Travels with Dave

Seven years ago now, my good friend Dave died in a plane crash. He was 52. He was also a real Renaissance man; engineer, firefighter/paramedic, scuba instructor, sailing master, mountain climber, wildlife photographer, and he build and flew his own airplane (no, that’s not why he died). When he died, his wife decided that he deserved better than to have his ashes on the mantlepiece being yelled at. So she cadged some empty pill bottles and divided him up. And now, anybody who goes anywhere Dave loved to go or would love to go, we take him along. To make the trips memorable, we take his picture in an appropriate hat and sunglasses, when we can, and then leave him somewhere along the way. When we return, we give Katie the photo album with map of Dave’s trip. Since that time he’s been all over the world.

Of course I’m writing a book about it. After all, that’s what I do. The working title is TRAVELS WITH DAVE: WHAT A PASSPORT, PILL BOTTLE AND SUNGLASSES HAVE TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, DEATH AND FRIENDSHIP. I’ve been sharing my photos with my Facebook friends for a while now. Well, it’s time to give them a permanent home, since they can’t all end up in the book. So I begin with four examples of Dave’s travels.

Here is Dave setting off for a trip. He’s packed his bag and ready to go, waiting there outside my door….


Here is Dave sharing my work table where we sat outside of our house on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. He’s always good company. Great listener, doesn’t interrupt. Always smiling(because that’s the way I remember him)


I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory. The only problem is that he isn’t wearing his very natty hat. You’ll have to wait for the pics from Pompeii(particularly the house of ill repute)


And here is Dave sharing one of my favorite spots in the world, the Lake Michigan shore, where my family has gone on vacation since I’ve been a little girl. We gave him a Viking funeral. Sadly, the pictures were lost.

Stop by again. I’ll be regularly adding pictures as I work, along with little stories about these travels, some of which will be in the book. We’ve had some great times. I’ve shared some great conversations along the way, met some fabulous people and had some great surprises. And best of all, I got to take my time saying goodbye to my good friend.

Travels with Dave

One of the fun things about traveling is bringing friends along. I love to show them new spots, share things I love, and discover things they love. Well, I’ve taken it to a new lever recently. One of my good friends died suddenly last year. I say he was a good friend; his wife is a better friend. She’s the person who greeted me my first day in the ED years ago. She’s the person beside my husband who encouraged me to write. Katie and I have been friends through years of trauma, marriage, children and her divorce. I had moved to a different hospital by the time she met Dave, so I heard about him at lunch one day. Her eyes glowed like a little girl’s as she told me of this younger paramedic/firefighter who approached her at work. He was handsome, he was fit, he was an adventurer, which Katie had never been. She became an adventurer with Dave. Anybody would. Dave had a way of bringing everybody along with him before you even knew you were going. Sailling, climbing, hiking, climbing, flying. Especially flying. I never got the chance to go up in the plane Dave and Katie built. But I’ve certainly heard about it.

Two years ago this June, Dave took his plane up and never came back. He suffered a heart attack up there in the air. I want to think that he died when the world was the most sublime for him, that he never knew what happened. I do know that since he died, we, his friends, have been carrying him around with us. Not in spirit, although there is that. Katie divided his ashes into little pill bottles, and we carry him nestled in our purses, backpacks and luggage around the world.

Today i’m in Ireland, and on this trip, I’ve brought Katie along. We’re going to take Dave around with us, and on the last night, we’re going to give him an Irish wake in a pub, and sing to him The Parting Glass. The last lines are “But since it falls that I should leave and you should not, then gently rise and softly call, good night and joy be too you all.” It’s an amazing trip to take. I’m writing a journal about it. so’s Katie. But for now, raise a glass to my friend Dave, who you see in this photo taken in a music pub in Kinvara, enjoying the music. He’d be honored.

One thought on “Travels with Dave”

  1. I've just read your CNN article. After being a writer of romance for most of my adult life, I came clean three years ago and have never regretted that 'debutante coming out' moment.

    Your article says much of what I believe about my own writing and a lot about my life and philosophy. I am still madly in love with my husband – 3 children and 3 mortgages later. Part of our success is belief in the possibility that love is eternal.

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