Skip to main content

4 years

Official video here, with Matthew West's story.

(Written August 23, 2009)

Four years ago I awoke to Dave's last breath.
To questions that had no answers
in my little girl's eyes.

And I knew that my world was broken
beyond repair.
That the rift in my heart
would remain.

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.
Marcel Proust

Grief is like that.
Sometimes, I can put it away.
In my pocket.
Out of sight.

But like a child,
it will not be ignored for long.
It squirms and pokes
and demands my focus.

And if I persist
in pretending it's gone,
it will rise up,
in a giant wave
and sweep away everything.

Everything but the
of a wounded soul.

I find that the more it becomes
part of me,
the more I allow

the more whole I become.
So I make friends with it.

This force that has
shaken me,
and my children.

It becomes part of
the way I think.
The way I talk.
The way I love.

I imagine that I can
run my fingers along the
scar in my heart.

Is it smaller?
Perhaps not.

Is it more solid?
I believe so.

This scar,
this hurt
has become part of what
holds me together.

Is that healing?
I don't know.

It is change.
I know that.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature ~ the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
Rachel Carson

The rhythms of life.
Things come and go.
And come back again.

Four years ago,
Kenny was beginning high school.
Now he's graduated.

School years start.
Homework gets done.
Dinners get fixed.
Dishes get washed.

Football teams play.
Dancers glide.
Candles are blown out.

Leaves bud,
change their color,
dry and fall.

I watch the moon
steadily change
wax and wane.

I watch my children
steadily change
learning who they are
forging their own ways
becoming who they were meant to be.

And I know that I
change, too.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another!
Anatole France

And so it is.
Each change,
joyful and celebrated,
brings a bit of melancholy, too.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
C.S. Lewis

And so we keep moving
I wonder often
what Dave would think
of the changes we've made.

And how he might be now.
Were he here,
living these
changes with us.
What about him would
be different
from the memories we have,
from the person he was?

Each day, life will send you little windows of opportunity. Your destiny will ultimately be defined by how you respond to these windows of opportunity. Shrink from them and your life will be small, feel the fear and run to them anyway, and you life will be big. Life's just too short to play little.
Robin Sharma

Like my dad says,
Go big or go home.

I'll leave you with a new Dave story from a friend (I didn't ask her if I could post it, so I'll leave her out her name.) It's a story I never heard before.

I have been meaning to write you, I had been thinking so strongly of you and of this time of year. I don't know if I ever told you, but I went for a walk one evening when [my baby] was 5 days old (four years ago) on August 23rd. I ended up being harassed by some young guys who thought they were funny, and rang the doorbell of a lady who happened to be a single mom of three teenage boys. They were trying to eat dinner, but they boys were obviously crying. I tried to exit gracefully, and said I was sorry to bother her. She said it was okay, but that the boys lost someone very special that day - that would be Dave.

I never met your husband, and I never got the lady's name, who ended up being an angel and drove me home even though she was crying herself. I just remember thinking so strongly what an amazing soul he must have been to have those three big boys in tears.

And last night, I found the letter from Clinton Zahl, where he tells the story of the most important thing he learned in high school. He was leaning against the railing, outside the portables, watching people walk by. Dave joined him for a bit. Then said, "Clinton, what do you see?" And Clinton said, "People. Some I know, some I don't know. Some I wish I didn't know." And Dave said, "No Clinton, what you see are all children of God."

Thank you J and Clinton, for giving me those little bits of Dave to hold in my heart.

I think this song is about Dave.
And maybe, someday,
about me, too.

Matthew West - The Motions
From the album Something To Say

This might hurt
It's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care If I break

At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just ok
Is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions

No regrets
Not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love
Make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something

Take me all the way
Take me all the way
Take me all the way


  1. Thank you for sharing what you were going thru at this time 4 years ago. At this time 4 years ago I was ending my treatments - crazy isn't it? Will be praying for you and your family today :)

    Was hoping to make another trip to Walla Walla this year, but have decided to stay home. The next time we do go, I would like to meet you!

  2. Hugs to you, mama Meyer.

    And much love. I think Dave would be proud.

  3. Beautiful, perfectly put, as always. I am in awe of how you put words to feelings Shell. Love ya, -Deb


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


I got a tattoo.  Christine actually wrote on my facebook post, "You??"
Yeah.  Me.

I've been thinking about it for six years.
I finally decided that if after six years, I still wanted it, maybe it was time.

The writing is Dave and Doug's.
Taken from notes they wrote me.
They always signed their notes the same way.

I thought I was doing it in memory of them.
To mark the way they are always on my heart.
To have a visible reminder.
A permanent keepsake,
always with me.

And while it is that.
It is also more.

I didn't realize it,
until afterwards.

It's a marker.
A closing of a chapter.
Closure, if you will.

I don't know how to explain it.
The minute it was finished,
I knew.
I knew something inside me was different.

and to a lesser extent,
have been part of my every thought
every day
for over 10 years.

Daryl saw the Dali Lama this summer.
One thing he learned:
Interrogate your truth.

I've been thinking about that a lot.

Interrogate implies a…


So I had my first Walla Walla goodbyes.
The first was my eye doctor, Dr. Poffenroth.
He's taken care of my eyes for 25 years.
He's more than just an eye doctor.  He's a caring person and a friend.
As I left my last appointment, he handed me a card with a referral to a friend of his who practices in Port Angeles.
I looked at the card.
And realized...I won't see him again.

I've been living in a bit of denial.
I know.  Big surprise.

With all the excitement and chaos of moving,
And all the stress of living in limbo,
I somehow missed that I'd be leaving some things
some people

I know I'll be back often.
To see my kids and the new grandbaby,
friends and family.
This fact allowed me to forget...
there are some I won't see.

Even though we promise to keep in touch,
Life has a way of getting busy.
Good intentions and all that.

I  have written many times about Walla Walla.
It's a magical place.
Safe, nurturing.
I never thought I'd leave.

People ask…

August Blog Challenge - Day 7

What is your dream job and why?

I have my dream job.  I really do.

I work at Walla Walla Community College.  It's the best community college in the nation according to the Aspen Institute.

And it is. It really is.

I went to a private university.  A pretty snobby, pretentious one. I thought the community college would somehow be "less" than a university.

I was so wrong.

This place is filled with dynamic, passionate, intelligent people.  And these people care so much about the students they serve. I am continually awed by the caliber of learning and the depth of compassion I see every day.

And I get to be a part of it.

The work I do is hard. But I have a partner.  Daryl.  He's my sanity.  He keeps me grounded.  He's brilliant and insightful and he fills my work days with unconditional love.  We support each other. We talk and connect every day, sustaining each other in ways that go far beyond the surface.  We grow together as people and as therapists.  We fight b…