July 30th, 2019


Saturday, July 27th: Dana's memorial

Tiredness and time are part of why I'm writing this only now. But I'm better and more rested now, so:

Dana Thompson's memorial was Saturday. For maybe the first time since September 2011, I took the buses up to Woodlawn Park, where Atomic Arts — including Dana — performed Trek in the Park for its first two seasons, where her memorial, suitably, correctly, was held. (Any bar Dana liked wouldn't have been big enough for the crowd.) Dozens of people, maybe a hundred-plus, arrived in the park's theater bowl, on the park's north end. The skies initially were overcast and the air was cool; as the event went on, the clouds burned off and the sun said hi. And we ate donated food, looked at a display of photos of Dana and her many friends, and spoke about what Dana meant to so many of us.

We swore a lot. We found moments where, even after everything, we laughed. We shared anecdotes and poems and the songs she'd loved. We cried.

Several people, including Dana's mom (here from Kansas City, Missouri, Dana's hometown) spoke. I considered taking the mic, but decided not to. What could I add? Would I say anything worthwhile? I could have spoken toward what grief is like: it'll hit you at unexpected times in unexpected ways, it'll sometimes drain you and tire you out, and it's simply something you have to work with and work through because you cared and care about someone lost. But I wanted to hear from those who knew her better, who would have more to say directly about her. And I didn't speak because I feared making Dana's death about me.

And people did so. I heard about her day job with Multnomah County Health, about her music work, about her performance work, about her love of Getting Out And Busting Moves (she danced so much), about her Bullshit Detector (and the look she could give you if she was calling you on yours), about how she was there for so many of us when we needed help or a push in the right direction. And now her memory has to be a substitute. But we'll remember her.

The memorial happened, and it was needed. It was tiring, as I was expecting; I took it easy getting home and continued to take it easy when I was back at the house.