My husband and I attended a workshop conducted by Dr. Freeman in February 1999 when I was completing my Master's in Applied Behavioral Psychology at LIOS in Seattle. I just want you to know his teachings were inspirational, healing, and long-lasting. Blessings to his family. David did much good in life. Thank you and Namaste.
I am a friend and colleague of David Freeman's for over thirty years... David was a real Mensch, a man to admire and emulate. It's difficult to think of an English term that conveys the special sense of respect, dignity and approbation conveyed by the Yiddish phrase, "a real Mensch". Together with Judith and separately, David was a generous host, a loyal friend and a dependable and remarkable colleague. I remember sitting with David and Judith in a downtown restaurant, when David turned to me and asked if I didn't agree that Judith was beautiful. It was a spontaneous loving moment, one of many, that typified David's love for his wife. As a couple, David's and Judith's lives were intertwined and I know that their connectedness in shared family, work and leisure time means that Judith's loss is as though part of herself is now missing. David loved his children and his three grandsons Callam, Zack and Joey. His message to them would be - stay connected to family. Because of the connections David made to family, friends and community, our loss is enormous and his memory is a blessing.
David was always the anchor in a chaotic world. The steady pilot, our GPS. Unusual that you could look back and say there is nothing negative, all our memories are positive from the initial jovial hello , the big hug to the patient listener. To all of the family and the future generations you should know that David was a delightful positive influence no matter who he came in contact with. His loss leaves us with a huge void in our lives and we will keep him alive by our many enlighten memories.Thank you David.
Jerry and Dale
I met David Freeman in 2002, I was a single, commitment phobic guy and I heard him speak at the Jewish Community Centre on intimacy. It was that night that the information he relayed pretty much changed my life forever, personally and professionally. About a year later, I met a woman and started working on myself according to Family Systems Theory. I then read his book. Two years later, I was married. After I moved to Toronto, I called David to see if he would be my Supervisor. He agreed. For two years, David was was my Supervisor and during that time, I became pretty much convinced to leave the field of individuals and work on families, as well as my own family. My father passed away 3 months ago and David was instrumental in helping me cope with my Father's passing and staying connected to him. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Freeman and what an incredible impact he had on my life.
It is extremely difficult to put into words the powerful impact David has had on our lives. David was a beautiful combination of a favorite teacher, a wise father, and a close trusted friend. He will be sorely missed by us but we can share our respect by living in a way that honors the lessons that he taught and the example he set forth for both Carrie and I.
Carrie and Dereck D.
I just can't imagine what you and your family must have been through, my heart truly goes out to you all. David had a huge impact on my emotional life. Without his relentless patience, tremendous insight and guidance, I can guarantee I wouldn't be where I am today; both as an individual and in my marriage. I'll miss him beyond his professional role, for his zest for life and his humility. I will continue to call on him in my head when I need his wisdom. His spirit will without any doubt remain with me. I am so truly sorry for your loss.
Almost 25 years ago, I attended a workshop where I heard David speak about Family Systems. I remember that day because I was smitten with the magic of his persona and the wisdom of his words. I was lucky to be able to benefit from Family Systems workshops through the Vancouver School Board and to eventually be a client and to have our family grow with David's counselling. When we had to face medical traumas, David helped me find the courage to face what I thought I never could do. I learned he was right and I have never looked back. Today, we have a respectful marriage and 2 children aged 22 and 29 who are self-sufficient and confident. The paths we would have taken could not have brought us to the place where our family unit is strong and secure. May David's memory be a blessing for you, his family, and we too promise to keep his memory a part of the way we are in our daily lives.
Hildy, Geoffrey, Joel and Mira B.
My husband Harvey and I had seen David for 3 years prior to Harvey's death and I continued on. To Judith and all David's family, I send my deepest sympathy. I want you to know that I and many others hold you in an ever widening circle of love and support. David was an extraordinary man who I was blessed to have known. He had a big heart, filled with so much wisdom. David always saw what I could do and somehow it became so. I will miss you dear friend, but I will never forget. Shalom
I was part of the Vancouver School Board group of Teachers and Educators who got together to work with David. For five years, we came together to learn more about Family Systems theory from David. My career and personal life were profoundly influenced by his teachings. He was patient, encouraging and humorous in his relationship with us. I will always cherish the memory of him sitting back in his chair, smiling, while asking a provocative question and waiting patiently for the answer that would truly make me think. David, I reached many 'a, ha" moments and I thank you for those for those penetrating lessons and for the encouragement to take risks and make extensive changes in my thinking. You were a brilliant teacher and an inspiration in my life. You will always remain in my heart and I will always hear your voice in my mind saying, put yourself in the anxiety and be your own safe witness. So with enormous gratitude, I leave this message. It is a huge loss.
Thank you, David for being one of the pivotal people in my life.
I want to say how much David really influenced my work as a therapist. There is a beautiful story about the bus driver's eyes, the child that had terrible trauma and really terrible things going on. Somehow, the kindness and love in the bus driver's eyes allowed this child to develop something important. I tell that story to many, many of my clients and I even try to be that person some of the time. I am deeply grateful for that. I wish his family great healing from your loss.
I remember my colleague Dr. David Freeman with fondness and admiration because of the warmth and caring of his approach to people and the outstanding nature of his teaching, writing, practice of Family Therapy and leadership qualities in all he undertook. I particularly remember our work together in 1975, when, along with others, we established the Western Canadian Family Therapy Conference. Additionally, we taught separate courses in 1982, and 1983 at the Western Regional Institute of Family Service Association of America in Monterey, California. I so enjoyed the relaxing social times we spent together there. My sincere condolences to his family...
My husband and I were clients of David's for 8 years. He was the best thing that every happened to us. We arrived as an intact couple. David suggested a reconfiguration of the family unit. We separated. I was so angry. I used to come into the office and say... we were an intact unit when we arrived and look at us now. You broke us apart. Who is going to put us back together again? He was so patient, I didn't understand it. I didn't know why, I just accepted everything he said... his wisdom... I just knew I had to follow what he said, I just didn't understand it. It was such a mystery. We are together again. We put ourselves back together again. David taught us how. I learned so much; we both did. The way I honor David, the way I will always honor David; I will remember what he taught us. That is the way I can remember David. We will be an intact couple. I will never have the fears I once had. He is so missed.
I have had a very long relationship with David and was very sorry to hear of his passing. In fact, I was just talking about him with one of my staff. We were talking about Family of Origin work which is what David helped us with in such a great way for over a period of about 10-12 years. He trained my team leaders, managers, and foster parents. Over that time, I felt like I became very close to him. He was a great counsellor; he gave me great counsel when I had troubles with my work. It was terrific to go to his office and just sit in a quiet light and tell him about my life... or go and talk with him at the Good Earth Cafe and tell him all that was happening with my family and my work. I feel honored to have had him in my life for a period of time and I am very sorry that he is gone. I wish him well wherever he is; I hope he's having a great laugh.
I've known David for over 35 years. I've travelled, dined, talked, argued and shared great intimacy over those years. He's one of a few people in my life that I can say I have through thick and thin with. I want you to imagine him at the age of 67, a somewhat newly minted Canadian Citizen, this after 35 years of residency; by way of Los Angeles and before that, New York; still speaking in an incontestably "Brooklynish" accent, arriving at Hornby Island, BC, with, as he put it laughingly, a briefcase in one hand, and a chainsaw in the other. He was a grower of potatoes and onions and ideas. David once described an exchange between himself and a graduate student at UBC, who asked him somewhat facetiously, so, Dr. Freeman, what is the meaning of life? To which he responded, "well, I am going to answer that for you. Before the age of 40, you think you have all the time in the world and that you can change things. But around 40, if you're lucky, you begin to realize that you really can't change things and you don't have all the time in the world. But don't worry about it he said. You're not 40, and so your job us to get busy and try and change a few things around here." Not so long ago, I presumptuously asked David how at the very center of his being he would identify himself; Social Worker, writer, husband, Jewish man, therapist? Who was at the center of all this activity? He answered immediately and said, a Humanitarian, and he laughed. Humanitarians are in much need right he said, and he laughed again. And what always had with me was that warm, ironic laughter. With Dave, it was always above, at, and below the surface of pretty much everything. I'm lucky to have it, but I'll miss him terribly.
David, with our love, Ivy and Peter, Grandma Jean, Danielle, Josh, Grandchildren... we're going to miss you an awful lot...
I met David round 1976/1977. I was a third year Psychiatry resident doing an outpatient rotation. What I began to hear was laughter and fun happening in the room next door. I went over to see what was going on and found David, then a young professor of Social Work, teaching a Family Therapy seminar to Master's students. David immediately invited me to stay and the next day, I obtained permission from my supervisor to attend for the whole year. It was an extraordinary opportunity and David's seminar was one of the most meaningful, influential and joyful experiences in my psychiatric training. Later, we worked together in private practice. We would join each other one afternoon a week, treating especially difficult families. In the process, his daughter Amy and my daughter Sandy became friends, which gave us so much pleasure and joy. It's impossible to say what I learned from David. Perhaps the most important thing was to see him in action, his intelligence, knowledge and the respect and compassion with which he approached people. I can't believe David is gone, he is still teaching me with his sudden death. He's saying, life is precious and short. Make time for the people you love and show them your appreciation and gratitude. I regret I didn't get to see him more often in the last few years. I am so grateful for the family for providing this space to say my good-byes. I offer you my deepest condolences. May his memory be for a blessing.
David was my therapist for over 20 ears and was clearly the single most influential person in my life over this time frame. His passing is a huge loss and I'm sure, as with others, I am going to hear his words all the time; they echo for me. I'm very sorry for your loss.
The service was very beautiful. It was simple, elegant and I especially loved that it featured all of you, his own family, who he loved so dearly. It was wonderful to meet them in stories and hear of the great affection that all of them had for David in such a beautiful way. He truly lived an actualized life; a life that mattered and affected many circles of people and families including my own. I'm profoundly grateful for David's generosity, his love of what he understood so deeply and how graciously he shared that knowledge with everyone. In March, I will be ordained as a Zen Buddhist Chaplain. This is a visionary program that combines the understanding of systems with spiritual practice and care. This is a direct outcome of what I learned from David. I'm so grateful that he knew about this and was excited about it. He was excited about the development of so many of his students. I will miss him greatly. Many of us are standing alongside you in your loss. Great love to all of you.
David Freeman was my friend. His spirit, his soul, will forever be a part of me. Although I knew of David as a world renowned family therapist, I was privileged to get to know him through my wife's dear friend, Judith. After years of a loving relationship, the incentive of a marriage in our back yard was all that David and Judith needed to formalize their marriage. As Shakespeare said, the marriage of true minds. With every meeting with David and Judith or just with David, that relationship that I had with David only grew stronger. What I can say of David is that he was a man that above all, was concerned about all human relationships and, was a renaissance man interested in so many cultures, ideas and in short, the development of wisdom. To have heard of David speak of his encounters and discussions with Callam, Zack, and Joey, was clear proof that out of the mouth of babes, one finds wisdom, which sometimes takes an adult like David to recognize. When I first met David, I remember this treasured First Nations talking stick, masks, and baskets... and his bonsai trees. I am sure there is a story behind the importance of these things to him and perhaps that is why we honored his life at Vancouver's museum of Man; a building which connects First Nations history and culture to natural history. But what I know of David comes from my heart; his love of history, family history of a people's history and of history as a necessary platform for understanding the present and predicting or affecting the future. His love of art, painting, pottery and sculpture... all this was shared... his love of the land which he share with Judith and all those who visited at Hornby was very special. His love of his family, for his children and Judith's, and for the grandchildren of both of them was beyond measure as was his love and respect for Virginia and of course above all, when I knew him, his love for Judith. Most of what David has driven for was harmony and love in the relationships of his own extended family. With his brother, his aunt, nieces and nephews and with Judith's nieces, nephews and siblings... all of his friends and his clients and in pursuing that end, was prepared to take risks. I will miss the hugs on meeting and parting. I will visit a rock, placed in the memory of my friend on Hornby Island and I will place a stone on it, in memory of my best friend and my visit and of a soul who has and will continue to touch the lives of many.
We would like to express our condolences and sadness at the loss of Dave. To Judith and the rest of the family, our thoughts are with you. I have a great sense of personal loss as he meant a lot to me as a mentor, teacher, counsellor and friend. I want to say how much it meant to me to work with him at Vancouver School Board, setting up the program for the counsellors. Over the years, many of them said it is the best professional development they have ever had and I think it is because it really helped them as people to become more effective in all areas of their life. That is what he taught me as well; that you can't take people further than where you have gone yourself. I've really tried hard in my life to be a calm presence and to be curious. Maria also appreciated and says that his influence on our family was pivotal to how well things have gone for us, between us, with our kids, siblings and parents. She remembers the story he tells about the movie, The Fly, and even when the fellow had turned into the fly, the woman loved him just as much. Everyone deserves that kind of love. I think that's what David's message was and it was a great message to carry to the schools. It's a great loss and even though I didn't see him a lot, he was there and he's still going to be with me and with us. I know that's reassuring on one level. I'm sure you're going to miss him greatly as I will.
Larry H. & Maria L.
I was terribly shocked an saddened to hear of David's sudden passing. My husband and I began seeing David on a regular basis during a very significant family crisis. I can honestly say that I do not know what I would have done or how I would have survived this dark time without David's support. Not only did we survive, but our family came through stronger than before. I truly believe I'm a better person and a better parent because of David. Our family is stronger because of these difficult times and not in spite of them. I'm so grateful that I had recently thanked him for what he had done for our family and for me personally. Of course, he let me know that I had done this for myself. Although this I know, it was with his incredible support and guidance as a mentor and trusted advisor. He was always so very professional but his warmth and caring were felt by both my husband and me. He always finished our session with a very supportive hug for me. Little did I know that our session, which was just a few weeks ago, would be the last time. I'll miss him terribly. My condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues. I hope they take comfort in knowing how positively he has affected the lives of people like my husband, me and our family. It reminds me of a quote from the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, where it was said... Strange isn't it; each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around, he leaves and awful role, doesn't he? Thank you so much for the gift of David and the rol he played in our lives
I had been seeing David as my therapist for almost 15 years. During the last two and a half years, I was seeing him with my now husband, Henry. David was and continues to be an angel in my life. He was a brilliant and compassionate therapist and I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for him. I owe him so much. The loss is immense for his family, colleagues, and his clients, me included. We want to give our sympathy to his wife, his children, and grandchildren. I feel profoundly grateful and at the same time profoundly sad. I was blessed to have him as my therapist, my mentor and my guide. He is totally and completely irreplaceable. I will hold him in my heart and hear his words for the balance of my days. The world is in a better place because of the fact he walked on this earth.
Debra R. and Henry
We met David through his practice. We wanted to share with his family, a wonderful story that he told us the last time we saw him. David was 11 and helping the the produce stand that his father had in Los Angeles. A city inspector decided that there was a discrepancy between the product that was on display and the produce that was being sold and gave David's father a ticket. David's father decided to fight the ticket against the advice of all the other market vendors who said the city would go after him and would end up taking his license and therefore his livelihood. His father insisted that he was going to stand up for himself because, as he said, he knew he was right. He won and the city inspectors left him alone. David spoke about how powerful it was for him as an 11 year old to see his father standing up for himself. David encouraged Bayne and me to look for the positive examples from our childhoods. We call this the eggplant story and refer to it often. It is one of the many illuminating stories that David shared with us and that we continue to reflect on. We are so grateful for his life and for the wisdom he shared with us.
Pamela D. and Bayne S.
I first encountered David when I was working as a young social worker. He was brought in as a consultant to train staff in this new multi-generational systems approach to working with families. He was newly arrived from Los Angeles and had started a s a professor at the UBC School of Social Work. Well, he was mesmerizing. Everyone was riveted to his every word. Not only was the content so practical and useful for our practices, but David's intellectual clarity, passion and energy in delivering the message was nothing short of brilliant. In no time, he had a following of dedicated converts to this new frame work and today, some 35 years later, I think almost every Mental Health professional and Social Service provider in the Province has been influenced in some way by David's teaching. My relationship began as a student, always somewhat in awe of the man with such a gift for reaching families and an inspiring teacher. Years later, my friend, Judith, found her soul mate and love of her life in this same man, David. I quickly overcame my shyness as I got to know him better. I could appreciate his great laugh and sense of humor... his caring and love for his children, grandchildren, and his and Judith's extended families. It felt wonderful to have him embrace my husband and children. A hug from David was the real deal; no air kisses from him. So often, just a comment or a few words from him would soothe days of my worrying about a child or other concern I might have been burdened with. We had a lot of fun together, no matter whether we were hiking in the woods, cycling all over Hornby Island, feeling like a kid or eating his omelets, roast lamb or chicken as only he could make them. I don't know anyone, other than David and Judith, who could get such pleasure from working so hard in the garden and always with a list of projects to improve the beauty of the land they cherished. Being a gardener, I could really appreciate the garlic, potatoes, tomatoes; so much else he grew. He so enjoyed sitting by the peaceful and magnificent pond they created, carefully placing every rock and plant. What I loved especially about David was how he adored and cared for my dear friend, Judith. His face always lit up at the sight of her; no one was more beautiful. He was just so happy to be with her. I loved being in their company. The man I first got to know as a teacher, I watched become a healer and an elder in the truest sense. I can't begin to express how much I will miss him.
We send our condolences and our deepest sympathies to you Judith and your family on the loss of your beloved, David. I was part of the Family Systems group in 1978 that met in David's Dunbar living room in the years before Pacific Coast. I have to say that it was the closest thing to religion that I have ever experienced. He poured out his heart to us and passionately share his perceptions, his ideas, his research and skills. He turned the world as I knew it on its end. This experience was the single greatest influence on my work over the years in Social Work and Disability Management, also in my personal growth and understanding of relationships. May you take comfort in the many wonderful stories you are hearing about David. May these memories serve to remind you of the wonderful individual he was. May David's indomitable spirit continue to soar. With healing thoughts... I'll end with our deepest condolences.
Debra S. and Eric F.
One of David's great gifts was his ability to see the meaning in life and to articulate that meaning. He had a profound and constant drive to see and create meaning and that so enriched the lives of all of us who travelled beside him. I'm going to mention some memories that just jump out from me because they're free an easy and so full of Dave. I first met David when James, whom I had met the week before, wanted to get his opinion of me, though I didn't know it at the time. With his great big smile he asked, even before he said hello, which one of us is older? I remember when he first started going to Hornby, David only seemed to bring white jeans and he and Judith would go out into the garden and dig and dig and plant in sheer bliss and he'd come back looking like a painting of white and rich brown earth, happy as a clam. David spent hours snorkelling on Hornby, taking in the sea life and fully immersed in the ocean. David and Judith were kayaking when I was swimming and I swam out and met them and hung off the kayak. It was like we were neighbors meeting in the ocean and the ocean was like our back yard fence. It was a moment. I remember walking over to David and Judith's place; David was sitting watching the ocean with a ghetto blaster on the table beside him playing a recording of the Dalai Lama. The last time we had dinner with David and Judith, he talked with a twinkle in his eye about getting a bush wacker, a kind of mini chain saw that you carry around like a back pack. Oh the things he was going to do with that machine... He laughingly told a story of surprise at life; how things you think you know, you don't even know. All this time, I thought I knew my own name, he said, but I didn't. It turned out, when he needed to get another birth certificate from the US, they couldn't find any record of his birth. The woman said, your name isn't Freeman...it's Fryman. He also told a hilarious story about doing battle with a wasp's nest in the woodshed in which he was victorious. He didn't get enough time but the quality was so rich and I feel so lucky to have shared some of it with him.
I am a Doctor. I first met David about 15 years ago when my wife and I went to him for therapy. He has been extremely influential in my life, both in the personal and also the professional sense. When it came to therapy, when we first met David, hardly either of us could utter a word without the other one jumping in, in complete outrage. What David taught us was that things that happen are not personal, furthermore we are responsible to how we respond to what happens. It took away the sense of victimization that we both had in the relationship. It empowered both of us to take responsibility. That was an important teaching that has not only been essential in our relationship but in other aspects of life as well. On the professional level, his understanding of the multi-generational family therapy system- how the history of the family and how the relationships with everybody in the family shapes our personalities and shapes our responses has been a tremendous support in my work in understanding people's illnesses as well as emotional dysfunctions in people. I acknowledge that I owe him in the very first book I wrote; I mentioned him as one of my teachers a number of times. I quoted him a number of times. His death was a shock because of its untimely and sudden and unexpected nature. He is somebody I will remember the rest of my life.
I have spent most of my professional life aspiring to be a helpful and skillful psychotherapist, and believe me, it is not easy. David was born to the task. He was a master teacher, mentor, and most of all therapist. He brought warring, pained and fractured families together in a way that family members never thought was possible. He displayed compassion, triggered insight, shared his warmth in ways that promoted and produced healing and reduced or removed anguish. In his collaboration with his precious Judith, he provided the context for apprenticeship for others who aspired to learn the art and science of treating emotional malaise. His friends, his clients, his students and trainees, and his family members I know are missing him deeply. Yet, his love for others lingers in the air, and likely always will. I am so lucky I knew him!
David walked beside me for twenty years and was the most illuminative force I've ever known. He was my warmest champion, friend and mentor. Like many, I miss him more deeply than I can express. This world needs more David, not less. Yet, I'm certain his loving strength and joy remains in all he touched and inspired. I know he's with me in my life daily and I am grateful for his sage presence. I am a better human being for having spent time in this man's company. I'm a better friend, mother, daughter, sister, counsellor, artist and student. I will keep David's legacy of maintaining respectful and loving curiosity in all I do, as much as I possibly can, throughout my life. David taught me to be a contributive and caring person. I will never be able to thank him enough for the life he helped me build back. I can only try to pay it forward to those whose path crosses with my own. May I remember David in my actions, my 'stance', and my perspective. From the time I spent with him, I know David deeply loved his family and found great inspiration from them. My thoughts are with his loved ones and those who feel the loss of this giant-hearted friend, therapist, teacher and mentor.
David was my teacher and mentor. He was a gifted man and shared his curiosity and zest for life in the stories he told. I will always remember the "bus drivers eyes" and how one person can positively affect another. I remain profoundly grateful that David and Judith invited me into their home and supported my learning and growth as a therapist. It is and was, a true priviledge and honor to know him. David left us much to soon, but I can hear his laughter from above and know that he is watching over those he loved.David's memory lives on in the many lives he has touched.
David and I were at USC together for our doctorates. We immediately bonded and became friends from then. David had an irrepressible sense of humor and a way or cutting through jargon that presented ideas in an accessible and useful way. We both had a relationship with John Milner and would visit him together when David came to L.A. David and I could talk for hours about ideas, family etc. He also "got" my husband, Fred, so that he could understand me better too. With Judith, the relationship only broadened and I always thought David would be here forever. Nothing is forever, but David left too soon and I miss him.
Dear Judith,Please know that others are sending special thoughts your way today. Where ever you are, I hope you are in the company of good friends or family. On our kitchen table, candle is burning in memory of David.
I am very saddened to hear of David's passing - he taught me at UBC during the late 90's and I can honestly say some of his wise words have guided me personally and professionally ever since. In life, one meets a handful or truly inspirational people - David Freeman is one of those people in my life. I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with him. I extend my condolences to his family and friends.
I just learned of David's death and am profoundly and deeply saddened. He and I initially came to UBC in 1973 and he became my closet personal and professional friend and colleague. As the many years have passed, I've often thought back to those days with warmth, appreciation and nostalgia. Unfortunately, as too often happens, time and distance led us to have only sporadic contact. He was a gifted man, therapist, educator in the deepest sense, and friend, and I will continue to hold him close the rest of my life. I would value any contact with his family in the future.
I am deeply saddened to hear of the tremendous loss of David. I recently copied the beta tapes from 1991of our "family of origin history", for the extended family. I wanted to thank David for his wonderful ability to ask "the questions". It has been almost 20 years, and I can still hear his wisdom. We have lost a wonderful human being, who has touched so many deeply with his work and kindness. I am so sorry and sad for your family, I have been blessed to have spent time with Dr. Freeman.
I met David in September 1973 when I enrolled in the MSW program at UBC . He was my practicum supervisor in the first year . I took all the courses I could from David over those two years . I don't think I ever had a better professor because David was all about knowing what we "know" in research , theory and practice . I attended many of his workshops over the years . They always re-inforced what I already knew : David Freeman was my bestest mentor . Over 30 years of clinical practice , I would often have "interior consults" with David and the soul who I believe was his own mentor Murray Bowen . For those of us who were David's students , I believe his voice , his smile and curiousity never left those reaches of our minds when we needed help with struggling families and individuals . There is a swahili proverb : a person never really dies until they are forgotten . It that context what David taught and stood for will remain alive in both the minds and experiences of those of us who were fortunate to be his students. Condolences to David's extended family.
I was terribly shocked and saddened to hear of David’s sudden passing. My husband and I began seeing David on a regular basis during two significant family crises. I can honestly say I do not know how I would have survived this dark period without David’s support. Not only did I survive but our family came through stronger than before. I believe I am a better person and a better parent because of David. Our family is stronger because of the difficult times, not in spite of them. I am so grateful that I recently thanked him for what he had done for our family and for me personally. Of course, he let me know that I had done this for myself. This I know, but it was with his incredible support and guidance as a mentor and trusted advisor. David was always very professional but his warmth and caring were felt by my husband and myself. He always finished our sessions with a supportive hug. Little did I know that at our last appointment, just a few weeks ago, it would be the last time. I will miss him. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. I hope they take comfort in knowing how positively he has affected the lives of people like me.
I was terribly saddened to hear of David's passing. I had only met him recently, but the short time I spent in his company as a guest of Judith's and David's on Hornby, allowed me to see what a truly joyful, and lovely person he was. My heart goes out to you dear Judith, and to all of your families. My deepest condolences.
Deepest condolences to Judith and David,s family. I attended many of David,s workshops over the years after completing my M.S.W.in 1980. I valued David's insights and philosophy and only recently shared one of his family therapy books with my youngest daughter who was completing a Masters Program in Counselling Psychology. David Freeman will be missed by so many in the field of Social Work-- It is a huge loss to the community at large.
David Freeman was my therapist for about 15 years. He was and continues to be an angel in my life. He was a brilliant and compassionate therapist and I would not be where I am today without him. I owe him so much and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have had him as my therapist, mentor, and guide. He is irreplaceable - I will hold him in my heart, look through his eyes, and hear his words for the rest of my days. I am so profoundly grateful and so profoundly sad. The loss is immense, for all the members of his family, for all of his colleagues, and for all of his clients, myself included. My sympathy goes out to his wife and children and grandchildren.
I am deeply saddened by hearing of David Freeman's passing- my condolences to his family and loved ones at this very sad time. I was one of the lucky MSW students at UBC (1997-8) to have had Dr. Freeman as a professor. Thank goodness I chose to take both courses he offered on Family Systems Therapy! When I think back to my training as a therapist, what stands out most is this wise, kind, funny, brilliant teacher who truly "seeded my unconscious" as a therapist-in-training. I cannot say I enjoyed much about my MSW program (in fact, I dispised most of it and found it entirely irrevelant to becoming an effective therapist), but what kept me going and nourished my soul during that time was going to David's classes and reading the fascinating books and articles he encouraged us to read.The minute I stepped into one of David's classes, I felt transformed. It's the same feeling I have now, 12 years later, when I am sitting in a session with a client and something magical happens (most often some sort of breakthrough for them)...I am entirely 'in the flow'. David's ability to take his students into the very depth of their humanness, our connection to one another, and with ourselves, was nothing short of magical. I believe that it is rare in a lifetime to come across a true "teacher", or "mentor", and when it happens, you know you have been given a great gift. David fuelled the passion I had inside me for doing this work, and his voice is still there in my head every day when I'm working with clients. And even though he is gone physically, he will always be here with me in my mind and in my heart, as I am certain he will be for all of the students who were lucky enough to learn from him. When David's classes were over, I experienced a deep 'sadness of the soul' and was thirsty for more of this incredible knowledge and training and went on to complete the 2-year core training in Family Systems Therapy at Pacific Coast, which he was instrumental in creating. The journey continued and after studying with David and doing that core training, I was ready to be a therapist.
I was very sad to hear about the passing of David Freeman. I trained at Pacific Coast Family Therapy Association many years ago and it was a powerful experience for me that continues to influence my work and my life. While I did not work much with David, I did have the good fortune of hearing him speak on several occasions. On one occasion, I remember him saying that we would do much better as humans if we allowed ourselves to process our emotions and let them move through us. He stated that depression was often "sadness of the soul" and that allowing ourselves to spend some time with it, rather than medicate it, could be very good for our spirit. Well I'm quite certain that many people are now experiencing sadness of the soul about this loss. My sincere condolences to Dr. Freeman's family and friends. Many have grown as a result of his knowledge and caring.
This is a story for David Freeman...Once upon a time there was a young, small-town girl who was pretty sure she knew what was going on with everything…. A little tough on the outside, she posed to the world that she was afraid of nothing and ready for anything. But there was a problem; the girl was just beginning to repeat a family cycle…Working to make ends meet; struggling to put herself through school in the big city with ‘no end in sight’; parenting her first child alone…. The girl’s experience confirmed that that life is hard, and if you get lucky, things’ll come together….but most times, you don’t get lucky and things don’t really come together. Having grown up in a single-parent family, with ‘at best’ a sporadic pattern of disappointing interactions with her estranged father, the girl had no safe connections with men and was determined that she’d never need one anyway. Then she met a man named David who would challenge the girls’ thinking about life, about family cycles, and especially about men and relationships. David’s easy-going, conversational style put the girl at ease, and she began to trust him. Always asking the right questions, and teaching the girl to be ‘curious’, David would coach and lead and guide her for many years to come, often counselling her through really difficult times. He was also there to celebrate her victories and acknowledge her development and the opportunities that personal growth had brought her. David would teach, listen, discuss…and laugh. To the girl, he would become a mentor; A friend; A trusted advisor; A part of the family. Mostly, David would become the guy that she would look forward to seeing. The guy she couldn’t wait to tell….Then when the girl was no longer a girl, but a woman of 41 years, with a university degree, an enriching career, 3 healthy children and a solid relationship with a hard-working, trustworthy husband …David was suddenly gone.In their last conversation, David had asked “how would you feel, if you found out today that your father passed away?” and the girl really didn’t have an answer then …now after thinking long and hard about it, there may yet be an answer …but who will she tell? The grown woman is me, and if David was here right now, I would tell him in no uncertain terms:If I could re-create an image of Father, of mentor, of wise elder…it would be and image of YOU David, and all you’ve given me. I would say thank-you for taking the time to nurture, encourage and support me. I strongly believe if the “guideposts of life” were built with bricks and mortar - you've been right beside me, layering it all together. While I feel robbed of the opportunity to give something back to you, I want you to know that “I've seen, heard and understood your teachings. ”My small offering is to pledge back a commitment to carry on, to STAY instead of LEAVE, and to raise my children in a healthy, two-parent family. I’ll do my best to create safety for them while encouraging their independence; I’ll continue teaching them to appreciate each other’s strengths and imperfections … I’ll teach them they don’t need to be too tough on the outside…and that we’ll be here for each other, especially when life is hard. If we stick together, we’ll learn from the difficult times more than from the good times…David, you were always so sure about that. My story will continue without you, David, but I’ll miss you terribly. I will cherish the gift of time we had together and relish the fact my family cycle has been changed for the better because you. I will think of you when I have the privilege of becoming a grandparent; when I get the opportunity to be a wise elder, holding my grandson’s hand, riding my bike in some exotic land….
The gifts of knowledge and skills taught through David at the Pacific Family Therapy Centre, will endure long into the future. Myself and my clients lives were enriched, not just by what David taught, but how he taught and who he will always be to us. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, for strength, through love..
It was only yesterday I was looking at one of David's books and appreciating what I learned from him about families and what it meant to honour, respect and learn from them. I was fortunate to have him as a teacher at the School of Social Work and as a faculty advisor. I learned a lot from David. He has left his imprint on me as a therapist not only in terms of the wisdom he shared, but by his example of being a calm presence in the room with clients. He will be missed...
All our sympathy
Deborah, Bill, Graeme, and Claire G.
I was trained at the Pacific Coast Family Therapy Training Institue, and like many therapists, benefitted greatly from the guidance and wisdom that Dr. Freeman offered. He wedded his personal stores to the theory of systems theory in a unique and innovative way. When I did an internship with Dr. Freeman, he certainly put me through my paces, holding me to a high standard of professionalism. The lessons that I learned have continued to inform my practice nearly 20 years later. I, like many therapists, were in awe of David - his ability to get to the heart of a complex matter was the sill of someone with great competency and heart. My deepest condolences to Judith and family throughout this difficult and sad time. I send my best thoughts.
David had a profound impact on my training as a counsellor. I audited his courses because I knew this would be the case. He told heart-felt stories that impacted me deeply in my life and my work. I can still hear his voice as he tells poignant stories about the sacredness and elegance of the human spirit to survive and overcome life's obstacles. He will continue to be a great teacher.
When hearing of David's death, I was immediately unbelievably saddened, right down to my soul. I remember him telling me, as if it was yesterday, that "depression is only sadness of the soul". Before hearing that, in 1973, I had not even contemplated that I might have a soul! David gave the young me the gift of inward curiosity and perception. David was my teacher, my professional mentor and my inspiration. His teachings taught me to gently and respectfully examine my own life and to help others discover the unknown qualities of theirs. The knowledge he imparted gave me a core strength that has allowed me to be vulnerable without fear and to always strive to be a better person. I believe that his insight and his voice guide me every day in my personal and professional relationships. I am thinking of you all. Although David may be gone from this world, he lives on vibrantly every day as his pupils pass on his wisdoms to the families they work with. Best wishes to you all.
I was so sad to hear of David's death. He was a wise and inspiring teacher whose legacy will live on. Judith, my loving thoughts and deepest sympathy are with you at this difficult time. Condolences to all of David's family and friends.
I was so shocked and saddened to hear of David's passing. He helped me through some very difficult times in my life as I am sure he did with countless others. I don't know how I would have made it through without his wisdom, kind words and good listening. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones and I hope they know that he will be remembered always in the hearts of those who were touched by him.
David was the most wonderful person that both of us have ever known. For the last 23 years, David guided us through life's trials and challenges. He was a beacon of inspiration like no one else. To his family we offer our sincere condolences. May God treasure David forever.
Derek and Kerry D.
We were saddened to learn of David's passing. We think of you often with many fond memories. He was a true gentleman and a pleasure to have known.
Maureen & George B.
Over a span 25 years, I saw David as my therapist at key points in my adult life. He was a touchstone for me and he inspired my personal insight. He was like an older brother to me and I will always treasure the time we shared. My sincere condolences to Judith and his family.
No words can express how deeply I will miss David. My heart goes out to all his family. I am forever grateful to have known this very special man. With love and gratitude for all the times we talked and laughed together. Michael and I will love you and miss you always.
I know that people see David as a professor, a teacher, a counsellor and a mentor. But for me, one of the traits that stands out was that David was a perpetual student. He loved learning. This made him an excellent teacher. His stance was always one of inquiry. He was interested in how students thought, what they were drawn to and how they put things together. With his clients he also observed and learned. He was interested in why and how people changed, why people tended to remain stuck in their lives. He was interested in the way people handled conflict and how wisdom was acquired. He had a great interest in History and Politics and read continuously, always learning and always open to new ideas. What was loveable about him for me was that it was not only academics that interested him. He loved to learn about anything and he sought out teachers. He had not compunction or discomfort in what he didn't know. He loved figuring out how to grow a great onion or what in the world a septic field was, or how to find well water, or learning with the help of a good friend to build a greenhouse. That is why Hornby was such a delight to him. It was a place where he could explore new aspects of himself and seek people who enjoyed his enthusiasm and good humor as he put himself in situations that challenged him. David understood perfectly that teaching is a reciprocal act, the student is also teaching the teacher. And so excelled in both realms and all who worked with him, benefitted. He taught me a great deal and the learning continues. As well as being my husband, he was my best friend. I will miss him always...
Family, Friends and Colleagues Remember