Stand for Those We Miss and Love

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When my father died there were no testimonials at the funeral service. Aside from a few remarks of the priest, no one stood and spoke for my father. When I asked the priest about this later, he pointed out that there would be plenty of opportunity to talk about my dad at the wake and in the weeks to come, but the service was a time to think about God’s words. It is an argument that I understand, but it I think that’s God’s words could only be enhanced by the memories of a man that we knew and loved.

So today I stand up for JoAnn Gunter. I never met JoAnn, but came to know her through her amazing daughter Buffy Hamilton. With Buffy as our intermediary JoAnna and I cheered each other on through our trials with cancer. This weekend JoAnn died of pancreatic cancer.

Today I stand for Joanne Silverstein, my dearest friend and closest colleague who died of breast cancer. I stand for Jeffry Katzer, a mentor through my Ph.D. program who died of prostate cancer. I stand for Jill Abdo, mother to my son’s best friend who succumbed to colon cancer. I stand for Grandmother Anne Goodman who died of colon cancer, and my Grandmother Dottie who died of leukemia.

I stand as someone who has fought with cancer and as someone who will remember you. Someone who says your life was important. I stand to remind those who remain that life can be hard. I stand to remind everyone that cancer takes and takes and takes. I stand to remind everyone that no matter how much we are loved, or how much good we seek to do, we all can be taken too soon.

Yet I also stand to remind all of us to be brave. That while darkness has taken these beautiful people, it is because of the light they added to our lives that we remember them. To remind all of us that to mourn is natural, but so is celebration. Take time today to stand and celebrate those in your life who you have lost, who you will miss, those who made your life better. Stand today; stand still if just for a moment, and celebrate those people in your life who are gone, but remain a part of you.

15 responses on “Stand for Those We Miss and Love

  1. diane kresh

    Well said, Dave. Thank you for the reminder. I, too have a few to stand for.

    Diane Kresh

  2. Janice Dowling

    And stand for those who are here with us and remind us what is important: those we love, we respect, and those who have made our lives better by just knowing them. Thank you dear friend,

  3. Heather Braum

    Thank you as always for your poignancy. I know how much supporting Jo Ann and vice versa meant to Buffy and her family. Cancer has taken far too many people too soon; may the day where this is no longer true, especially with blasted pancreatic cancer, be near at hand.

  4. Lori Reed

    Beautifully said David! I lost both grandmothers to breast cancer and my uncle to an aggressive spinal cancer when he was only 40! Younger than I am now. Then there was Pat Carterette who was like a mother and sister to me. Cancer sucks! I’ve made it a point to stand up and speak at funerals for those I know well. Thank you for this reminder of celebrating those we’ve loved and lost.

  5. Paul Signorelli

    Completely agree, and would with Janice Dowling extend this to suggest that we stand equally strongly and visibly with friends and acquaintances who benefit from having us at their sides in moments of need we might otherwise overlook.

  6. lizliddy

    Thanks Dave, for yet one more moving & memorable post. Let us stand (and say a prayer of thanks) for each one we’ve lost, but whose memories we cherish.

  7. Julia Hendricks

    I stand for my late husband, Michael, who died from a brain tumor. We met when I was on a homeless shelter list, for a brief moment. He encouraged me at the age of 25 to go to college. I did, I changed my majors many times, and he supported me through it all. Today, I have a career that I’m passionate about–I’m a librarian. I wouldn’t have made it this far if it wouldn’t have been for him and his encouragement, and support.

  8. Cindy Hlywa

    David, this is a wonderfully poignant and necessary post. And I agree with everything Janice wrote as well. Thank you.

  9. Carolyn Foote

    Beautifully beautifully said. And I think we should stand as well for voices still with us, voices like yours, who remind us what is really important–the power of community and family. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Ann Marie G. Halstead

    What a beautiful tribute to your friends and family as well as those you don’t even know who are touched by cancer- and isn’t that just about all of us? Very well written.

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