This update is especially heartbreaking for me, but Ashly Burch emailed me a little story about David to share. I don't want to divulge too much information about David and Ashly's relationship, but I will say when they met on the set of Must Come Down, it was an amazing attraction. Their lives were almost parallel to those of the characters in the film in the craziest of ways. The first comment I usually get about the film is that David and Ashly have such great chemistry. I was so happy that my friend had found such a lovely gal. Here you go, from Ashly Burch:
As I write this, I'm looking at a picture of Davey that Michael took when he was in Michigan for Seth and May's wedding. He's holding a guitar, which fits so easily and comfortably against his knee and in the crook of his arm, as if it were made for him. His beard is full. His hairline falls just below his ears. He looks especially handsome, appropriately placed among stalks of tall grass.
I'm David's partner. At his wake, David's step-mother introduced me to her grandchildren as David's “true love.” As much as the memory of that moment pains me, it's also one of my proudest. David Fetzer, of all the women that adored him (of which there were many, across several states), picked me to love. There is no higher honor. There is no greater achievement or joy.
But to try to explain why David is so special – to explain why exchanging love with him is so special – is impossible. All the ways I could excuse myself for my inability to do so are cliché. All I can do is share a story.
I have problems with anxiety, the nuances of which I never fully expressed to anyone, until I met David. I told him everything. Everything I thought was too embarrassing or disturbing or off-putting, I showed him. He accepted it all, and loved me despite it.
One particular day, I was feeling very disassociated, which is a common side effect of my anxiety. I disengage, it's hard to connect directly with others. But when that happens with someone that you love more than anyone, it becomes distressing. Guilt and frustration and stress creep into you and fester. I began stumbling through an apology for my disconnectedness, launching into an explanation of my ludicrous mental state. David stopped me. He pulled me into a hug, and kissed me on the forehead. He told me that I didn't need to apologize or explain. He said, “I know you.” He told me he loved me. And that was that.
His pure understanding, his genuine love and compassion in that moment filled me to the brim. It made me cry to think about even before he passed. Now moreso. The void David has left in my life is enormous. I honestly don't know how to fill it, or if I ever will. But I'm lucky. I'm so incredibly lucky. David loved me. And I get to keep loving him, for however much time I've got left.
The beauty in that, for me, is equal to the pain.