As told by Sara J. Levy, one of the best friends & bridemaids.
When it finally stopped snowing back in May and summer appeared to be on the horizon, it looked like it was going to be a good one. There were lots of weddings, showers, and parties ahead, and to top it off, one of my best friends Katie Hennemuth got engaged in the beginning of June. I crashed the impromptu family celebration at Katie’s parents’ house, because being one of the few friends living “at home” always gives me the right to do that. Over the next few weeks, lots of things changed in ways I could not imagine. Unfortunately, in early June my grandmother passed away. This wasn’t a tragedy by any means, just a sad season of life and it made me very sad. Being the supportive friend she has always been, Katie made plans to come home for the funeral. They were ultimately thwarted by the cancer we refer to today as Dave. I recall her texting me that she was on the bus coming home, but she was going to have to miss the funeral because she needed to go back to New York and see a surgeon immediately: she had a mass on her sinuses and possibly on her brain as well- oh and, “by the way, I’m calling it Dave.” There is no doubt that from that moment forward, I hated Dave. I think I even hated anyone else I encountered who, by no fault of their own, had been named Dave. (Shout out to the good Daves!)
First time seeing the patient
However, now that the summer is over and I, as any good Jesuit-educated individual would do, am able to reflect on the past three months, I feel more inclined to thank Dave. To be clear, I do not wish him well and I do not want him to survive or thrive. I want him to know that his existence resulted in amazing events and moments, and has forced many to grow and evolve tremendously in a short period of time. It’s funny: when you’re 30(ish) years old in 2014 and your best friends are spread all over the East Coast, you forget you don’t actually talk to them every day. You communicate with them every day, via text messaging and g-chatting and social media, but you go these really long stretches of time not actually talking. Well thank you, Dave, because that all changed really quickly. Thank you for forcing me to be okay with not working every single day, and instead getting in the car with my #1 co-pilot Rachel Sweeney, and driving to NYC on a random weekday afternoon. This sometimes proved more productive than being in the office anyway, since I usually talked on the phone the whole way while Rachel responded to my emails. Thank you, Dave, for making Vonna spend more time in town than she has since college. As Sarah Kranick said at one point, “I just want us all to be together.” Vonna was home so she could be close to Katie if she needed anything, and there was just an immediate comfort in being together with best friends. (I think more the latter for Vonna, since she is notorious for being afraid of vomit and germs and dirty pillow cases.) I felt the same way, even though I am admittedly not the most attentive caregiver either. I am happy to be most supportive during naptime!
The attentive babysitter.
Celebrating being released from Sloan and America on 4th of July!
And Dave, even when you were really wreaking havoc and it seemed like every test result came back worse than before, you were making us all that much stronger. I was actually talking to my best friends, every day. In the midst of one of the worst updates we got, Katie Perry (not that one) called me. She seemed to be kind of whispering and crying at the same time. I asked her where she was, and she told me she was on the floor in the “pumping room” at her office. It was perfect timing because it made us both start laughing out loud. This was also around the time the ‘God Squad’ was formed. This little Jewish girl learned AND participated in the rosary on several occasions and almost got caught on camera attending Novena. And, Dave, DOZENS of family, friends, and extensions thereof gathered one Sunday in July when a mass and Novena were offered in Katie’s intention.
Some of Team Kate at the Novena
Even though this summer never should have been about you, it was. In summary, everything has a silver lining, even a jerk like you. You brought a family, a group of friends, and a community together in support of one of my best friends. And this time next year, I will be proud to stand by Katie and Kyle as they get married- an event 10 years in the making. And guess what Dave- YOU’RE NOT INVITED!
Some of the Maids with the Bride