that the biggest gift we can give to someone who hurts is to walk with them, to allow them to feel, allow them to express. And to do the same in times of joy and celebration. And to allow others to do this for you. This is friendship. This is love. This is a gift from their father, who loved without any reservation about the risk. Every time. A man who was unafraid to love. A man who was unafraid to cry. A man who was unafraid to stand up for the ideas and people and the God he believed in.

Missy said something very profound at the game yesterday. She shared about a man who said that time doesn't really change anything, or heal anything, we just learn to carry the burden differently. That resonated with me. After almost 17 years, Kyle's death is still there, the hole still the same, the hurt as deep and as piercing as it was that first day, but I have learned to live with it, around it, through it. I carry it differently than I did.

Now there is new learning to do. Thank you all, for listening, for caring, and for walking with me as I learn a new thing...or maybe it's an old thing in a new way...again.

Love, Shelley

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Falling Apart

Thursday, October 6, 2005 1:56 AM CDT

This is awful.
It's worse than I could have imagined.
It's simply indescribable.

I'm falling apart. I can't do this anymore. We're a mess. A mess. I can't think. I can't feel. I can't see.

Kenny had his 15th birthday. Dave's not here. How can that be?

Homecoming, spirit week, football...the things he loved, and he's not here.

I guess the numbness is lifting.

We're struggling. There just isn't room for anything but this grief, this empty feeling. People don't understand. They've already adjusted. Gone on. Kenny, Zach, Kate and I are on hold. Waiting for something that will never come. Trying to grasp that. Living in a world we no longer recognize. A landscape where emotion swirls past us and through us, overwhelming us, making us feel no longer part of anything.

The resilience of children is a gift and a curse. Middle school is the worst. Some of Zach's friends have accused him of being moody and mean and unpredictable. Gee, I wonder why. (For his part, he does admit to being mean, in particular when pushed to talk about things he doesn't want to talk about, and saying some things he regrets...we spent a lot of time on alternatives....) People can't understand. They don't grasp it. I don't think I grasp it. They're back to normal. We're not. We'll never be. There's this huge hole inside of us, and it SCREAMS all the time. All the time. Most of the time I manage it, most of the time the kids do, too. That in itself is a miracle.

I guess I just feel crazy, insane, inside. And I'm pretending to be normal, like a real person. The edges are blurred. The line between real and unreal wavers and falters. I no longer feel sure of anything. I am adrift, without my anchor. Without a place to stand. Without a place to belong.

And I'm angry, too. Angry that we have to face this, that we have to find a way through it. Angry that there are people who don't understand. Angry that horrible people keep living when Dave is dead. Angry that there are people who don't appreciate what they have. Angry at God. Angry that homework and dishes and laundry still have to be done. Angry that Osama Bin Laden didn't get a brain tumor instead of Dave.

There are so many pictures that fly through my mind.

Some of Dave. His smile. His laugh. The spring in his step. His voice. Then...the horrible ones come...him trying so hard to eat...laughing at himself when he fell, trying to make light of something so ominous...clenching his teeth against the suction machine...mouthing words with no voice...whispering "I'm sorry" ...telling his dad after the seizure..."I'm glad it's me and not you." And Bob saying, "You don't know how many times I've prayed the opposite." And Dave saying, "Yes, I do." Before long, I have to force my mind away.

I drift to pictures of other people...

Calling Zach home from Idaho on Saturday, telling him he needed to be here. Seeing his face, when he saw how much worse his dad was in just a few days. Watching the realization dawn.

Kenny, always so frank, "I just see the life going out of him."

Kate, sitting with me on the hallway floor on Friday, asking, "WHEN is Daddy going to get better this time?" Deep breath, "Honey, I'm not sure he's going to." Momentary silence, holding her breath. Then the wall came up. "Oh," she says, "Can I still go to Katie's sleep over?" Me, terrified that she wouldn't face it, she was refusing to see what she saw.

Then Zach came home. And Kate let herself feel. She was waiting for him. Deb came over. We took turns, holding the kids, talking with them, giving them time with Dave, walking through it, answering questions, telling them what they needed to hear, knowing they'd remember this forever. It was such hard work. At the time, I couldn't have imagined anything harder.

The night before Dave died, the boys went to bed. Kate wouldn't. She wouldn't settle, wouldn't lay down, wouldn't budge. Finally, I'm exasperated. "You've GOT to get some sleep!" I shout. "But, Mom, I just want every minute with him I can have." I relent. Dave was running a fever, so we put a cool cloth on his head, rubbed his head and neck, put down the sides of the bed so we could snuggle him. We lit the unity candle from our wedding. And Kate talked.

Mommy, what happens to your body when you die?
Mommy, what is heaven like?
Do animals go there?
Why do people get cancer?
Why doesn't God answer every prayer?
What will happen when Daddy dies?
Why can't we call 911?
Why can't they give him different medicine?
How can it be Christmas if Daddy isn't here?
Will I always remember him?
Does God hear me?

And a million other questions. We talked until 4:00 am. Talked and talked and loved Dave. We read to him from his bible, we played his favorite music. Finally, her eyes were so heavy. I said, "Baby, it's okay to rest." She said, "Mama, will you watch him?" "Yes, I'll watch him." "Mama, will you wake me?" "Yes, if anything changes, I'll wake you."

She laid down on the couch. I laid on the floor, between the couch and Dave's bed. We slept. I woke at 6:00 am. Dave's breathing was so shallow, his heart rate so fast. He was hot with fever, so I stroked his head, cooled him down, talked to him a bit. Knew it was close. Tried to stay awake, but slept.

At 8:00 am, Kate jumped up and bolted from the couch, leaping over me. She ran to Dave, put her hands on his head and said, "Mommy, is he breathing?" Adrenaline was rushing through my body, I put my hand on his chest, thought I felt a faint breath, put my hand on his throat, maybe a flutter of a pulse, he was still so hot. Then another slight movement of his chest, then nothing.

It wasn't scary, it wasn't painful, it was quiet, and peaceful. And awful, this horrible, insidious slipping away.

I would have missed it. But Kate knew. Jim said that Dave must have nudged her on his way by. Somehow she knew.

The unity candle was folding in on itself. I blew it out. She and I spent some time with Dave, crying, talking. Then we woke Zach. We had some more time together, then Kenny came in from the motor home. We had some more time with just us. The four of us, together with Dave, riding that first wave of grief. The shock, the intensity, the finality. Then a bit of calm.

And my sister and her family came downstairs. The first wave for them. Kenny, Zach and Kate were in a calm state, and were able to hug and comfort their cousins. At one point, Amy was sitting on my mom's lap, crying and crying. Zach watched for a minute, then picked her up, held her to his chest and rocked her until she calmed. Just as he later did at the service. Such a tender moment. Darren, wearing Dave's shirt, hugging Kenny. Jake's blue, blue eyes, full of tears.

We held each other, we cried. Eventually we made phone calls. Ron made the announcement at Cordiner Hall, where all district staff were assembled.

We bathed Dave, annointed him with oil, dressed him in his new Blue Devil football shirt, his coaching whistle and his Goofy hat. Then we prayed.

Later, when the funeral home came to take Dave's body, the children were all at the foot of the stairs, sure they didn't want to be present when that happened, but wanting to be close by. As we wheeled Dave out, I looked down the stairs, the kids were all intertwined, tangled together, holding onto one another, a dozen eyes watching as one. I knew then, they'd be able to count on each other. The worst had happened, and they were making it through, leaning on each other.

I'm not sure why I'm telling this story. Maybe to try to reconnect with that feeling I had that day. The feeling that somehow, some way, it would be okay again. I've lost that feeling now.

Please pray for me. Love, Shelley

PS. Also, please pray for my friend. God knows who she is and what she needs.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Kenny's Birthday

Monday, October 3, 2005 11:05 AM CDT

****NEW PHOTOS OF KENNY'S BIRTHDAY ON THE YAHOO SITE--SEE LINK ABOVE****

Life is rolling along.

Football. Football is good. Got a pic of Kenny and Matt, I’ll scan it in, it’s worth a thousand words.

The WaHi Journal did a big article on Dave, with the famous Greg Lehman photo of Dave and Kate on the front page. There was a picture of Dave and Zach on the back page. Kenny was sad that there wasn't a picture of him and his dad, especially since he is the WaHi student. It was a loving tribute and included a lot of letters about and to Dave.

I’m going to post another letter here. This is a letter that I found in Dave’s wallet. He carried it for quite some time. It’s folded, dog-eared, and worn, and notes are written all over the outside of the paper. It was obviously important to Dave, something he read many times over. Inside:

Dear Mr. Meyer,
I’m sitting here, thinking about what to write. There’s so many things I want to say to you. At the beginning of the year you told us, well asked us, if we could meet anyone in the world, who would it be. Well, to tell you the truth, I met that man my freshman year. He’s you. You are probably one of the most brave, caring, strong, and inspiring men I’ve ever met. No matter how much you hurt, how tired you were, you always had a smile on your face. You’ve taught me to be a better, care-free person. To not take anything for granted because it could all be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. I will be proud if I grow up to be half the man you are. I won’t lose hope. Since you first told us about your tumor coming back, I kept telling myself, “God, please carry him through our graduation, and far beyond.” I’m still praying for you, every day. I fell closer to you, more than any teacher I’ve ever had. This is probably the hardest letter I’ve ever had to write. Everything happens for a reason, right? I just wish pain wouldn’t come without a reason. I love you, Mr. Meyer. My prayers and thoughts are with you.
Love always,
A

I don’t have his permission to post this, so I’ll just put his initial. Obviously, a fabulous kid. Now in college. Thanks, A, for telling Dave. Thanks for telling him when he was still here, able to feel it. I know he treasured your words, as he treasured you.

We had Kenny’s family birthday party on Saturday. We went bowling. The kids were doing the Fred Flintstone bowling style, in honor of Dave. It was fun, but like Kenny said that night. “It was different, it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t as good.” Kenny always seems to hit that nail square on the head, doesn’t he?

Kendra and the church youth group threw Kenny a surprise party last night. He was thrilled beyond belief. They had cake and decorations and a Miami Dolphins piƱata and music and presents and cards. Wow. What great people. And, Kendra, you’re a gem. Thank you so much.