I’m cleaning my house and as I put away Legos and puzzles and Star Wars figures there are a few tiny tiny guns in corners of the couch or lodged under the TV.
Whether a fireman, policeman or Boba Fett— the little figures Roan builds with and plays with come with guns. Tiny guns.
When I first had Roan I stated, “he will never play with guns.” This is because six years ago Steve’s brother was randomly murdered by a guy with a gun. (http://www.danielpricememorial.org/)
Had this wild animal drug addict not had a gun, Daniel would still be alive. “my son will not play with guns.” Easier said than done. Even if your son doesn’t PLAY with guns, they come with every play set he receives. And if you get a “Caveman” Lego set there are STILL Weapons.
Anyway, Roan knows Daniel was killed by a man with a gun. But he doesn’t really get it. He won’t REALLY get it for many years.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of Daniel’s death. Daniel was funny. He laughed a lot.
I remember the phone call in the very middle of the night. When Steve’s dad told me “Daniel’s been killed. He’s gone” and I heard Steve’s mom wailing in the background I simply hung up the phone. I couldn’t fathom what I was hearing. They called back. Steve screamed. Then we were in the car speeding up to San Francisco (where it happened) stopping on the side of the road every so often, the smell of Harris Meat Ranch in the air, throwing up or shitting on the side of the highway in disbelief.
Daniel’s wife was in shock. She had lost her husband and also had to actually see with her own eyes the bullet go into his head. They had been at a Christmas party a few hours earlier. We were all to convene in New Orleans for Christmas in a few days. My dad flew up a few hours later. Having lost his wife at the same age- he was there as a friend and a support.
Moments later getting a call from my best friend who had just given birth to my fabulous God-son. Could some sort of spirit-transfer happened? Having to tell her, as she lay recovering, the news. Akward. What do you say? What don’t you say?
(my Godson now.)
Steve’s parents flew in from New Orleans. Shaking and stunned. Eventually funeral plans were made. We flew to New Orleans but not for the happy holiday we had planned. Friends met at the Price house. Sat with arms linked, hugs, how can this happen? Steve’s mother asked that I read the eulogy she had written for her SON. She couldn’t stand up. It’s only now I see the honor this was-the trust she placed in me to do this. I read the words. Kermit Ruffins and a big brass band Secondlined down the aisles of NOCCA the art school Daniel attended. A Jazz Funeral.
Somehow the family, his wife, all of us, were able to continue. Paralyzingly painful at first. And we will never be the same, as anyone who has ever lost anyone knows. This was so sudden and meaningless.
There is often a black cloud looming in me still. You don’t just bounce back. Even me… just the sister in law… I can’t quite 100% recover from that phone call. I remember coming home and my refrigerator was stocked with food my friend Annie had bought us so we wouldn’t have to go shopping. And my house had been cleaned by other friends. People reached out.
And after the distraction of the memorial the hardest part is returning to regular life. Having a friend going through breakup number 20 with her boyfriend and flippintly saying, “I honestly think it would be EASIER if he was DEAD.” Realizing I needed to let go of certain people in my own life. Wondering what WAS my own life. Not knowing how to react to normal things. How to “be.”
And now, six years later as I recount this terrible night I somehow feel Daniel saying to all of us “I’m ok.” Daniel was big. Charismatic, Sarcastic at times, magnetic. Just about to blow up as an artist. Left behind a legacy of beautiful works for us to have a piece of him on our walls.
And I know we will all be together again sooner than we know. And I am CERTAIN Daniel is doing something, I don’t know what, but something in the ether. Perhaps he’s painting rainbows. And to anyone who has ever lost someone— we will be reunited before we know it. It’s just a blip of time. Like M. Ward sings “Death is just a door, life is just a verse- you’ll be reunited on the other side.” But Daniel’s parents are somehow mastering living life as an art form. How can you not? It’s too beautiful. It’s ok to be broken but it’s also ok to heal and be happy. After my mother died I don’t think her parents were ever able to really find joy again. They pulled the covers up over their heads and went to sleep. I’ve seen there is another way.
We attend the Daniel Price Memorial PARTY— because it IS A PARTY every Dec. 23. Money is raised to send kids to NOCCA. Fireworks of music and color.
To see his brothers go on to have children of their own. Beautiful children.
And to see his wife go on and remarry, have a baby of her own two months ago. Life goes on. People speak of Daniel’s “Joie De Vivre.” In his honor we try our best to:
Daniel was a talented artist and a loving husband, brother, son, and friend. A native of New Orleans, Daniel was tragically murdered at the age of 28 in San Francisco while trying to protect his wife from a would-be assailant. We miss Daniel constantly, and put together this website so that others who knew and loved Daniel around the world, as well as those that were not so lucky, can continue to have Daniel bring them joy through his beatiful art and infectious smile. The Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists was established to give exceptional fine arts graduates of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) an opportunity to pursue higher educational studies in a fine arts discipline. The scholarship will enable future generations of young, talented artists like Daniel Price to follow their artistic passion while obtaining a college degree.