Jilly D.

Blond, lanky man at the end of the pond

In Grief on February 6, 2013 at 2:38 am

Invited to the Andersons for Sunday brunch with my friends Mary and Sharon, I returned to the farm I knew as “On Warren Pond” on January 27th. As I drove down the lane and the fields opened before me, I saw the pond and its panoramic beauty soothed me. Awakened by my own sobbing in the darkest hours, I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep, felt depressed, and wasn’t sure I even wanted to go back to this place I’d called home for more than a decade. Greeted by compassion, it felt good to be in their company.

Suzanne and Daryl gave us a tour of their stunning new straw bale house that sits where the cabin Sam built had its stone foundation. Then they fed us like royalty. Quiche made with goat milk and goat yoghurt for the fresh fruit; goats in the barn Sam built. We toasted the good life with fresh orange juice mixed with Champagne and fresh ground coffee.

Looking over the land and pond warmed my soul. Sam would have been so proud of their efforts to raise goats, chickens, start a honeybee hive, launch a CSA, and use what he’d built as a foundation to their own sustainability efforts. Even the root cellar was in good repair with a cleared path. The Andersons had moved the cabin on skids to the south end of the pond and their son, Collin, and his girlfriend, Rachel Firak live there now.

Looking out Suzanne’s kitchen windows I saw a blond, lanky man at the far side of the pond walk out onto the dock. He broke a hole into the ice and raised up a bucket of water. I stared. It could have been Sam. It was Collin.


Just a week later on Saturday afternoon Rachel and Collin were in a car accident on Route 96 just outside Ithaca, near Rascal’s tavern on the crossroad of Van Dorn. Both were airlifted to Rochester, Rachel was released and Collin remains in a coma. In less than a minute, the whole world changed irrevocably. Grief wells up inside of me and my heart splits open to let some of their pain inside and hold its unbearableness with mine.


  1. Jill, I’m crying, feeling your connection to this young man and his connection to the life you once lived and lost. So much intertwining, so much coming and going in this world. Thank you for helping me find a way to hold this community tragedy. Your write with open-hearted courage that helps us all.

  2. I love this writing about you and Sam and living off the grid. I just pop over sometimes and read a few. It is like visiting a friend and getting to know them a little bit at a time.
    I do and I don’t want to ask how Collin is…

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