TheHusband and I spent all day yesterday in Roseville, celebrating the life of his step-uncle Dave Brigham with assorted friends and family. I have to say, I can only hope that at my memorial service there are so many amazing stories, so much laughter, so much love. I had the pleasure of knowing Dave for the last 8 years or so (TheHusband and I were a little slow on the whole meet the family thing - especially because his family consists of hundreds of people and complicated "how are we related again" lines) though I feel like the last time I saw him, in Oregon a few weeks ago, was the first time I really had a serious conversation with the man. And man, am I grateful for it.
I used to tell TheHusband that every time I spent time with Dave and his wife Mary that I was in awe of the love and acceptance that just seemed to radiate from them. I would joke that I just wanted to sit in their presence and let some of their positivity wear off on me. Like maybe I could absorb it into my own life somehow through osmosis? The love between them was almost a tangible object, their way of looking at life and the situations around them was amazingly positive. I felt that not only were they constantly working towards making themselves better, but they also wanted you to be better, experience more happpiness and love in your life as well.
As someone mentioned at the memorial yesterday (another nephew - I think) the unspoken code of nature is to "leave it better than you found it". I've known this since the very first camping/back-packing trip I ever took as a child. Dave was a great lover of the outdoors, of the mountains, someone who saw the connection between nature and spirituality every day, in every instance. As a legacy to the type of person he was, I think that every one in that room yesterday nodded in agreement that Dave left each of us better than he found us. I truly feel privledged to have known him and I am better for it.
Needless to say, in the 10 days since his death I have replayed our final conversation over and over in my head. Y'all. I have even dreamed of this conversation. I wish I had asked more questions, paid more attention, given more thought to my side of the dialogue instead of using the same flippant answers I always do when asked about what I want out of life. Because the thing is, I actually got the feeling from Dave that he CARED about my answers, that he wasn't just making polite conversation, that he genuinely wanted me to find happiness. If I had known it would be my last chance to talk with him I think I would have done it differently. But that's the lesson isn't it? You never know if you'll get another chance to say the things you want to say, or ask the questions you need answered, or just sit and absorb another person's personality and love.
This morning on the way to work I actually had a one-sided conversation with Dave. I tried to pick it up where we left off, and using some of the insight in to his character that I gained from listening to his many friends and family members speak yesterday, I asked some follow up questions. I know that sounds insane. I do. But y'all, if nothing else, I want to try and reach the idealized place of happiness with myself, my life, my family and my relationships that Dave had. I need to refocus, re-evaluate and shift my priorities to make it happen. But I will. In memory of Dave. It can be my small way of remembering him, of keeping his spirit alive.
Dave's sons both spoke about their father yesterday and the youngest closed his portion with the Bible verse most commonly associated with weddings, 1 Corinthians 13. He mentioned that, to him, his father emulated all of these things in his life. What a powerful legacy to have left behind right?
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.