December 25, 2012: In Memory Of Dale

This Christmas began like any other. I woke up and got dressed. I drove to my parents house. When I arrived, my mother was in the kitchen working on Christmas dinner, my sister and her daughter were upstairs as always, and my dad was at the airport picking up my brother. Shortly after I arrived my dad came in the door and asked me to move my car so that he could pull his into the garage. As I went outside I saw my brother. He was on the phone pacing back and forth on the sidewalk. My dad said, “I think your brother may have some bad news.” A million thoughts ran through my head but never the one that he would come into the house and announce. “Dale died this morning.”, he said. The pain on his face was unbearable. I love my big brother with all my heart and to see him hurt and breaking also hurts and breaks me. Dale was his best friend of 20 years. I had known him for the last five. Dale was definitely a light in my brother’s life. He saw him through many rough patches and vice versa. Dale was funny, smart, caring, kind, and quirky. He sadly left behind a daughter and a granddaughter. It was unbearable to listen to my brother’s phone call to them.

My brother wrote this poem in the following days of his best friends unexpected death and I would like to share it.

I’m not ready to let you go, though I know I have no choice
I can still see your smile, I can still hear your voice
How do I begin to ease the pain in my heart?
Where do I begin? Tell me where to start…
I share my memories and they make me cry
I see your pictures and I start asking “Why”?
Had I known my last day with you would be 12/24
I would’ve gone all out, I would’ve done more
But what more could I do? Thank God I spent Christmas Eve with you!
Laughing, talking and sharing as we often did
Just the two of us hanging out, completely off the grid
I’m doing everything I can to free myself from this grief
But no matter how much I share, there seems no relief
Now as I return home to lay you to rest
My mind has reconciled, but my heart is in protest
I wish I had known Christmas morning would be the end
Of my 20-year friendship with my best friend
There is nothing I wouldn’t do, nothing I wouldn’t give
For just a little more time to watch you live.

I am deeply saddened by Dale’s death. Time may never fully heal the emptiness that has burrowed into the hearts of his close friends and family members. Thankfully, he died peacefully in his sleep. Somehow, I know that he wouldn’t like all of this sadness over him. But it is hard to avoid because that is just how much he was loved. As I come to grips with Dale’s passing I am grateful to have known him, thankful to have seen him in October of this year, and fulfilled to know that my brother had a great friend. Dale’s passing has taught me that life is short and precious. I think he knew this which is why he lived his to the fullest. He traveled, lived, laughed, loved, and always forgave. He was truly a great person and I will miss him dearly. I don’t want to remember Dale’s death. I want to focus on his life because those are my fondest memories of him. His unexpected death was a sign to appreciate those you love on a daily basis. Forgive and be forgiven before it is too late. Consider those around you more often. Open up your heart and stop letting fear hold you back. Death is swift. Death is sudden. Death takes and does not give back.

R.I.P. Dale and thank you for the time you gave to me and my brother.

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