This is what I read at your funeral Dan. I wasn’t even aware that a bunch of people were listening. It was and remains from me to you:
I feel as though I’ve been watching you go away for a large part of our relationship- on buses and trains while we dated, to gigs late at night, and finally on your travels this past year. I’ve waved from windows straining to see your silhouette walking towards our building or apartment in the dark. I’ve listened for the quiet sound of doors unlocking while i lay in bed at 1 am waiting for your return. And this past year, I could not hold you back..so I let you go in parts, keeping “busy” as I tried to survive on my own, and trying not to feel how far away you were on the map as I pointed it out to Audrey. always saying goodbye, and always waiting for you to come home.
But now you have left us. And my heart knows true sorrow- not the anxiousness of waiting for you to come back or crying quietly after you closed the door to leave for a month, but a final goodbye without warning. the absence of your sweet soul in a bittersweet world is palpable.
I have been inundated with so many kind and beautiful words about you since your death from friends and family…as a musician, a writer, a husband, a father, a man. You rise up like some mythical figure, yet I know that you are not being sainted because of your death. People simply do not have any unkind words to say about you.
I have been reading of your amazing talents, brilliance, and gentleness. Many have told me you were genuinely the kindest person that they had ever met. And I don’t doubt it.
I too have many miraculous memories: our first kiss, a spiritual walk through American Elms in Central Park made a hazy purple by the setting sun, a double rainbow that we watched stretch the length of manhattan on your birthday.
But mostly, I am left with the ordinary, everyday moments- inside-jokes and silly songs we sang to audrey in harmony together. i am left with your facial expression when i tickled you, the sound of your snoring next to me as i pushed you over onto your side, the touch of my cold feet chasing yours in our bed, the movement of your heartbeat in your chest beneath my cupped ear.
There were fights, many dramatic fights. And as the years went on, you pressed on with your dreams- inspiring me, while I watched from the side worrying about health insurance and scheduling your dental cleanings, packing your vitamins for the tour. I thought I was handling everything- but now I see- that your drive and amazing perseverance was up-girding both of us all along.
Still, there were harsh words, and for that I need to ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me for I am only human. Ours was a fierce, tumultuous, real love- not the romance comedy kind. daniel- i am so sorry i fell short in so many ways in loving you and cherishing you. i did my best under often stressful circumstances. you loved me so well despite my shortcomings. I need to thank you for that. Thank you. There were many moments we didn’t think we could stay together. But we did. I know it must’ve been love because i have heard that love is patient, and kind, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
so you have left me now. it’s true. i am back to the everyday- the ordinary but no less miraculous. eleven years of life’s subtleties- now only mine. Who will clean up our toothpaste when I squeeze it wrong and it gets clogged? or remember the way we misspelled a word on purpose because it meant something to only us or cut my grilled cheese sandwich into a puzzle shape? WHo will tell me I look pretty in the morning? and who will whisper “Goodnight to You” when I turn out the light? Who will love audrey with me as you did? Her every sound, and every step. And yet a life so full still drips beauty even now when I read your journals, hear a story from a friend, or when i watch audrey dance the way you taught her and say appa. appa.
i called you daniel, dan, dancho, hae y, hae wan, yubo, my love.
you called me simply jul, my love.
i will miss you my love. and i will eagerly wait for a happy reunion where all is answered and pain and death and even goodbyes are no more. This is my final goodbye to you, but there will be one more hello- one more welcome home. This time from you to me. Where o death is your victory, where o death is your sting? I will see you again my love.
I'm a fan of Regina Spektor and came across Dan's death and then your blog while reading an article about her. And now, an hour later, I'm sitting here listening to her songs on Spotify and wiping tears from my chin while reading your blog.
I'm so sorry for your and Audrey's terrible loss. From all my fears of the loss of the people I love and the loss of relationships that I cherished I connect with your pain and bewilderment.
Thank you for sharing yourself this way.