I have started a new blog in Dave's Memory.
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the Dave Richards Memorial Award.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A week has passed and I feel obliged to enter another post.

There was a great article in today's London Free Press about Dave. (Click here to read the article.) I wasn't aware this was being done but am really touched and amazed at how far reaching an effect Dave had in others lives.

The visitation on Wednesday evening was supposed to go from 5-9, but people were lined up early, so we started at 4:45 and they didn't stop until 9:45. (5 hours non-stop) The line up to get in went out the door and was almost an hour long wait at times. We had a lot of photo collage boards set up and a photo slide show on a big screen while people were waiting during the visitations. I had also made a music CD for Dave for our anniversary 3 years ago, so I had them play that during both visitations.

The 2nd visitation on Thursday had to be stopped short to start the service. The service was beautiful. One of the teachers had written a song for him that a few of them sang, and the school choir sang amazingly. (A few of the kids were crying so hard they couldn't sing.) Another friend who is a pianist played the piano immediately before and after the service. 5 friends spoke as well as one of Dave's uncles and the pastor. The speeches were touching and all gave different glimpses into the man Dave was. (If I'm able I'll try to get copies of the speeches to post here sometime in the near future.) There was a reception afterward that friends organized and I am still amazed at how quickly it was pulled together and how so many people helped out to bring food and at how much food there was. (I'm guessing at numbers here, but I think there were about 500 people through on Wednesday evening, and 900 people at the service on Thursday.) I can't even begin to thank everybody that helped out with this.

I haven't been able to read the posts on all the facebook pages for Dave yet..., but I know that at this point he seems larger than life. You know Dave was a pretty simple guy. He loved sports, was very sociable, and lived to play baseball! He also had issues and struggles, just like the rest of us, however, he felt strongly compelled to help a lot of the youth around him that he saw struggling. Even after bad first impressions, he was always willing to give kids a second chance. He liked making kids smile and feel good, because it made him feel good. Dave had a rough childhood but was given a second chance. His foster parents invested in his life and helped shape the man he became. He wanted to pay it forward. We've had a few foster sons of our own and hope we've made an impact in their lives. When visiting friends and family, Dave would always make an effort to connect with the kids - whether it be to just make them laugh, teach them how to swim, or help them get over their fear of dogs. Dave was truly a kid at heart, the biggest kid I knew. He was just as happy hanging around kids as adults. When our son Cale was a teenager, he would load up our van full of family & friends teens and take them to Galilean Bible Camp - 10 hours north, for a few weeks each summer. Dave would help out with maintenance around the camp then drive them all home. He also loaded up the van in the winter to take the family teens on ski trips to Vermont. He managed to keep them all in control and still have a great time that they still laugh about.

Dave and I, have had our struggles over the years but always planned on growing old together. Even while fighting cancer, we still dreamed about our future. Cale & I are heartbroken and will be struggling to come to terms with the loss for a long time. The reality is that we have been mourning 'healthy' Dave for months now. I'm still waiting for him to run in the door, grab his ball bag, give me a quick kiss, and run out the door because he's late for a game. I try not to question, but it's hard to comprehend the loss.

I do know that our lives are inextricably knit together. God has a plan - I just don't fully see it yet.
Thank you for being a part of our journey and cheering us on. I hope this blog has helped you as much as it helped us.



Jessie Zellas said...

Val and Cale
We have all been blessed to have had Mr. Richards in our life and we are all the better for having known him. We will miss him so much. If there is anything we can do to help, no matter how large or small, please let me know. Take good care of yourselves. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Val....thanks so much for writing this Blog...and for this entry in particular. As tears once again stream down my face, I think of your words..."God has a plan - I just don't fully see it yet." So TRUE. He is in control...and we must all remember that. Please know how much you and Cale are loved. And we all have such great memories of Dave...and will continue to lift you up in prayer as you struggle with the loss.


Anonymous said...


This blog and your gift of writing has truly touched many hearts. Your strength that you readily attribute to God's grace and Holy Spirit is very admirable. The love and peace that pours out from your soul is remarkable. I hope we all experience His special touch.

Dave's faith was very inspiring. Despite his struggles and early death, he continued to praise God through it all. We have all been blessed to have your family in our lives and we will continue to pray for the strength, peace, and comfort provided by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bless you and Cale and may Dave's memories be with us in our hearts forever. He will be missed, always loved, and we WILL see him again in God's time.

The Stellers

Anonymous said...

Your blog has been a true blessing and witness to us all...your faith and trust in God is inspiring.

The words that were spoken so lovingly at Dave's celebration of life were treasures to be saved and remembered by all who heard them.

Please allow those who love you, the honour of continuing to help you and Cale in any way we can.

Lifting you up in prayer... \0/

Phyllis C.

Anonymous said...


Thank-you so much for this posting. I've been checking the blog hoping to hear some additional words that would comfort the heartbreak I feel for our family and most particularly for you and Cale. I think of you often and while I know that the journey of this grief will be long and tough your beautiful spirit and huge community of friends and family will pull you through.

Ashley R.

Denise and Michael said...

My wife and I were privileged to have known Dave.

Dave and I worked in the trade some years back and remained friends. I remember he anguished some at the thought of going back to school. It takes courage to make such a life change, but he persevered and did what he was destined to do.

Dave worked hard and gained the respect of all that came into his life. Even still, he laughed often and treated everyone without prejudice, reaching out to anyone in sight that might need a hand. For this, he was my hero.

Cale, you are of the same character. The short time we spent together in Miami I was struck by how similar you are to your Dad. Persevere like your father, for you do have the traits for success, happiness and the ability to effect great change in the lives of those around you.

Val and Cale, my wife and I send you our love and support. We will always cherish our memories of Dave and our door is always open for you both.

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." ~ Helen Keller

Love, Denise and Michael Perlich

Judie said...

Val ... my "kindergarden" friend .. and then along came Dave in highschoool.

Although our lives were not always close as time passed by, we have kept in touch, played sports until we are too old to keep playing without those silly aches and pains .... and too "crazy" to know enough to stop!

I am truly thankful that we have remained friends, and thank you for allowing your friends to share your journey over the past 6 months.

Val, the words spoken at the service were so powerful and true about Dave being the larger then life guy he is really is. You are, without a doubt Dave's angel ... there for him through his struggle and always. Strong and brave for Dave and Cale ... it's a trait not all have - you, my friend, have that and more.

You are never alone, I hope the words in this blog bring you comfort and peace.

Judie Webb

Anonymous said...

Dear Val & Cale,

What a beautiful on-going tribute to a wonderful husband, father and friend. Thank you for the wonderful way in which you allowed all of us to journey with you. Your spirit, faith, and love shone through every time you posted to the blog. I am humbled to have been a part of it all and have been blessed over and over again.

I've said to Dave many times over the past number of months that this is a miracle in progress, and even though it didn't turn out the way we had hoped and prayed, I am aware of many other miraculous events that occurred along the way. A friend who didn't know Dave very well commented the other day, "the person Dave was touched many people in positive and profound ways; and maybe that legacy, in itself, is no small miracle." I know that is true and I pray that you will continue to be blessed for years to come as you hear testimonies of how lives have been impacted by your family's walk of faithfulness and love.

The Lord bless and keep you always.


Kayleen said...

What a wonderful article about Dave. It was nice to see another post. We are still thinking of you and hope you find peace if not understanding as you begin a new chapter in your life. Thank you for sharing the last few months of Dave's life on the blog. It put things into perspective. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to call. (heavy lifting? I can volunteer pete for that :) Please take care. You are in our thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this blog (especially this one) and for sharing Dave and your thoughts with all of us. You and Cale have been remarkable and it's easy to see why our dear friend Dave has loved you so much and for so long.
Thinking of you,
Kate Taggart

michelle and A.J. said...

Hey Val, I'm so glad you decided to keep up your blog, for now anyway.

I think of you every day.

And we keep praying for strength for you both.


Anonymous said...

Thanks or writing this, Val. I am very close to one of your foster children, who has a story much like Dave's. I know that you and Dave had an impact on his life.He is doing quite well.

Praying that you and Cale will be very aware of what Jesus did for his disciple during the storm. He doesn't promise that we will never go thru a storm, only that He will help us thru it to the other side.

A Sister

Anonymous said...

Ironically, June 11th,2010 marked the one year anniversary of losing my husband (Peter Age 52) to the same cancer. I have read alot of your blog and it certainly brought back alot of challenges, we walked many of the same steps throught the medical field as you. I have the same frustrations as to why a doctor lets chronic heartburn pass so easily, or not make this part of their annual questionaire or exam. I to have tried to spread the word to listen to the body and push for your better health care. Although, this does not bring them back, I have always hoped that this wisdom could save one young dad from this same journey.

May the angels of peace surround you and your loved ones...it is not an easy journey, and I would love to meet you some day perhaps.

Susan Diguer