Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"David, I Hardly Knew Ye"

My blog of December 3, 2008, shared with my readers the loss of a longtime friend. My blog today shares with you my loss of a new friend.

I knew David Lawrence less than a year. He was a member of my writing group. I feel I am a better person for knowing him. All of these facts state truth but do not explain what a unique, talented, loving and loved man he was.

David lived less than 65 years on this earth. He should have lived 100 plus because he had so much to give to others. His musical talents, as director, composer and singer gave countless hours of pleasure to music lovers throughout Chicagoland. And he loved experiencing music as much as he loved making it.

He also loved to write. He completed several books, both fiction and non-fiction, and his niche was mystery stories. He was sharing his most recent effort with our writing group and we are saddened that we'll never hear the end of that work. His passion for writing made him a valued member of our group; his personality and joy of life made him a valued person to call 'friend'.

His devotion to his wife, children and grandchildren was unbounding. All his conversations seemed to include some mention or brag of a family anecdote.

I felt an instant kinship when I met David; everyone felt that way. He was so interested in my writing, my interests, my family, etc., that it was difficult to learn about him at first. He wasn't shy, however, about sharing his opinions. I learned from him, we had give-and-take discussions, and I told other friends about this special human being I was getting to know. I feel robbed now that I won't have the privilege of calling him "an old and dear friend".

They say a man is measured by his family and friends. On Saturday, at David's funeral, the mourners formed a never-ending line to pay their respects to the family, then filled every pew in the large church where David had been the choir director for many years. Over and over, the comments and eulogies talked about his giving spirit, his love of family, his commitment to friends. Tears were shed by everyone from tough grown men to small children. The measure of this man's value to those who shared his life was truly prodigious.

I shall never approach the celebration of St. Patrick's Day again without thinking that it was on that day the light of friendship and love was dimmed a bit in the world as David left us to sing with the angels. Our writing group toasted him with a glass of Irish ale this week. I'll do that on each St. Patty's Day from now on and say, "David, I hardly knew ye; rest in peace, my friend."

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