Signs

March 18, 2011

Is it weird to wish somebody happy birthday, if they have passed away? When you think about it, birthdays aren’t just for the person themselves. They are for the people who love them to rejoice in the fact that they were born.

In that spirit, I want to say, “Happy Birthday, David!” I want to send his wonderful family love from Colorado. It’s a stunningly beautiful morning here. Powdered sugar snow dusting the trees. Spring around the corner.

It’s funny, I hadn’t seen David in years when I found out he had died. It was a shock when I heard, particularly because getting back in touch with him had been high on my “to do” list for about six months. Of course, there was always something else on my “to do” list that took priority. I never got around to it. I remember David as one of the happiest, sweetest, kindest, funniest people from my group in college. He truly sparkled. I will never forget him. And boy I wish I’d picked up the phone and called.

What’s done is done though. I can’t change the fact that I didn’t call, but I can certainly do things differently going forward. David was the first friend, my age, to pass away. I have lost other people dear to me, but most of them were of an age where you might expect death as a natural conclusion to a life well lived. David went way too soon.

We don’t know how long we’ll be here on earth. We take for granted that we won’t ever age, or get sick, or die. My ever multiplying crow’s feet are telling me that I am not immune. But I can certainly ensure that every minute (well, let’s be realistic MOST minutes, or at least as many as I can eke out each day) are well spent.

If I were to die tomorrow, would I be happy with the time I spent with my kids? My husband? Pursuing my dreams? Since I’m not sure of the answer, I’d like to invite you to my new blog where I am going to explore some of these themes over the next 12 months. I want to be sure my life is well lived. I want to try and find time for my dreams (amid all the daily struggles) – while doing all the other required things in my life (ie, going to work and paying the bills). I am hopeful my blog will keep me engaged and honest. We’ll see where it goes.

http://betweentimesmama.wordpress.com/

But today I want to celebrate a wonderful person who, while here on earth, lived his life well. Since his death, I have been blessed with becoming close with his family. I always wanted to be Jewish, and now I have Jewish mom (and I never even have to go to services, what a deal)! I have a new and wonderful connection to Venice, Italy – where David’s sister is pursuing HER dreams. I have learned all sorts of wonderful history of Denver through the eyes of David’s dad. Isn’t it strange how things work out?

Like David’s family, I believe in “signs”. I try to stop and listen when something seems familiar, or if some 6th sense stops me. I try and take note and see what I can learn. I don’t always do this, but I try. I want to offer this short note as a “sign”. He’s not far away, nor is he forgotten.

David Weinreich, shimmering

March 19, 2009

When I left the Boulder Theatre last night, after being honored to share in a special afternoon and evening celebrating the life of David Weinreich, I felt it again – the feeling of being transported back in time.  I drove through the quiet, dark town, passing all the familiar landmarks.  Pearl Street, Whole Foods (although most of us still think of it as Alfalfa’s), McGuckin’s, the red flagstone buildings on the campus.  So much has changed, but so much has stayed the same. 

Driving into Boulder earlier that afternoon, straight from work, my current life seemed to fade a bit.  Time morphed back to the wonderful (and crazy) years I’d spent going to school in Boulder.  I drove from Golden to Boulder on Hwy 93, past the majestic wind turbines of the National Wind Technology Center (part of NREL, where I work in Golden – my current life), past Eldorado Canyon on my left.  And then I arrived at the edge of town…up ahead on my left were the unchangeable Flatirons. Basemar Center on my right, now fancy with bagel and coffee shops. 

Finally, I turned left on Baseline and climbed up toward Chautauqua.  Flagstaff loomed up ahead.  How many times had we all traveled this road when we lived our various lives in Boulder?  Many…. countless. 

 Now, it’s not as if I haven’t been to Boulder at all in the past 20 years.  In fact, I’ve spent plenty of time there.  But this was different, I was going to see old friends (and meet some new ones), and share memories about a wonderful person who was no longer with us.

As I slowly circled the grassy park of Chautauqua, I saw a group of people that looked kind of familiar/kind of not familiar.  I parked and walked over.  It was the right group.  Yes, they were here for David.  At first, it was a little bit hard to put everybody into perspective.  But one by one, sharing memories and “did you know so and so” we all figured out how we were connected, places we must’ve been together in the past, what we were doing now in our current lives.  Why we were here.  How David brought us together.

Eventually we formed a circle.  It was getting chilly and was a bit overcast.  One by one, little by little, we shared stories about David, talked of him – to him.  Missed him.  Laughed and cried.  It became very clear how much he had impacted each of us. 

We remembered his absolute joy for life.  His passion for his friends, family and everyone around him.  His fierce love of riding, climbing, skiing, the outdoors, his canine companions.  His loyal heart, his capacity for love.  How, even in death, he managed to connect a group of people – some two decades after they’d last met.  I think that, in particular, made him smile.

We came from all over.  Aspen, New Hampshire, the Virgin Islands, Montana, Boulder, Frisco and more.  From near and far, he connected us.  Pulled us in. 

We joined hands, shared a moment of quiet together.  Just then, a wind blew over us, through us.  It ruffled hair, coats, sweaters. I think that wind was David – tickling us, cajoling us out of sadness.  Laughing, and offering us the comfort of that famous smile.   

He was there with us in that beautiful place. 

Later, at the lovely little restaurant next to the Boulder Theatre, even more people came along to celebrate David’s life.  To celebrate what would have been his 40 years on this earth.   It was perfect.  Cozy, warm, softly lit – brick fireplace, low couches.  Comforting and welcoming.  He would have loved it.  In fact, I know he loved it.  He was never far away. 

All too soon it was time for me to head back home – to sick kids and work the next day.  My current life. 

 Back on the Boulder Turnpike, a trip I made countless times when I was in college (home to my mom and clean laundry), I had that familiar feeling again…falling back in time.  There are more stores, car dealerships, commerce along the Turnpike now than there was back then.  But the rolling hills are still the same, the shape of the land is still familiar.  The lights of Denver peeping over the horizon. 

I pondered David, his life, the friends and family who loved him.  On the radio were the familiar voices of KBCO – every Boulderite’s radio station.  And then a song.  I love this song and in particular the acoustic Studio C version they played just then.

 I hadn’t cried that afternoon or evening.  I had held back.  But last night I traveled home – back to my current life – with my old friend David, and I cried for our loss of that radiant person.  That old friend, a son, a brother.

His time on earth with us was too short.  But for someone like David, maybe death is just a word.  As one friend said, “he was bigger than life itself.”  Heads nodded all around.  All concurred. 

David was born to shimmer and shine.  And after last night, I know he does still. 

 

Shimmer  by Shawn Mullins

[to listen to the KBCO Studio C version of “Shimmer” go here http://www.kbco.com/pages/studiocondemand_mr.html and scroll down through the Ms to Shimmer/Beautiful Wreck]

Sharing with us what he knows, shining eyes are big and blue
and all around him water flows, this world to him is new, this world to him is new 

To touch a face, to kiss a smile, new eyes see no race
the essence of a child, the essence of a child 

He’s born to shimmer, he’s born to shine, he’s born to radiate
he’s born to live, he’s born to love but we’ll teach him not to hate  

True love it is a rock, smoothed over by a stream
no ticking of a clock, truly measures what that means, truly measures what that means  

And this thing they call our time, heard a brilliant woman say
she said you know it’s crazy how I want to try to capture mine
I think I love this woman’s way, I think I love this woman’s way  

The way she shimmers, the way she shines, the way she radiates
the way she lives, the way she loves, the way she never hates  

Sometimes I think of all of this that can surround me
I know it all as being mine

but she kisses me and wraps herself around me
she gives me love, she gives me time …and I feel fine,  I feel fine 

But time I cannot change, so here’s to looking back
you know I drink a whole bottle of my pride and I toast to change
to keep these demons off my back, just get these demons off my back 

Cause I want to shimmer, I want to shine, I want to radiate

I want to live, I want to love
I want to try to learn not to hate, try not to hate 

We’re born to shimmer, we’re born to shine, we’re born to radiate
we’re born to live, we’re born to love
we’re born to never hate

Hello friends of David…

March 19, 2009

Since not everybody is on Facebook, I thought I’d share some thoughts about David in this blog.  I hope you’ll do the same….