Years before David got cancer, he asked me to write what I would publish about him after his death. David was quite a bit older than I, and the odds were in favor of me outliving him.
I never told him. He seemed to want to know why I cared about him, and I was afraid that if I gave him good reasons – not that any reason would be good enough anyway, since he hadn’t reached sainthood yet – he would try to pull me closer. For years I had worked hard to put more distance between us without cutting him off entirely. I cared about him, loved him even, but I felt he already took up more time than I wanted to give him.
Today I renewed the domain registration for a website I had built for his “Light Touch Mobilization Technique” class information, simply so that I could redirect anyone who came across it to Stardust Dancer and the “Remembering David Dressler” article by the Registered Massage Therapy Association of British Columbia. (I had meant to do this six months ago.)
Anyway, I had some thoughts about writing a little more there than simply, “see here” and “go here,” so I tried to write a closing paragraph. After a couple of false starts, I finally realized that much of the richness of our relationship grew out of the arguments that I had too often found so aggravating.
David expressed himself with raw, unfiltered honesty. While we agreed on many things, when we didn’t, the intensity was often quite hot. In the good old days, before he became very sick with cancer, I was no match for his exquisite command of the English language. I did, nevertheless, occasionally express a thought that stopped him in his tracks. David played to win, and he understood that learning something was a form of winning. Why enter into debate in the first place except to teach the other person something – or to learn that you were wrong and thus grow wiser? As long as someone learned, David was satisfied. Stalemate frusted him no end.
Given David’s nature, I feel that David didn’t simply die. He conquered death. I expect that someday I will learn how that turned out!
David, worthy opponent, friend, and a lot more, you are not missed because you were a hero, a great person, or a leader. You are missed because you are you, unlike any other. If you suddenly appeared in my room, I’d probably be angry at you – for some old grudge that I had mostly forgotten, perhaps, but mostly for dying. I always forgive you sooner or later. Because you are the incomparable, unforgettable David M. Dressler, and I love you.