One year ago today my husband lost his only brother Dave. One year ago today we were in Virginia having the worst moments of our lives.
Dave had been sick for a few years, but we still thought we had more time. Even though he had been living with cancer, his death was still sudden to us. That initial shock didn't wear off for months.
I don't know what to say about grief. I will not craft a sentence here that will ring of loss or of healing. It's all so complicated and so individual. My family of in-laws has shown tremendous strength and leadership in the last twelve months. Still, I cannot coherently say much about what this year has brought, other than time marches on and our family will never be the same.
One of the most inspiring things about the last year has been hearing all the stories about the way Dave influenced lives. He touched so many people - hundreds, thousands - and in the wake of his loss many have shared both small and huge stories about Dave and the impact he had on his community. On facebook, at the candlelight vigil, at the party held in his honor last November, when people speak of Dave, it is with the knowledge that his absence leaves a gaping hole in the world. (You can read more about Dave’s legacy in this article from the Washington Post.)
This week is full of remembering. At the large high school where he was principal, Robyn and their three children presented scholarships in Dave’s name to six students who “embody Dave’s spirit of making a difference to others and persist in the face of adversity.” They also gave a special graduation gift to a student who put a special amount of hard work towards keeping Dave's legacy. I know some of you contributed to that scholarship fund, and that you have been so supportive of our family. Thank you for that.
Along with their scholarships, Robyn and the kids gave the students a copy of The Power of One, Dave’s favorite book. In front of the school, the graduating class painted the rocks in his memory, and many still don ribbons and bracelets and car decals in his honor.
Not that it was ever in question, but his students, faculty, and family have made sure that he will never be forgotten. It would be impossible.