“I think I’m okay.”

These were the words I said as I entered the chapel for Dave’s internment ceremony. There were no more tears to shed, no more deep breaths to compose myself, only memories. Memories of a wonderful life.

  • An Easter basket filled with pastel foiled-wrapped chocolate eggs, tears pouring down my cheeks and anger in my heart over someone intruding upon my life.
  • Grumbling on the other side of the bathroom door as I frantically knock trying to get in for a morning shower.
  • Teenage tears as I tell my parents Dave-sitting is interfering with my social calendar.
  •  The tussling of my hair and a giggle when he thought I was funny.
  •  A black tuxedo and proud smile as I walked down the aisle.
  •  Arms cradling each of my daughters.
  •  Intertwined hands as I struggle through the crowd and he shakes every Packer fan’s hand in celebration of the win.
  •  Congress Pizza and Christmas TV shows while Dad and Cheryl are away.
  •  Mosquitoes intruding while Amy and I push his wheelchair along the nursing home’s wooded path.
  •  A taste of pureed pumpkin pie eliciting a mumbled, “Yummy.”
  •  The scowl as I videotape him and interrupt his meal.
  •  A salute and a smile as Todd enters the serenity room.
  •  Holding his hand, fists raised, cheering for the Hematites to win another state championship.
  • Tears blurring my vision, my heart breaking as I give him my last kiss on his forehead.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey’s guardian angel earns his wings by showing how interactions can have positive effects. As a young child I often wondered why Dave came to live in my house, with my family but as I reached adulthood I began to understand, and I am certain many bells rang when my guardian angel, Dave, earned his wings too.