Show Up – There is a lot behind that simple phrase. I’ve been thinking about it today for a few reasons. One is because I recently had a chance to send birthday wishes to a wise friend who impressed upon me the importance of “showing up” at a funeral. I don’t think anyone likes going to a funeral, but it means so much to the family when you “show up”.
Sometimes it is easy to identify when you need to show up – an invitation arrives, or there is an announcement int he paper or on Facebook. But most of the time, knowing when and how to show up is an elusive target to hit.
David was the type of kid to show up for others. A smile in the hallway, stopping to greet school staff that was largely ignored, sharing a hug with someone who looked like they needed it. He wasn’t perfect, but he practically was.
We were graced by many people who showed up during David’s illness. Most especially, his good friends, who could have turned away to their teenage interests, but instead, they showed up in tiny, meaningful ways. They just kept treating him normally, until he was hospitalized and they couldn’t. And when that happened, they found rides to the hospital that was an hour away. They showed up.
Life moves on, with or without us. David died 8 years ago today. Many people will just vaguely remember that kid from high school that got cancer. But some people still show up. They do it in a text with a funny story about him or a well timed card in the mail. They do it when they hold my eye for a bit longer than they normally would. They do it by wearing a shirt or sharing a joke.
Those who knew David would know that he would be so happy to know that his friends still have a connection with his family. And even those who didn’t know David probably know how happy he is that we are funding research more aggressively because of him.
Maybe you aren’t sure how to show up for a friend who needs you right now. Let me assure you that it is easier than you think. Words aren’t necessary. Just let them know you see them. David was the master at that. I wish I had learned that skill from him a little better before he left us.
Here’s your invitation to show up today, or this month, for kids like David. Give a few bucks, wear some grey, Zoom with a friend who is lonely. Show up now for those who can’t.