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A Year Without Him


In the last year:

September brought football season, a young man named Meyer in a Blue Devils uniform, pride and tears, support from friends and coaches, a big touchdown! Numbness, shock and a strange kind of adrenaline got us through.

October brought Kenny's 15th birthday, our first family celebration without Dave. Homecoming...Dave, a past Homecoming King, loved Homecoming, would have been so amazed to see Kenny in his tuxedo.Halloween potluck with friends, corn maze, pumpkin guts and trick-or-treating. Dave always dressed up with the kids. Our loss, our grief, is raw and ever-present, overwhelming and unbearable.

November brought Zach's first Cougar game, our first holiday without Dave, a Thanksgiving for which we were not grateful, tearful car trip to Kelso, and Disney on Ice...finding smiles and laughter, and knowing how Dave would have loved it.

December...Kate's dance recital, remembering how he spent the last one in the hospital. Kate, dancing so beautifully, then looking at the flower Dave gave her last year, dried and faded. Christmas, music, family, gifts, a trip to Seaside,a new car, nothing the same, feeling off-kilter. Then Dave's birthday. He would have been 43. Winter outside, winter in our hearts.

January brought Kyle's birthday (he would have been 17) and Kate's 10th birthday. Dave's little girl. Smiling girls on ice, remembering Dave skating or bowling with them in years past. The Conspiracy of Hope concert, ringing with the love that Dave's students have for him. Bringing Duke into our family, his boundless energy and enthusiasm reminding us of Dave, making room in our hearts for new love.

February was full-on basketball, watching Zach look more like his father every day, sailing down the court, leaping, flying. Seeing Dave live on in his son, searching for ways to keep Dave present, with us. Grief, like the tide, rises up, recedes and rises again, in patterns that are sometimes predictable and sometimes make no sense.

March brought Zach's 14th birthday, more basketball and Kenny's Special Olympics ski trip. Dave had a passion and understanding for kids with disabilities, his belief in people knew no restrictions. Special Olympics is an experience that defies words and brings out the best in people. Kate, skiing like a champion, like she'd been doing it her whole life, windblown hair, red cheeks, smiling face, flying down the slopes. Exhilarated, recognizing that some things are still important, that there is still meaning in our lives.

April...spring, rain, baseball. Zach's trip to Washington DC, growing up so fast. Kenny and Kate visit the beach. I have time alone at home. Time to reflect, look within. We find that we're healing, growing, and strong as well as being broken, lost and bereft.

May, learning to work through the days without falling apart, finding things still sneak up on me. A song, buying peanut butter, the unexpected reminders. More baseball, softball, still basketball. Driving a lot. Zach in the hospital on Memorial Day, like Dave was...flashbacks to the summer before, the fear, the hope, the roller coaster. Learning of Doug's death, feeling like the solidity of the earth is just an illusion.

June brought Kate's dance recital again, Kate floating across the stage, beautiful and graceful. Zach's 8th grade graduation...remembering Dave just getting out of the hospital in time for Kenny's last year. Warm weather bringing memories of the year before.

July meant more baseball, more travels. Seeing the Haroldsons, visiting Kyle and Doug's graves. Struggling to integrate what was with what is, weaving memories into our day, sensing some things settling into place, and others shifting. Learning to live in our new world, finding ways to fit, always remembering. days, campfires and smores, scorching sun, more home improvements. Peach Basket with the Haroldsons. The seasons change, the landscape changes, the trees in our yard change. So do we. We've been through the cycles...disbelief, shock, numbness, bargaining, rationalizing, searching, fear, terror, anger, shaken faith, rage, screaming, fighting it, despair, agony, sadness, tears, accepting help, prayers, trusting God, finding hope, speaking truth, and of course, love...always love. Not in that order. Not in a neat, orderly progression, but in fits and starts, here and there, over and over, deeper and deeper.

On August 23, 2005, we were thrust into a new journey. A new life. A life without Dave here.

On August 23, 2006, I can say that we're learning how to travel that path. It's only the beginning. And while it's a journey we did not want, and while we would turn back in a heartbeat, if only we could, we have discovered that as awful as this is, as terrible as it continues to be, there is still much to be grateful for in this life.

In each of these past 12 months, we have learned to move forward, to keep going, even if we didn't want to. We have learned that His strength is shown in our weakness. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, His glory is shown in meeting our needs. We have learned to stay open to joy, to laughter, to love, even when it hurts. Protecting our hearts, hiding from feelings leads not to freedom from pain, but to isolation. We have learned that it's okay to feel many emotions at the same time. We have learned that grief is the price of caring, that the depth of our pain in loss, is but a reflection of the depth of our love. We have learned that there are still things that matter, that are important, and that the most important is our connection to one another. We have learned that honesty is more complicated than it sounds and more valuable than we knew. We have learned that people are incredible, that friends and strangers alike will support, care, step up, that God works through the people in our lives. We have learned that there aren't any easy answers to the big questions, and that perhaps there aren't any answers at all, this side of heaven. And we've learned that that is what faith is all about.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we cannot see."
Hebrews 11:1

And I am certain of Dave's love. A love so huge that its ripples are still echoing on this earth today. A love that is certainly raining down from heaven to us. A love that is steadfast and never falters, never dies. And we know that we love because He first loved us.



  1. Love you...Thinking of all of you constantly...Pray for all of you daily...miss Dave too!

  2. Yes.

    That's it.

    As bad as things can get, there is much to be grateful for in this life.

    And today we are very grateful.

    Thinking of you today, all the way from Memphis.

  3. Thinking of you today and everyday Shell. Another beautiful tribute to dave and to FAMILY. The strength and love you show to the world as you walk this path is incredible. You have taught so many how to walk it, so many how to survive it. You have been an amazing example to Kenny, Zach and Kate here on earth as Dave went to be with Kyle in heaven. Many prayers and good thoughts as you keep on surviving and walking and Living knowing Dave and Kyle are always with you.

  4. I thought of you right away this morning. A year filled with grief, sadness, loneliness but yet with so many new memories and so much love.
    You have helped so many of us out who are traveling the same path.
    I think of you so often....especially today.

    Love and hugs~Kari

  5. Yes Michelle, you have so many thinking of you today. It has been a very long year and in turn has been so very short. You have taught me so very much this last year plus. I hope you know how very much you and the kids are loved. God Bless you and know your being prayed for by so many today and everyday.

  6. Michelle,
    A year without him...
    However, as I viewed your beautiful slide show, it was very evident Dave was with you every step of the way....on the field, on the court, on the slopes, on the dance floor, amongst friends, and perched proud on a certain ROCK. He shines from within each of you, so deep, so reflective. I was so overcome with love and heartfelt emotion as I watched the slideshow.
    Please know you're in my thoughts today and everyday day.
    Kindest Regards and LOVE to you,
    Becky Betts

  7. Michelle, you and the kids are in my thoughts and prayers today, as you are every day. I can't believe it has already been a year. You have taught all of us so much this past year, we're all greatful for you sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. You are such a special person, much love to you, Kenny, Zach and Kate.

    Jennifer McHenry

  8. To laugh often and much;
    to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
    to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
    to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
    to leave the world a bit better
    whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
    to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Celebrating Dave's well lived life with you today - and celebrating that you all, the Meyer family, are continuing to life a successful life, through the tears, embracing joy, carrying through faith...just living.

    Hugs to you all from So. California on your sadiversary,


  9. Sending love your way today.The Huwe's

  10. Michelle,

    You don't know me. I stumbled on your site months ago shortly after my husband, David, was diagnosed with a GBM in 3/06. You ARE an amazing woman and mother. You've been in my thoughts on the 23rd of each month as you approach this Aug. 23rd. I just wanted to let you know that I feel your pain, remark at your strength and faith, and lift you in healing thoughts. I especially have you in my thoughts tonight.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. You have been in my thoughts today! (sorry is this is a double post.....I am new at this.)

  13. My dear friend ,

    You've been in my heart and thoughts all day. Now the day is've made it. It's been amazing and inspiring to watch you navigate this new world that was thrust upon you. You've done good Michelle, and you will continue to do good. Day by day, one foot in front of the other. Sometimes forward, sometimes not. But always, with love. Yes, there is always love. Love never dies.
    Thank you my friend, for showing the way.
    Love you,
    your city mouse friend

  14. Hello, Michelle,
    I watched your year in pictures today. Thanks so much for sharing your family with me. I waited and waited to see what little Duke looked like now and was glad to see a picture of BIG Duke near the end of the pictures!! A "small world" occurance to share with you: I ordered flowers by phone for my daughter, Allison, in Seattle from Peter's Flowers and found myself talking to a cousin of yours who works there! She said, "I have a cousin who lives in Walla Walla" and I said, "Who is your cousin?" and the rest of the conversation fell into place! It certainly is a small world after all! My best to you, your handsome boys and your Kate. Oh,yes, Duke, too. WWWendye


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