“My Brother: Citizen Dave”

by thubten

When I was in high school I was in the marching band, where I played bass drum. I played bassoon in the concert band and electric bass in the jazz ensemble. I was very musical. My music classes, groups and performances made my teen years bearable. A big part of that effect was my friends, nearly all of whom were in the band.

One of my friends, Nedra Johnson, played Sousaphone in marching band and tuba in the orchestra. She was happy and fun, and I loved being around her. Nedra has continued expressing herself through music.

We re-connected for a while after I returned from the navy, but drifted apart after I moved to Silicon Valley to pursue my dream job at Apple Computer. We probably wouldn’t have crossed each other’s paths again without the internet and social networking web sites.

First it was on Classmates.com and then on Facebook, we followed one another’s lives, from afar. We haven’t seen each other in person in nearly twenty years, and yet we are closer now than we were in high school.

Nedra has been interacting with me, and with the members of the Facebook Group, “My brother: Citizen Dave,” since April of 2009, when she began sharing with us her brother Dave’s life and experiences, as he received treatment for cancer.

We followed Dave through his treatment, through his going into and coming out of the hospital, through his frustrations with the health care system, through the joys of blue popsicles and ice chips, and through his last eight months of life.

We were told by Nedra today that Dave left his body on Monday. In many ways I was closer with Dave, although we did not know each other, than I have been with many people in my life, past or present.

Being brought in to Dave’s life through Nedra’s Facebook posts has been a gift. I have learned so much about myself, about Nedra and her family, and about life itself.

Nedra’s final post about Dave:

“In Loving memory of my brother, Dafydd Gordan Johnson ♥
~ 4/24/66 – 12/14/09 ~”

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