May 14, 2019
Celebrating a Life: David Crabb
David Crabb admits he hasn't always been an emotional man, but as he sat watching his family and friends prepare for his celebration of life gathering, tears filled his eyes.
"I didn't use to emotional," the EveryStep Hospice patient says while holding the hand of his wife and caretaker, Brenda. "Now the slightest things make me cry."
Crabb, 55, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer last year. Doctors gave him two to six months to live, but he's beating those odds.
"I whooped it in the butt," he says. "I've had a lot of good days, and some not so good days."
On one recent good day, Crabb and Brenda, along with family and friends, gathered at EveryStep's Bright Kavanagh Center for an intimate celebration of life. The afternoon served as a time to tell stories, reminisce on the past and for Crabb to simply visit with his loved ones while enjoying pizza and cupcakes.
"It was kind of spur of the moment," Crabb notes of the gathering. "I wanted to celebrate my life instead of my death. I wanted to be surrounded by people who I care about. I wanted to celebrate my life while I still can."
Each guest took turns sharing stories about David and his life. When his young grandson stood to talk, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Crabb, who grew up on Texas, moved to Iowa nearly 30 years ago to be closer to his children. He has four sons and three daughters. He's been married to Brenda for three years, but they've been together for six.
"I couldn't have picked a better wife," he says. "I couldn't have picked a better woman to be in my life. She's taken care of me. I know it's hard on for her, but she does it all without complaining."
Brenda's been down the caretaker road before, having cared for her first husband before his death in 2009.
This time around, Brenda and David have had a bit of help in the form of their EveryStep Hospice team.
"God was looking out for me with this," David said of his hospice team. "He's taking care of me, and that's because of EveryStep."
As a patient with EveryStep, David says he's been able to find some peace and comfort, from music therapy to massages. The small thing have given him a little freedom from his disease, he says.
He also credits EveryStep with making it possible to visit his son one last time. Earlier this year, David's hospice social worker and others were able to arrange for David to visit his son in prison for about three hours.
"You guys made it possible," he said. "And I'm thankful for that. You guys have been a godsend, a blessing. There's no ifs, ands, or buts."
While the days are getting more difficult for David and his family, he says he's learned from his cancer.
"It makes you appreciate every day," he says. "I appreciate them more than I ever used to."
As for his family, David wants each of them to know how he really feels about them.
"I don't know how to show them, but I just want everyone to know I love them all," he said.