Yesterday, word quickly spread that David Grega, perhaps best known for his prominent role on the Pagan Centered Podcast, passed away after a sudden cardiac arrest. In addition to co-founding PCP, an irreverent podcast that garnered a large and appreciative audience for its no-holds-barred style, Dave also helped in the running and development of the Proud Pagan Podcasters, was an important early voice in the formation of the Pagan Newswire Collective, and co-founded Lonestar Pagan, the Texas bureau of the PNC. Dave was a key figure in Pagan new media, constantly tinkering, trying out new ideas and technologies in order to more effectively do the work at hand. He had a personality and energy that was almost impossible to ignore, and we are all poorer for his absence.
“If there’s something you’ve been meaning to do for a while, start planning to get it done. If there’s something you don’t want to do – find an honorable way to stop doing it. If someone needs something and you like them and you can more than afford it (and they’re not a needy do-nothing)… give it to them. And for gods’ sake – don’t forget to tell people how much you value them before they keel over and die. Funerals are not a particularly useful time to tell someone how much they meant to you. I notice most people’s fears about death have more to do with regrets than anything else.” – Dave Grega
While tributes to Dave have started to pour in, I think these words from Amber Roth, one of the original co-founders and hosts of the Pagan Centered Podcast, are perhaps the most appropriate at this time.
“It’s hard to know what to say when a friend passes, let alone where to start. I remember the first time I met Dave it was way back when he had a pagan group at Clarion Campus in Pennsylvania. Even then, Dave was someone who was beyond outspoken. He would pull new visitors into conversation and loved the idea of friendly debate. Even our very first interaction started with me trying to observe from the background and him pulling me into a conversation with, “Well YOU look like you have some interesting stories”, and then dragging thoughts from me. It seems like such a small memory to focus on, but it was the beginning of such an important part of my life.
I could talk about how kind a person Dave was, or how bright of a light he was for all of us. But instead of all the sappy memories, what comes to mind is all the debating that our friendship entailed. Dave Grega was an important friend in my life, but not because he was full of feel good conversation. It was because he wasn’t afraid to tell you what he thought. Not because he was mean-spirited (even though sometimes he had as much social grace as as a blindfolded buffalo in a china shop) but because he didn’t feel that holding observations back when they had the possibility of stirring positive change. It didn’t matter if he was talking to a “Big Name Pagan”, a friend, or a random guest on the podcast, he would speak his mind. He wasn’t afraid to question or push for change on taboo and complex issues and he encouraged others to do the same.
Life won’t be the same without post-producing his laugh to be a reasonable volume, or hearing his snarky disapproval when I was being stubborn in making a hard decision. But if I can pull anything positive out of this tragedy, is that Dave was able to pass at a time in his life where he had found happiness. He had a loving relationship with a brand new baby girl to bring light into his life. He lived his life to the fullest, and with little regret. He pushed hard to meet standards that he put himself up to without asking for acceptance or permission. He was one of the bravest people I know, I feel honored to have had him in my life as a dear friend. Not only for the times where we were able to laugh and joke, but for the all the times that he cared enough to tell me when he disagreed and pushed me past my comfort levels to become more of the person I am today…as I am sure he has done for countless others.
Dave Grega, you will be deeply missed my friend. I don’t think I can find the words to properly express the loss that we feel, but know that we’ll remember you always.”
Finally, here is a prayer from Lamyka, host of Lamyka’s Wiccan Podcast, who worked and collaborated with Dave.
Death Prayer of Dave Grega
Composed by Lamyka
Harsh rapids flow
against banks of ice.
Your life and loss
carves scars into us all.
Yet now Lord and Lady guided,
softer shores abound.
Swifter currents yield
at happy gurgling sound.
Flow now as Life, Herself.
Be at Peace.
On now western shores
all hurts smoothed and gone.
Light of the Gods
wrap you warm.
Plans for a memorial are currently in progress, as are plans to raise funds so that his mother can attend his funeral. Once I have that information, I will update this post. My sincere condolences go out to all of Dave’s friends and family, may his spirit rest with the gods and return to us again.