Excerpt taken from David's Journal September 22, 2017
"Easy Silence" Dixie Chicks
The way you keep the world at bay for me…
I find refuge in the easy silence that you make for me, it's OK when there is nothing more to say to me, and the peaceful quiet you create for me, and the way you keep the world at bay for me; the way you keep the world at bay…
It's been a tough week! We've made some hard decisions, closed some chapters in our book, and begun to prepare ourselves for the final events that will bring our "Love Story" as we know it here on earth to an end. Over the past eight weeks, David has had several life-threatening medical emergencies that have left him physically worn out and emotionally exhausted. Each day he becomes noticeably weaker. I
can see in his eyes that he longs for rest, not rest in the take-a-break sense, but the kind of rest that only death can bring. Although these life-sustaining procedures have prolonged his life they have come at a real cost, so we are forced to look long and hard at how we want the remainder of his life to play out. Although I would like to say he has more fight left in him, I know he does not. He is tired and ready to
live out what time he has left free of invasive treatments and gut-wrenching drug therapies. I support his decision.
On September 13, 2017, David decided to step down from his position at GAF. This decision was hard, and I could see that his heart was heavy with resignation. David's work at the plant gave him a sense of purpose, he loved his work and he loved the guys he worked with. It was a position of pride, a labor of love that challenged his skills and fulfilled a brilliant engineers sense of duty so when he decided to step
down from his position, I knew he was stepping back from life and leaning into death. Acknowledging that he was no longer able to work took courage, a courage that could only come from knowing that knew that the battle was over, and the end was near.
I could see that David felt like he was letting his boss and his "guys" down by resigning, but he knew he was becoming a liability in the plant. He could no longer carry out his responsibilities in a way that benefited the company and the men he led. It wasn't safe, and he was having difficulty being on his feet for more than a few minutes at a time. At night when he came home, he had little to no strength left.
He wasn't eating much, and he struggled to do the smallest of tasks.
The email he crafted from his place on the couch early that morning took him a long time to compose. Typically, he pens a letter out with relative ease, but this time the words he wrote required courage, a courage that acknowledged the fact that abdication of his position meant that he would never in this life work again. I think he sent the email around 10:00 am. All-day he read and reread what he had forwarded to Michael, each time he scanned over the email his eyes welled up with tears as he scrolled through the draft he sent. Sometime in the afternoon, he mentioned to me with a strange sadness that Michael hadn't responded. I knew he was waiting for either Michael or Erika to reply to his email, but neither of them did.
The following Monday, we made a difficult decision to call Hospice out to the house to discuss the end of life measures that included pain management and palliative care techniques. The meeting went well, and we were satisfied with what we learned. We had enough information to bring to the doctor on Tuesday so that we could present a well-informed case to the Dr. as to why David felt it was necessary
to forgo further treatment in favor of death.
On Tuesday, September 19th, we went to his medical appointment to discuss with the doctor our plans to transition to Hospice. As David hugged and kissed the nurses who cared for him goodbye, tears streamed down his face. Without words, they said their goodbyes and silently acknowledged the reality we were living. Tracy and Danielle were so good to him. They looked forward to seeing him each week
and he looked forward to seeing them. They loved his gentle, upbeat nature and never tired of his encouragement even when it was at the expense of his body and resulted in nausea and pain. David appreciated them, he respected them and the hard job they had to do. He understood that their job included a never-ending course of sadness and goodbyes. He understood that their positions as oncology nurses required strength and courage if they were going to meet people in their place of illness and possible death.
We left the doctor's office and headed to GAF to complete David's exit interview, turn in his keys, phone, and begin the paperwork for FMLA. I waited in the conference room with Erika the HR coordinator and began the paperwork process for his termination. Michael called for one of the plant guys to bring up the motorized car to take David around the plant to say his goodbyes. It was a very tough day for GAF and my sweet David. They hated to see him leave as much as David hated to go.
Standing in the break-room waiting for David to say goodbyes, I had the chance to talk to Michael alone. I mentioned how difficult it was for David to come to terms with his decision to step down, and how hard it was for him to write that email. I told him how deeply saddened David was while writing it and the courage it took to make this call took bravery that even I couldn't have mustered up. After an
awkward pause, Michael admitted that David's email stayed in his inbox all day because he couldn't bring himself to respond to it. He said that he knew what it was about and that it took him all day to build up the courage to respond…
Michael's tear-felt response arrived in David's inbox sometime around
6:00 pm the night of his resignation.
Since Tuesday, David and I have been intentionally trying to stay in the moment. We know that these next couple of weeks will be the hardest for us. The goodbyes will be heartfelt, and the tears will be plentiful. We know that friends, family and loved ones will want to come and say goodbye, and we welcome that. We know that it's important for each of you to have that time to say goodbye and to tell
him how much he will be loved and missed. Don't be afraid to come and sit with us. Don't be afraid to cry and share your feelings and your fears, we welcome you! We love you and your time with David will be cherished more than you will ever know.
For the past 12 years, David has been my rock. He has loved me like no one other ever has. He has protected me from anything that could have harmed me and helped me to live strong and with great courage. He has been a true and faithful companion, my greatest champion, my lover and my most cherished friend. I know our love story will continue long after he has left this earth, I will carry him in
my heart forever.
I have found refuge in the easy silence he's made for me, it's OK when there is nothing more to say to me. I will forever cherish the peaceful quiet he created for me, and the way he kept the world at bay for me; the way he kept the world at bay…