This weekend, I find myself overflowing with gratitude. The weather finally has a chill in the air, but my heart is warm. Yesterday, I had the honor of attending the 7th annual memorial golf outing for my husband. This year, I took both boys. It was my little one’s first time to play. Sam has played every year. We all golfed together and with a very brave friend were a great foursome. All week I worried about how things would turn out with both boys in one foursome…but they were great! We had a nice game of golf and were surrounded with people that love us.
Way back when Dave’s buddy proposed the golf tournament, I never thought we’d see seven of them happen. I thought, one, maybe two and then folks would fade away, but this group of people, Dave’s people, have been one of the most supportive groups around us since his death. Every year when I think I’ll get a call that we don’t have enough people to golf, or maybe they don’t have enough time to put it all together. I am always pleasantly surprised to get the excited calls and texts that golf is on and folks are looking forward to it.
When we arrive we are always greeted with giant hugs and meaningful smiles. They love to see us and we love to see them. Dave’s friends and coworkers surround us. We laugh, we remember, we toast to him and we play golf…
What it boils down to is the kind of friend he was…I didn’t nurture these relationships, he did. I didn’t pick these folks, he did…but now and since his death, they are one of my families. They are one of the only groups I can be with that get it when I say certain things. We can laugh and tease because they get the shorthand. Many of the folks I’m around on a daily basis now, didn’t know Dave. That’s ok, but every year, I get to remember in a different way. I remember the fun Dave, not the sick Dave, the man that I met, hung out with, laughed with and loved.
This year is different. Something shifted in me. My sadness was not with me yesterday. I saw things differently. Bittersweet…yes, still, but these people, nearly a decade later still want to share his story. They want to be around his kids. They want to help the boys remember the guy they loved. Although it’s the same guy I loved, it’s different. They have different stories, different memories, and they have blessed us by coming together to share them.
So, even as our new stories unfold everyday, it is nice to look back and see that he is not forgotten. I never thought he would be, but I arrogantly thought I was the keeper of the flame. I am not. I am one flame. Fortunately, yesterday I saw his fire burning brightly and I didn’t have to keep it burning alone. And for that, I am forever grateful.