Sunday, January 18, 2009

Memorials Are For the Living

Memorials are for the living.

This is what my friend V. tells me when I tell him about Todd, about Todd's death and how I was having a hard time with it.

Memorials are for the living.

So it was today.

The service was for the memory of Todd Drew, and the service was also for the living.

It was for Todd's wife, for his father-in-law, for his brother, for his sister, for his closest friend, for his colleagues at the ALCU and even, yes, for those of us that knew him only from the blogging.

Todd had a gift for storytelling, so it's only fitting that the stories told about him, about his love for the Yankees, about his love for justice and freedom in all forms, about his childhood, about his writing, were so colorful and so wonderful. As though, for that brief hour or two, Todd was with us yet again, telling us about Javier and Henry and Carlos and the Stadium and the coffee shop and the ALCU.

There were songs, too, and we ended by standing and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", and I'm not sure there could have been any other way or any better way to finish.

See, Todd understood about baseball. He understood that it wasn't just about the score or the stats or the season ticket holder.

He knew it was about the workers building the new stadium, the kids playing in a parking lot because their parkland is gone, the bond between parent and child, cheering for their favorite players because they're from Puerto Rico or whatever reason, no matter how arbitrary. He knew it was about the conversation the next day, about the peace brought by the cracker-jack man and the ritual of the seventh inning stretch.

And for a little while today, we all got to know, too. Pete Abraham got to know it. Alex Belth got to know it. Anthony Romero got to know it, and so too did everyone there.

I'll keep singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", long after the season starts. I'll sing it, and I look to the tier, where Todd should be sitting, and I'll make Todd live again, just for me, just for that moment.


Got so caught up in writing I nearly forgot:

Donations can be made in Todd’s memory to any of these organizations:

125 Broad Street, 18th Floor,
New York, NY 10004

Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Inc,
1930 Randall Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10473

The Doe Fund,
232 East 84th Street,
New York, NY 10028
(Helps the homeless)


  1. Thanks, Rebecca.

    I cannot stop crying about this. Thank you for mentioning Javier, et al. These are people I didn't really think about except because of Todd. It is a rare person indeed who can leave a mark on people that they've never actually met.

    He started a facebook recently and chose me as a friend. I was honored.

    It's always struck me that funeral/memorial services in my religion do not emphasize personal stories/memories as much as others do, though I believe if it is insisted upon, the wish is accommodated. I am all for raising the soul, but being able to keep the person alive through sharing his life experiences, giving people something to think about, something that might remind you of them, is precious.

    I know, even though I wasn't there, I will think about Take Me Out to the Ballgame in a different way. It will be personal.

    Thanks, Rebecca

  2. Thank You Rebecca.
    I only recently became aware of Todd, His love of baseball, and his writing.

    My condolences to his family, and all the people he touched in such a positive way.

    I can't help but think that my Grandfather (who was buried wearing his Yankee cap) has a new fan to watch games with. RIP Todd

  3. Rebecca,

    I did not know Todd Drew or read him until I saw the post on the blog about his passing and the memorial service. Makes me wish I found out about him earlier.