the thing is…

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Friendship. It is a miraculous thing. It’s been filling in the cracks where Carl’s earthly voice and body and love used to be. Henry and Ella are somewhat inseparable today. They’re also known as “HenryElla.” A name that somehow stuck when Carl and I would call them to come in from outside. We laughed at that because the combined name rolls off the tongue so nicely. smile emoticon They were always the last ones to come in…and, well, nothing has changed about that! My big dog, Louie, lays on the floor beside them. I’ve got a good four-legged crew. But what I also have is a tremendous human tribe, too. It seems cliche to write about it, but many times I have thought about what it would be like to be going through this without this kind of support. Carl and I were both people magnets, each in our own way. I sometimes had to laugh (and worry) about how full our life, together, might become. There have been times when I’ve tried running to the ends of the earth just to be alone, but people came looking for me anyway. There are other times when, because of the nature of my work, the feeling of solitude becomes overwhelming. It’s a Catch 22 and yet, somehow, this problem was solved by being in a relationship with Carl. We were there for each other in an easy way, always, in the quiet moments, in the busy moments, and all the moments in between. We were surrounded by loving friends and family and yet we enjoyed our time just the two of us, too. It was the best of all worlds, really. Amazing.

Last night I saw a friend who I haven’t seen in over 20 years and others who are willing to travel to the ends of the earth to be with me. Gifts like this just keep showing up. And then there is Carl’s people…his family, his friends, his employees. I’ve loved Carl’s family from the beginning, but now that love has deepened to the center of the earth and the width of the universe. Carl surrounded himself with good people and, really, he saw the good in everyone. He talked and texted more than anyone I’ve ever met. And so now…messages, phone calls, texts from Carl’s friends and family…oh, it is like gold to me. Please don’t stop. Eventually, I would have gotten to know all of these people. But now we’re left to do it on our own. Horse people, woods people, business people, family people, work people, church people, international people….SO many people populated Carl’s world.

I am grateful for it. And ol hairy legs, Henry…well, he is too.

Here’s a poem for all of us, from my friend, Britta…

The Thing Is …
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again. ~Ellen Bass

Peace and friendship. To all of us.

{originally published Nov 17, 2014}

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