Spirit in the Sky A Tribute to Dave

“All things must pass  All things must pass away.” George Harrison

I’m finding it hard to believe that my cousin Dave is gone. There are just too many things that remind me of him. I try to distract myself and keep busy, but that only helps a little. Actually I was handling things pretty well and except for one backyard breakdown I was doing okay.

On the Saturday following his death I was working out near the pond listening to  a sixties playlist when Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ came on. Man did that bring on the memories. I stopped what I was doing grabbed a Budweiser and cranked it up.”For Dave” I said to myself, “for Dave.” I sat there reminiscing but shed no tears, of course that didn’t last long. The next song was a slow love song by Buffalo Springfield called ‘Sad Memories.’ Man, when I heard the opening guitar I started bawling like a baby. It was one of Dave’s favorite songs when we were teens. He loved it so much that he actually took the time to learn to play it on the guitar. He didn’t play much but he played the hell out of ‘Sad Memories.’ Yeah the tears were free falling then but there was a smile on my face the entire time. No sad memories here, just happy ones.

Other than that one breakdown I was doing well. Then last Wednesday we had his memorial service. I gotta tell you it was an incredible tribute to an amazing man. There were well over 300 people in attendance, family and friends that spanned a lifetime. I know he would have been blown away seeing all the people there. I had no idea there would be such a turnout, mostly because it was mid week and hard for some people to get away from work, and it is quite a distance for many people. I can only imagine what attendance would have been like if the service had been on a Saturday! Yeah my cousin got quite a send off. The minister who officiated was a friend of the family and an outstanding speaker. He did an incredible job! His words were touching and meaningful and the Bible verses he chose to share were so relevant in the celebration of Dave life.

isThen there was the music, it was so Dave, he loved music. The service began with the Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ the perfect beginning  and closed with a truly appropriate number, Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in the Sky.’ It was so beautiful as was the slide presentation. What a awesome collection of memorable moments. Kudos to those who put in so much time and effort in putting it all together. It was truly awesome. And the music chosen for the slide show was amazing, most notably the Beatles ‘In my Life’ and Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ to name a few. Incredible!

Dave’s children  Jen, JJ and Jake did an outstanding job when they spoke about Dave. What they shared was heartfelt and reflected the love and respect they had for their father. Great job kids! I was the first to speak and believe me I was nervous as hell particularly when I saw all the people. I may have been a teacher and a counselor, but public speaking has never been my forte. I enjoy writing besides Speaking to a classroom full of kids is very different than speaking to a large group of adults.

Somehow I managed to get through my twelve minute presentation without breaking down and was later told by many of the guest that I had done a great job. I was just glad my part was over. One gentleman in particular, I believe he was one of Dave’s workmates,  approached me at the church and shook my hand. He told me he’d learned a lot about Dave from my speech, then smiled and said “I’m sure that was just the tip of the iceberg.” Oh how right is was, Dave did so much living, volumes could be written about Dave.  But for me the highlight of my speech was the end when I asked everyone to stand and give Dave an ovation for a live well lived. It was awesome!

The reception that followed at the Blackbird Tavern in Temecula rocked! Dave would have been a very happy camper. The ultimate party animal went out with a banging reception. It was a party! I’m sure Dave was there enjoying every moment. Wallie, his wife and the kids did an awesome job of planning.  Dave touched so many lives perhaps even more than he ever realized. He was everyone’s friend.

I know it was the service and reception that did me in, all the photos, all the memories, all the familiar faces from the past. It all just got to me. I felt like I was in daze after the service and the entire reception felt surreal, just a whirlwind of activity going on around me. Yeah the events of the day really brought Dave’s passing home to me, and made it seem so final. Now I just can’t stop thinking about Dave, I miss him. I know in time it will get easier, but we can never stop missing someone we were close to, that we loved. They have left their mark upon our hearts and  will live on forever in our memories

To everything, there is a season…



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