A Modern Love Story: Part Three

A Modern Love Story: Part Three

The heartfelt resolution of our heartwarming narrative.

Cathy and Dave’s story was far from over, however. Dave’s roommate, Carol, was pressing for Dave to be cremated and his remains buried in a military cemetery. However, Cathy knew that was against Dave’s wishes; multiple times before his death, he had outlined that he wanted to be buried in her family plot, alongside Cathy’s brother, where Cathy was to be buried as well; he wanted to be buried with his family. Carol wasn’t too keen on this idea. She flagrantly waved around the medical power of attorney which had been signed over the day before Dave entered the hospital. She claimed that an individual’s remains could not be divided up were they to be buried in a military cemetery. But that wasn’t all: Dave’s funeral in Minneapolis would not be held for another few weeks; Bob and Carol had a concert they wished to attend and that took precedence.

None of this sat right with Cathy. The domineering force with which Carol assured her that this is what Dave wanted; her putting a concert before her friend--none of it. Thus began a legal battle fighting for the cremains of Dave Jones. Cathy contacted a lawyer and did her own homework; Carol was mistaken in saying that all of Dave’s cremains were required for a burial in a military plot. She then told Cathy that she could have part of Dave’s cremains--but not until after his funeral in Minneapolis. Unable to talk any sense into Dave’s roommate, Cathy filed an injunction with all the necessary paperwork to bring Dave back home. All hell broke loose from that point forward.

Cathy received phone call after phone call with Carol on the other end spewing vicious insults and scorn.

“She told me ‘If I wanted half of Dave, that I could take him,’” said Cathy. “I just better hope she weren’t around to see it. I responded that Dave had never wanted a funeral in a military cemetery, that, before he died, he expressed how much he wanted to be buried by those who loved him. I told her that I’m doing what I think is right, otherwise I wouldn’t be digging my heels in so much. ‘Some Catholic you are,’ Carol replied and she hung up the phone.”

The weekend that Carol and Bob were out at their concert, Cathy made a quiet trek up to the Twin Cities alone. With all the required documentation in hand, she journeyed to the funeral home. Finally, half of Dave’s cremains were in her possession. She drove home listening to the songs they loved with the windows down, Dave riding shotgun.

Father Raphael conducted the service in the quaint Missouri Valley chapel. It was a rather simple one, little fuss but lots of love, just how Dave would have wanted it. The funeral was attended by Cathy, her children, and friends. Dave’s children, former lovers, and adoptive family had all been informed of his passing; all declined to attend.

After the memorial service, Cathy and her family drove from the church to the cemetery in her ruby red convertible, the top down, the wind blowing through their hair. She turned on the radio, blaring the music as she had done with Dave some several months prior and some 25 years earlier. On the radio, one of Dave’s favorite gospel songs was playing, one they had played at his funeral. It was called “Dear Younger Me;” it was a song centered on redemption. After the song came drew to an end, the station cut to a commercial break. Cathy turned the dial and the next station she landed was just beginning to play a song, stepping off with an upbeat rhythm and the strumming of an acoustic guitar, a melancholy tune that flooded back memories of video chats and nights spent under dimmed hospital lights: Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know.”

In case you didn't know
Baby I'm crazy 'bout ya
And I would be lyin' if I said
That I could live this life without ya
Even though I don't tell you all the time
You had my heart a long long time ago
In case you didn't know

In the back seat rode Cathy’s children, Danny and Piper. Teary eyed, Cathy turned around to face her daughter. Piper clutched Dave’s urn as he had once held her: in her lap, all-encompassed, safe, securing, and loving. Tears rolled down both of their cheeks. Before he had passed, Piper asked Dave for a sign that he would be there for her, watching over their little family. He delivered.

At the cemetery, Dave was given a proper military burial. Cathy and her family stood under the warming June sun, steady and erect, as the honor guard delivered a 21 gun salute. Cathy was handed her folded up flag; the Dave she had fought for, in life and in death, was lowered gently into the ground. He was buried surrounded by Cathy’s family; by his family.

“Ya know, the church and cemetery weren’t exactly bursting at the seams at Dave’s funeral,” said Cathy, “but he was remembered by the people who loved him the most. That’s what matters.”

Cathy Gore is still a happy, loving person. She’s continued dating; after all, she has a lot of love to give. But Dave does not stray very far from her mind. She used to listen to recordings and voicemails he had left her while they were together; however, one day, while at work, her phone died completely. She was unable to record the messages on another recording device and the lost messages were irretrievable.

“I miss the sound of his voice a lot,” said Cathy. “It was really hard for me to let go of those messages...now, when I want to hear him, it’s only in my memories. I could say I miss the way he used to look at me. But on this picture collage that I have hanging up on my sunroom, there are pictures of him giving me the look that I like. It just warms my heart.”

The caustic characters in this narrative still rear their heads on occasion; Dave’s roommates called Cathy asking for photos of Dave for the funeral up in Minneapolis. In the year that Dave had re-entered Cathy’s life, she had enough photos to fill a four by six collage, one that now sits in her sunroom. In the over ten years that Dave lived in Minneapolis with his roommates, they did not have a single photo of him. Dave’s son visited Cathy once, too. Dave had left a car in Cathy’s possession after his death, one that Dave’s son wanted. The car sat in Cathy’s driveway for a year. When he finally came around, there was not an ounce of empathy on his face. He kicked the tires a bit, circled the car a few times, and smiled; it was like Christmas morning for him.

“Is that all his life meant to you,’ I thought, ‘just a car?’” wondered Cathy. “Dave’s whole life, even after it, people were just there to take, take, take. I thought to myself, ‘It’s no wonder he developed cancer. It was just a physical manifestation of all the toxic people who had been in his life since the very beginning.’ All any of us really want in our journey here is to love and be loved and that was denied to him time and time and time again. For fifty years, he felt unloved and unwanted. And for his last one, he was with us.”

"Now, when I want to hear him, it’s only in my memories. I could say I miss the way he used to look at me. But on this picture collage that I have hanging up on my sunroom, there are pictures of him giving me the look that I like. It just warms my heart."

Dave is still remembered, in the photo collage, in the loving memories of Cathy and her children. He is still prayed for.“At church, we have All Souls’ Day in November,” said Cathy, “and the purpose of that service is to remember all the loved ones that have passed in the past year. Every family gets to carry up a candle in honor of their loved one, and of course we chose to honor Dave, and then everyone in our congregation prays for their immortal souls. Piper carried up the candle for our little family. I still struggle with the impact this had on the kids. But every time I saw people turn their backs on Dave, the more I wanted to embrace him as a part of our family. At the end of the day, I made the decision that sits well with me. There are far worse things in the world for my kids to see than love.”

Dave reentered Cathy’s life on June 3, 2016. He passed away on June 5, 2017. It was not a matter of the length of love, but of depth. In 367 days, he gained a family. In 367 days, he found God. In a year and two days, Dave Jones lived his whole life.

“Loving him was all-consuming,” said Cathy. “You know you love somebody when you put their needs ahead of your own and I think we have, Dave and I, a pretty unique love story, and I’m thankful that God saw fit to bring him back into my life and to use me in the capacity that He did, to be there for that man. Because I would ask Dave, ‘Do you feel loved? I want you to feel loved, because I have it for you in every fiber of my being.’ And he always would reply, ‘Yes. Yes, my angel. You make me feel loved.’ And you can see it in the way he looked at me when I was taking his pictures or how he held my hand. It was the most profound relationship, and it was only a year. But wow. What an impact it made. For both of us.”

Cathy grew up as a devout Catholic, and, while a journey like this may cause someone to turn their back on God, it strengthened her connection. She sees the experience as a life lesson; she felt the whole journey has helped her to find love again, to experience a kind of love she thought she forgot about. And how could she turn against God after a love like that? Daily, she talked to God and to Dave.

“I have never prayed for a person the way I have for Dave. I prayed everyday for a miracle,” Cathy said. “And every day, every day with him, it was.”

Cover Image Credit: Cathy Gore

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.

Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.

Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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There Is More: My Response To Seeing Hillsong In Concert

God is continuing to work on my heart, and heal me from things of my past.


I was able to attend a Hillsong Worship concert over the weekend with my friends, and it was one of the greatest things I have ever experienced.

I have been to one other worship concert in my life, and it was not anything like this one.

Being able to see Hillsong in the flesh was amazing, and to be able to just spend the evening worshipping was much needed. Being able to surrender my fears to God is so freeing.

I have spent years hanging on to things that I should not be carrying anymore, and every time I go to a worship concert, I learn to let go a little more. God is continuing to work on my heart, and heal me from things of my past.

It has been 7 years now since my life changed forever, and I still see God working every day. It isn't something that is going to change overnight, but I know with a certain amount of trust, He can turn things around for me. I am so thankful for the way that I have seen Him move mountains in my life.

God continues to amaze me with His grace and I was able to witness so much of it at the concert I went to. There is something beautiful being in a room surrounded by thousands of believers all coming together for one reason. Jesus. It is not often when you can just worship, and not have to worry about the people around you.

My hope after this concert is that lives were changed, and people can proclaim the name of Jesus in their workplaces, homes, and all other places. Jesus is worthy of all praise, all the time. I will forever remember seeing Hillsong Worship, and how I felt throughout that whole concert.

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