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Questions about Viking Funeral:
I was working with Dave to help him tell his autobiography, for I don’t know, years. We talked about what to leave out, what to address. We argued about who was going to write it. It was a big task, overwhelming for certain but I insisted he write his story.
Then he died…unexpectedly.
He dictated three incomplete rough draft ideas, less than three disconnected total pages, no outline of a direction he was heading, nothing. No doubt, if he would have finished this book himself, it would have been dramatically different.
Viking Funeral Cliff Notes:
Here is what Viking Funeral is, and why I wrote it.
It is a hybrid, part biography, part memoir because it is a combination of interviews and memories from the deepest crevices of my existence, a biogra-moir.
Viking Funeral is about Dave’s actual funeral, the event itself, the people who spoke that night, who were his friends, who spent the most time of his adult life with him. His life story is tethered to the evening of his celebration of life with booze and fire.
Each friend spoke mere minutes that night but spent hundreds of thousands of moments making Dave’s life great and he theirs. I share the details of the stories that comprised all those friendships, those moments with specific examples so the reader can understand the mutual love shared between them.
Many people who attended were very moved by the love of his friends and stories shared over the evening, which is why I chose to write the essence of that specifically.
I wrote it for my friends or anyone else who was there that night and didn’t know all these backstories of the people up in front of us talking. I filled in the blanks of those inside details.
I wrote for our family and friends who, know all the backstories, could not attend but could envision everything through my words and indirectly be with us.
I wrote it for people who think the only way to have a funeral is dark and sad; maybe they will consider something different for their loved ones when their time in the valley of grief comes because it will come.
I wrote it for those people all over the world who never knew and never would know Dave and might be inspired by his story. The people I was always encouraging him to write his autobiography for in the first place because he wanted to help people.
As I have shared stories of Dave with the world, I have connected to many people grieving their loved ones. I have laughed with them as Dave’s stories have brought forward their favorite funny stories of their loved ones. Together we have stitched the gaping wound of our grief into a more manageable scar. That aspect was not expected but the fact that his story is helping people beyond motivation is a perfect PostScript of his life. Hopefully, we all continue to help each other in unexpected ways after we leave this plane of existence.
The one sticking point he and I kept running into was “How to end the story? With him graduating? With him returning to work at Valley College? Is that a bit too Ironic?” Well, his death sealed that deal.
I wrote Viking Funeral because it is as perfect a tribute to him in writing as it was to attend. I was simply his witness.