Just attempting to write this title has me wiping tears off my keyboard.
While I’m going through the motions typically associated with what folks do when a loved one passes, I honestly don’t know what to do right now. It’s like I’m numbly navigating a painful void. As I prepared David’s obituary yesterday, I found some comfort in writing. This all still hurts and varying emotions come and go in waves. Harnessing them when I can seems to help with processing them.
I was very lucky to have two strong father figures in my life, one of which was David Watson Gregory.
I owe so much to David. He was always there for me, supported me, and taught me so very much. I’ll always be indebted to him. I cherish all of the moments we had together. From the basics like taking me to school, to my first date, to my first school dance, to get fitted for my first suit. Countless days working on his fields, digging a basement, and eating too much food.
While I was still around, regularly checking in, helping a bit, and grabbing some hearty meals with him — I regret not spending more time with him over the last few years. I could have spent so much more.
I’d give anything to spend another day with him. One I’m sure would be filled with pranks, jokes, a bit of hard work, and eating.
David was a bit under the weather for the last few weeks, ignoring many of our calls for him to get checked out. Even then, this was all so very unexpected.
Please, if someone tells you to go to the doctor — just go. My regret is not pushing that more. He was briefly open to it but then turned to his stubborn ways.
On Friday September the 1st, I started my day planning how I was going to spend a long work sabbatical that just started. After sleeping in and starting some laundry, I began checking on David. I was going to break the news that he’d be seeing me more and I’d be more freely available to help around the house and his property.
After a few attempts, no response. It wasn’t completely unusual for him to miss my text or phone calls for a day or so, sometimes going into hermit mode. So I carried on, grabbed some lunch, and eventually joined some friends to socialize a bit. I planned on turning in early to prepare for a long day with David.
While chatting with friends, I slowly realized that David and I hadn’t called or texted one another since Tuesday night. We had talked about getting a new mattress for him and a friend’s mother. He was always so giving. The plan was set for Saturday September 2nd. I’d come to him, grab him and his F-250, and head to Cleveland to browse through some mattress options together.
As I realized he hadn’t called since then, hadn’t replied to my texts, and hadn’t answered me — I quickly logged into our shared Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube accounts. No activity since Tuesday night. When David was resting, he always tended to binge YouTube. The last video watched was around 9:22pm Tuesday. I then checked his phone logs — no new calls or texts since Tuesday.
Something was wrong. I tried to reassure myself that perhaps he was taken to the hospital but no one informed me. Or, maybe he fell and was laying around waiting on me to come check on him. Hopefully nothing more than a little dehydrated. My girlfriend and I left our friends and headed his way.
At 7:39pm on September 1st, 2023, I called 911 followed by friends and family.
The next few hours were spent waiting, explaining, talking. I mostly felt a numb emptiness shrouded by fear, anxiety, regret, doubt, and rage.
David had passed.
I think this is all I have left in me for now.
I’ll try to follow-up with more. More positive reflections on David’s life and legacy.
Again, please go to the doctor. Especially if someone suggests that you do. While we’re still unsure the cause, this all feels like it may have been something preventable. It was so unexpected.
Check in on your people more. Spend a bit more time with those you love.
I’ll be posting updates, mostly on social media, and contacting friends and family regarding arrangements. It’ll take some time
David was far more than just a lineman; he was a man whose work boots could never quite contain his immense dedication to hard work—a guiding principle in every facet of his life. From hoisting power lines to crafting intricate woodworking projects, his hands were rarely idle.
While he’d humbly deny it, his varied interests painted him as a renaissance man in blue jeans – one with uncommon intellect. A meticulous & humble woodworker, amateur WWII historian, puzzle enthusiast, and tinkerer. His love for his hobbies and helping others was only surpassed by his love for tending to his land, his dogs, mowing, and let’s not forget—eating. A man whose appetite for work and helping others was as robust as his appetite for a good meal.
Witty, ornery, and always ready with a prank or two, David was a master of playful pestering.
A private man by nature, he had a close-knit circle of friends and family that he cherished deeply and would go to any lengths to help and protect.
David was a man who found immense joy in life’s simple pleasures—a well-executed prank, a freshly mown lawn, an evening with his dogs on his lap, and a hearty meal. Always authentic and living life on his own terms, David leaves behind a legacy of love, many well-placed jokes, and laughter. He will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of truly knowing him.