May 16, 2017 means that 15 years have slipped by since my husband David suffered a fatal heart attack while playing basketball with our son Andy at St. Christopher’s School. That day seemed to shatter our rose colored world of happy endings, but the hands of those surrounding Andy, Ben and me made sure that our tragedy didn’t define our destiny. There are no words in our English language that can ever fully capture our gratitude for the shoulders we leaned on or the hands that reached out to us during those darkest hours.
After spending the week-end on a scout hike with David and Ben at a boy scout hike, our friend Briscoe described David in a sympathy note. He wrote about the wonderful campsite that David and Ben had created where “everyone had a great time, and in the center of it all was a big guy with an even bigger heart making people laugh.” These words still ring true about my big-hearted husband who loved and lived life to the fullest. In some ways, he lived more life in his 45 years than many of us can fathom. It makes our hearts happy to know how much love David shared. We have found solace over time in hearing and sharing memories of his life.
We have surely grieved in agonizing ways, but we have found countless silver linings scattered along our way that have kept us moving forward one day at a time. From the first moments after his fall to the cold hard floor of the gym to this beautiful blue sky May morning, we have been privileged to receive glimmers of silver light lining the storm clouds that hover overhead.
The first shimmering silver lights were the first responders who worked on his lifeless body in spite of knowing full well that he might not recover. I recently met the man who gave my husband mouth to mouth resuscitation until the medical team arrived. It is odd that in 15 years, I never had met Brock Lively who tried desperately to revive him. You have to admit that Brock’s last name is interesting given his willingness to step forward to help David. You simply can’t make this stuff up. He told me about rushing over to help Andy and the other boys that huddled over David. Brock said, “It was like everything was in slow motion.” His description summed up our foggy recollections of that first hour.
Although Brock and I had never met until this January, his mother and I were friends through church. I knew that his own father had died at an early age leaving her a widow with 3 children to raise. When Brock and I talked recently, he told me that losing his own father at an early age had motivated him to learn C.P.R. He wanted to give others a second chance at living even though his father didn’t get one. Knowing that he tried to help David in spite of his own loss was a ray of sunshine I hadn’t expected to learn about fifteen years later. Helping others find hope in their stormy times encourages me to write about transforming our losses. My sons and I have helped others face adversity in their lives. Our compassion grew out of our own loss in much the same way as Brock’s.
There are so many connections or silver linings that have given us new directions and full hearts in these 15 years. This short blog can’t contain them all. We want to give you our thanks for lighting our path. Without these illuminations, we may have lost our way in the shadows of death. We know that silver linings really do exist! In memory of David, we hope you will continue to brighten another’s journey! A song written and sung by the Honey Dewdrops named “Silver Lining” inspired my title today. From their lyrics, “You’re my silver lining when it don’t look good, I’m always finding, you’re my silver lining.” (www.TheHoneyDewdrops.com)