Jilly D.

Archive for the ‘Mourning’ Category

Dance me to the end of time

In Mourning, Uncategorized on February 24, 2013 at 6:50 am

Leonard Cohen’s song is an earworm.

“Dance me to the end of time,” he croons.

Flashbacks to dances from my past. Maybe from my future. Til the end of time. A slow song.

The YMCA overlooking the Fox River. Charlie Daniels concert in Stevens Point. The disco ball in Cleo’s on College Avenue. Singing Van Morrison inside the warehouse in the flats. Polka dancing at the 1st Annual Otto Grunsky Bike Race. The Lascivious Ball  in Hyde Park. The Athens sound with R.E.M. and Dixie Chicks. Rockabilly in the Ramada Lounge. Kumas formerly known as the Woodside. Grass Roots.The Rongo.

Madison is still on the bucket list for rooftop rocking. Future August adventure sweating to the oldies?

Sam and I rarely danced. I desperately wanted him to dance me to the end of time. Please, lead. In tempo to the dance of our lives, I expected him to lead.

I could not follow his final steps.

Guilt. I could not follow him by ending my life when he ended his. I never imagined I could go on without him. It’s more than three years and I still can’t fathom one more day without Sam. It happens anyway.

Shame. Why did he do this and leave the stigma on me? Everyone thinks I must be the reason why. No one knows our intimacies or the sexual longings I can hardly control. He’d left me after one of the most passionate and peaceful nights we’d ever spent together. I wanted to be with him.

But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t actualize my suicidal ideations.  I had no reason to continue living without Sam. I lost everything. He defined me.  I desperately wanted to merge my soul with his. Joining him on the other side proved particularly seductive. But I couldn’t self-inflict pain. I sought pain relief.  Sam’s death ripped us physically apart and the open wounds left me very much alive and suffering. How I envied him the restful peace of eternal sleep.

Dancing to the end of time. I dance with Sam in my dreams. I close my eyes and whirl around, snap my fingers, shake my hips. He won’t dance, but he’ll watch. Then grab me around the waist and pull me close as we laugh and he whispers loudly in my ear that he loves me. The wondrous sensation of his passion fills my dream life. When I awake crying, only his dogs lie beside me. Their groans sorrowful.

I dance through the Spruce, Red and White Pine, Ash and Beech trees in the Shindagin Hollow Forest. Warm enough to rain instead of more snow. The dogs and I march into the night and greet the darkness and solitude. The only music here plays in my mind.

Dance me to the end of time.

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Simple message: I miss you, Sam

In Grief, Mourning, Time and seasons, Uncategorized on May 14, 2012 at 1:05 am

How could almost three years have passed already since your spirit left your body?

Last night, rather early this morning, grief crept up and knocked me out again. Punched me between the eyes.

You’re gone. Your absence continues to pain me like the sensation of a phantom limb in a patch of nettles.

I knew my meltdown was on its way when I saw the blue heron fly over at dusk yesterday.

I’ve missed you, fisherman. Please come home to stay.

Tears cloud my vision. My throat constricts and my neck and shoulder muscles tense up. Why do I still wish he’d walk through that door, waken me and tell me it was all a bad mistake or a dream?

Please come to me in my dreams. I miss you.

Sleep eludes me. I yank the cord out of the alarm clock at 2 a.m. So I read. The Geography of the Heart is a memoir by Fenton Johnson. His sister, a widow, wrote him a letter when his partner died. He quotes her letter: “Grief is never over. The time will come when you control your grief rather than the other way around. You’ll draw upon those memories when you need and want them, rather than having them show up uninvited. But your grief will never go away, which is the way it should be.”

Your love haunts me. I didn’t leave you. I didn’t get to make a decision. It was decided. So I had to invite the feelings in, even those old enemies, and welcome them to your wake. I awake.

I’m still waiting for more days when grief doesn’t hold its grip on my throat, silence my voice, and flood my eyes with tears. I’m still alive. I can’t stop thinking about Sam. And when I do, I feel those blues.

I’ve got cloudy skies on a sunshine-y day. Spent hours this afternoon soaking up some unharnessed solar power, and planting more seeds — peas, beans, cukes, dill, basil –and transplanting tomato, and butternut squash seedlings; gifts from neighbors. Getting into the dirt, planting, and watering my sprouted lettuce bed made me yearn for the life Sam and I built together. From sunup to sundown we spent every possible moment outside working the land. Now it’s a few hours a week and I spend all my time on my butt in front of a computer screen.

Sam, I know you would not approve of all my choices. But you are not here to bitch about it, though I hear you, and disagree.

I miss Sam.

I miss arguing with you. He’s gone and not coming back to me. So I’ve had to make my own arrangements. For 18 months I’ve rented a cottage and kept up the pretense that people might come visit me with the way I arranged furniture. Now I shoved the table Sam made against the window where I best like the view: horse farm and white fence with pastures, rolling hills, barns, and woods. I put the red velvet box chair in front of the table facing the window. Big new desk space. My sofa is situated for best napping position mid-afternoon. It’s my space now. This ain’t the farm. I miss loving you.

But in the darkest hours alone in bed now I remember how we laid together for so many years in our cubbyhole bed in the cabin. How many nights I put healing lotion on his back, neck, shoulders, arms? Massaging in the creme made of arnica and ivy extract, I imagined adding love and the intoxicating glide of good intentions would heal Sam. If I asked him if he wanted his feet massaged, he’d always say no. If I didn’t ask, he’d involuntarily moan in pleasure with my gentle touches of his sole with silky cream. We’d fall into our synchronized breathing in a mess of pillows, dogs, and comforters, until birds awakened us with first light.

Morning is the hardest. It’s when I feel Sam’s absence the most; that preconscious state of liminality, betwixt and between consciousness and dream state. He is with me there. I’d often awaken as he’d laid his arm over my shoulder and wrapped his forearm under my right wrist and entwined his fingers in mine. His bicep would brush my breast and he’d pull tight into a spooning position.

Grief isn’t something you get over. It gets over you. No matter how long it’s been. Sneaks up on you occasionally. Took me by surprise and took me down again.

I miss you so much, Sam.I loved you truly, madly, deeply.

I live where it’s grey. Ithaca.

In Grief, Mourning on January 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

The Horseflies have a song with this lyric, “I live where it’s grey. Ithaca.”

Without any snow on the ground, the end of January seems more gloomy, dank, and dark. Driving into Ithaca mid-day it could have been 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. for the lack of sunshine. Diffuse light dampened by glum spirits.

Makes me miss Sam. Who would have ever thunk I’d miss his grumbling about the weather? But I do. I want to hear him express what everybody else feels, too, about the crappy conditions of the weather as a metaphor for this world.

Winter keeps me inside working on book projects. Haven’t had a day off since Thanksgiving. So finding time to write myself becomes a time management struggle. Two hours a week come hell or high water. Before my business took off I could spend two hours a day writing. So I do what I can in those two hours to grow.

The new year brought writing spurts of a new sort. I’m trying my hand at fiction. This stretch to my writing repertoire remains under wraps. Kind of like putting on roller skates for the first time, even though you’ve been ice skating since you were knee high, you need to take a few spins and spills to learn.

Surely I will fall down a few times as writing fiction becomes more familiar to me. Nobody needs to watch those embarrassing moments; except my trusted friends in my writing group in Trumansburg. And they extend a hand to help me get back up and try some more new moves.

Story, narrative, fiction, non-fiction. Cross-training in truth-telling.

Someone who knew both Sam and I contacted me today by email with a request to connect through LinkedIn. She and her partner had met me first at the Trumansburg farmer’s market many years and ago and they came out to our farm and visited us once. Her daughter even worked picking beans a few weeks one summer.

A flush came rushing to my face. Someone who remembers. Someone who felt the sun there and swam in the pond. Someone who had a moment of our truth together.

The acknowledgement and affirmation of Sam and I living and loving brought me tears of joy.  Sorrow, too.

Nothing is all black or all white. I live where it’s grey. Ithaca.

And yet my memories are like the painting this friend of ours sent: filled with sunflowers, a little cubbyhole cabin, vines, lush greens, blue waters.

Grey goes with everything. Winter fashion.

Latkes for lunch

In Mourning, Pictures and memories on November 7, 2011 at 1:04 am

Friends made in the past year through a Sudden Loss support group came to my cottage for brunch today. Sunny and warm, the morning greeted the dogs and I in our usual manner outdoors at dawn. With the extra fall-back hour, I had the house cleaned and furniture moved to accommodate the big table for a meal.

Fried the bacon. Autumn Harvest pasture raised pork and naturally smoked without nitrates from Interlaken, NY. I’d made the Cortland apple sauce days earlier; cooking the apples whole skins on to put through the old Foley food mill. Peeled the six large organic Russet potatoes and finely minced a yellow onion.

The secret to making good latkes is to know your potatoes. These were wet ones. I shredded the potatoes with a hand grater sans knuckle dermis. Then I put the minced onion and potato shreds into a large white cotton dish towel and squeezed out the excess moisture. This batch proved so wet, I dumped the sopping mess into another dish towel and twisted strenuously as the potato water ran into the sink drain.

The potatoes and onions dumped into a large mixing bowl, I added a small amount of flour and  a tad of salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, I whisked up a half dozen large farm fresh eggs from High Point Farm in Trumansburg. With a large spoon, I mixed the eggs into the pancake batter until fully blended.

Pouring some of the bacon fat onto the castiron griddle over two burners on the gas stove, I let the pan preheat. Then the pancakes went on.  And over Hazelnut coffee, the conversations about our personal journeys through grief resumed.

Dottie brought the sour cream. Lynn brought the Cornell Orchards’ apple cider. Suzanne brought home baked Annadame bread, and Laurie brought bright green fresh apples which we cut into wedges and shared. Snow Farm Creamery made some special smoked apple raw milk aged cheese I picked up at the Brookton Market that made it extra special in local flavor.

To recognize in our stories how much has changed since we met is to acknowledge the transformative power of sudden loss for me and others. None of us asked for our lives to be turned upside down and each of us felt passive before the force of changes which resulted from our loved one’s loss. Either changes continue to happen to you, or you can figure out how to follow your heart for directions to what you need, desire and dream about.

The friends I made through this support group organized by Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services and Hospicare of Ithaca share memories, questions, and concerns based on our history of sharing those stories. There are few who have the professional skills and compassion to actually assist  and I am grateful to Donna George and Ellen Abrams who facilitated our initial 8 week group sessions.

Many things change. Some changes we invite. Others land on our lap. Some things remain the same. Who you are. Who you are without this loved one who so defined you in loving relations.

You discover again who you are. Same old soul. Scarred. Sad. Still here for some reason.

My bleeding belly button

In Health, Mourning, Signs from beyond on October 30, 2011 at 1:59 am

Every month on the 15th, starting in October 2009, my belly button has bled. Weird, eh? Then it didn’t on the two year anniversary of Sam’s suicide.

The dried blood surprised me every time. Most of my Q-tips I use to get the ear wax out but I found myself dipping one end in hydrogen peroxide and swabbing the old umbilical cord.

When I didn’t have a bloody belly button, I thought maybe the healing had begun. Grief takes physical manifestations. The absence of this symptom I noted.

But it wasn’t just the 15th, it was a Tuesday. My body isn’t going to let me forget. Sam and I were one; he was as much inside of me and I was into him. The umbilical cord is like sinew and tough and without any pain receptors so when cut, there is lots of blood but no pain.

Connected at the core, we were a couple made whole by our differences. When he died, I felt his departure in every cell of my physical existence. The physical connection between us remains a bloody wound of our symbiosis found in the orifice of my center.

So why does my belly button still bleed?

Sobbing awakens me

In Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on October 28, 2011 at 3:37 am

The sobbing wakens me. I’m crying in my sleep so hard it forces me to consciousness and my eyes read the red digits on the alarm clock beside my head as 3:42 a.m. My face is wet from crying and I sit up in bed to catch my breath. I know he’s not here. I’m alone.

And yet he was the only person I could ever feel alone with and not feel lonely. Now I feel lonely, upon reflection. We both sanctified our own solitude and he was the only two-legged creature I could share the experience with in daily life for more than a decade. Like the comfort of an indoor plant or a pet, we lived alone together as cats in a common household. His physical presence a comfort rather than a distraction from my inner self.

It’s as though I am having an out-of-body experience. My unconscious weeps as the sadness seeps through my skin. I am awake enough to know my sleeping-self suffers. I see me laying under sheets, blankets and comforters nestled between his dogs. Even my dreams are disturbed by Sam’s death. It’s like watching sleeping dogs twitch, the way I see myself in the middle of the night’s darkness alone in my bed.

Under conscious control I start to calm my breathing and unclench my muscles. Fists, feet, thighs, arms, calves calm. My mind and body meld back into the middle-aged mush of myself in a flannel nightgown while the first snowfall of the season gathers on the lawn. I imagine him next to me snoring gently.

When he’d breathe in, I’d inhale. I’d exhale in sync with his breath. Matching his relaxed in-and-out respirations would always lull me into deep restful sleep. I’d lie there tight up against him and sink into his rhythm and find stillness, and calm, and the kind of peace I thought only the Dali Lama could know.

The breath. The touch. The warmth. The quieted spirit.

Sam used to say that sleep was just God’s way of letting us practice for death. I think he was trying to tell me that death would be as peaceful and sweet as sleep. In sleep there is no pain, there is no loneliness, there is no want. Or so he thought.

Sobs rock me awake and his absence sends me down a well of loneliness in the middle of the night.

“Come back to me,” I cry. My heart is broken. He’s tried in all kinds of animal forms. Deer crossing my path, squirrels squawking at me, the blue heron and raven who chase me   down for long discussions on walks along Valley Road.

There’s no way to make up or break up or argue or agree with him anymore, and yet my heart keeps trying. One doesn’t forget. Never.

While it would be easier in some ways if he’d been killed in a tractor accident, or hit by a stray bullet from a hunter in the woods, or keeled over from a heart attack in the hay mow. Easier because he would not have intended to end his life which left me without him, alone.

Sam’s intentions cannot be mistaken. It was no accident. He planned it. Had planned it for a long time and had told others bits and pieces of his intent and method. He did not want me to be implicated and made sure it could not be mistaken for what it was. He’d barricaded, chained, bolted and locked every possible entrance.

I only recently have had flashbacks of his wild and desperate calls for help in the final weeks. He was furious at the news on TV. Michael Jackson died. Madoff made off with millions. He made me look up the phone numbers for the tv news hotlines and write them down during the news broadcasts. He’d call up and leave threatening messages. I was flabbergasted and expressed my total astonishment to him for doing it. He’d made calls to Bolivia the winter before to inquire about land there and had likely already put my name on some kind of watch list. My record of government surveillance goes back to my college years when I supported the people of Nicaragua and El Salvador with a campus club. I couldn’t imagine why he’d call and say Madoff should be executed, shot before the people, on a voicemail with a phone number listed under my name. I laughed and cajoled him about his hidden militia tendencies. Now his rage against Wall Street and the corporate rip-off of the American public and the desecration of democracy are called the 99%. Why did he feel so all alone?

No health insurance. The skin cancer on his back was back and it had spread. People owed us money and couldn’t pay because the economy tanked. He was serious when he told me it was best to keep your stock in the barn, not in the market. Sam was giving me the 911, the nine-eleven, the heads up in the most subtle ways. The perfect storm brewed and his inability to say what was going on inside himself is what still hurts most of all. You think you really know someone. He lived inside me; every cell. How could his suicide have taken me by surprise?

I’ve been listening to a new CD by Mary Lorson and the Sobrettes (Amelia Sauter and Leah Hougtaling). The lyrics resound in my head:

“You’d rather die….ooooh, than tell me. You’d rather die….ooooh, it’s just a matter of time.”

We all die. Sooner or later. One way or another.  We’d talked about these metaphysical matters many times. Sam did not want to live through his parents’ passing. He couldn’t’ bear it. He told me so and it was no secret to his family that he felt this way. He loved his mother and father deeply. He knew he had hurt them and yet redeemed himself to them as a prodigal son.

He made his own decisions. He didn’t include me in the deliberations. He lived his life to its fullest and he wasn’t going to settle for less. He kept careful records of hours and work and who owed what and what he owed and in the end, Sam left this world thinking others owed him far more than the handful of bills and receipts submitted to his pauper’s estate. What is owed to Sam Warren will be tallied at the pearly gates if Saint John can do the new math. I know he earned a pair of wings. The hot cancerous flesh across his back formed the outline of where they would be attached under his shoulder blades.

He would not talk to me about it. He would not let me see or touch. he would not go back to see the doctor about it. The broken wrists and ribs and setbacks didn’t seem to faze him. He slept through the pain and the bad parts. He told me everything would look different in a week; just a week before he shot himself. I thought he meant the publishing contract offers for my memoir about our life together; withdrawn on notice of suicide. But in that memory of him thinking it would get better in a week, I loved him even more because he had hope for me.

Are you having fun yet?

In Mourning on October 14, 2011 at 12:33 am

This question comes to mind; and not just my mind. Cousin Tommy told me he thought about getting a tattoo in spoof of those straight edge freaks who had endured the torture of the needle to inscribe on their flesh What Would Jesus Do? What would Sam do?

What would Sam say? I hear his voice even when I don’t want to. If he had an opinion he voiced it distinctively. His view of the world still lives inside my heart. I can hear him loud and clear. I am not deaf.

“Are you having fun yet?” he’d ask me while my cheeks hardened under the sun pulling weeds among the onions.

Would he be interested in the Occupy Wall Street movement flying under the radar of corporate news media? What would he think of the recent stock market sinkholes? What would he think of me as I try to live without him?

He’d grab me around the waist and pull me close. Then he’d hold my head in his hands and look into my eyes and ask, “Are you having fun yet?”

Labor Day Struggle

In Grief, Holidays, Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on September 6, 2011 at 2:06 am

Labor Day. Rained hard all day long. Long face; can’t wipe it off. Feels like the sky weeps. My heart sinks. Another day without Sam; another shitty day. He’s not here to say what everybody’s thinking about this weather. If I had anybody to talk to, it would be his profane voice coming out of my mouth.

Not that the weather matters anymore to my survival. I don’t have to pick beans or corn or spend the days in the fields under the sun and in the heat. I don’t have to worry about the pond overflowing or the lane washing out. The wind can howl all it wants; no windmill tower is going to crash on top of my roof. I can throw my wet washed clothes in the dryer during a storm. I love laundry day and any day can be laundry day.

The weather still sets my mood even if it no longer dictates my daily schedule off-the-grid. The dark grey skies and steady downpour day and night is downright gloomy. No getting around that fact. And the doom descends around me as the day turns again to night. Some holiday.

The grump of grief came out to play. Like this gnome, I felt small and squashed. I shuffled through the simplest housework tasks.

Chit. Another day marked off the calendar. Damn depressing. But today I chalked it up to the weather; sang the blues.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yeah. Nobody else is going to. I won’t let them. But I need some sorry. Think I’ll eat some worms. A whole lot of my tears are for what I have had to go through to get to here and now. My wailing releases all that I have had to suffer for so long. The relentless raindrops pounding on the rooftop, I listen and weep with the sky.  

The dripping in syncopation with the rooftop beats makes my home a drum. Its steady tempo gives a heartbeat to my sorrow. Thunder and lightning are the rumblings of emotions and flashpoints of memories replayed in the darkness of day. Oh, let this date roll over.

Melodramatic? Mellow, yes, not yellow. I’m not afraid to admit how I feel in the face of another day without Sam. After two years, it still hurts: every damn waking moment. There is no drama; only a dullness about the drudgery of everydayness. And the point is?

Yes, the existentialist question arises in weather like this. Perhaps this storm is a segue between one scene and the next; a new chapter or a new trail. Or perhaps there really is no point.

Points are sharp and they can be weapons. Rain has no point. It splotches. Snow and ice have points in their crystal formations, but water is not pointed. Water certainly has its purposes, but what is the goal of water? What is water striving for? Water is just water. It is.

Grief is just grief. Morning greets mourning. There is no escaping it.

Working so hard for so long is my way out of my material suffering. Labor Day let me step away from my work and the grief grump grabbed hold of me. Grump took me by the neck. Its fingers tightened around my throat and left me grasping for my breath. Sobbing, I stopped hearing the rain.

When I got cried out, the sound of wetness all around cleansed me and I sensed a peaceful resignation to what is. What is and what will always be and what has always been. Water, earth, wind, sun, stone, fire. These are the elements that endure. Elements of power. What is missing? The power of love; the greatest element to the life force.

I know love’s brutal force and its tender graces; my love for Sam and his love for me. What we had together wasn’t perfect, but it sure was special. The spark, the passion, the deep connection we had is still there even though he is gone. It’s a continuing bond beyond time and space; our love is one of those powerful elements in the universe that endures.

So as day turns to dusk, I imagine us both weeping because we are apart from one another. The whole world and all the skies cry tonight. The fog gives form to Sam’s sorrow; elusive and ephemeral. Walking through the fields with the dogs, I look into the mist hoping to catch a glimpse of his ghost. No luck. Now I sit inside by the light with the dogs at my feet and wait for a sign; for my spirit to find solace. I listen to the quiet rain as night falls. The peace of sleep envelopes me until mourning.

Sunshine and smiles for Sam in September

In Anniversary and memorials, Friends, Mourning, Pictures and memories on August 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm

september smiles

The days creep closer to the two-year anniversary of Sam’s death and I approach it with some fear and trepidation. For nearly a year the pain and grief seemed an emotional abyss; a black hole that sucked me in and the best I could do was hold on with magical thinking to the life we’d had together and all our dreams on the farm. Sam’s death brought me face to face with a darkness and depression I had to know as grief and face in mourning. I’ve spent another year trying to get back up on my feet, falling down several times, even breaking a wrist. But I’ve let go of the magical thinking. I am no longer expecting that collect call from the Sundance Kid in Bolivia.

 My memories are fond and sweet and the ways in which he touched  lives should never be forgotten. Everybody who knew Sam has a special story.  My recollections of this wild man backwoods lover are different from those of his mother, sister, and daughter. His buddies have endless tales of Sam and their rollicking good times together. Sam etched into our common memory the simple joy of summer, barbecue chicken, good friends and laughter.

In memory of Sam I have asked family and friends to join together for a chicken barbecue before summer’s end. My wish is for a day in the sun to celebrate Sam. A good day.

Sam' Warren's mother and sister

The Sam I knew lived a full life; everyday he tried his damnedest to do a good job, make something, fix a problem, accomplish a goal, live out a dream. He and I knew a rich life on the farm he grew up on as a boy. His fondest memories were when he was ten years old. His parents gave him a good start in life and he had so many friends along the way. I only knew him for short time, but I like to think of our years together as his best times. What we had was special, not perfect.  I never thought, honestly, I’d be able to live without him. I couldn’t continue to live without him on the farm. That was a slow reckoning, and painful. I didn’t think I could continue to live without his love and physical presence. But somehow the days continue to add up. I still wake up and do what I gotta do and go to sleep and do it all over again —  without him. I’m looking to bring a little more joy back into my life and that means more memories of the good times. I hope to laugh as we remember Sam and talk about the stories that made him Sam.  He was one of a kind and could always make you smile. He was my sunshine.

sunflower

Broken angel

In Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on August 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

My right elbow flew up and knocked the glass angel to the ground where it shattered into too many pieces.

I stood there struck dumb.

The white porcelain angel had legs to hang over any ledge. Sam had kept in on a shelf as long as I knew him. He had told me its significance.

“Joyce gave me that after Robbie died,” Sam said. “I’ve kept it with me wherever I go.” He stroked the wings while he told me. It sat on the edge of his dashboard when he drove truck across country. For years it had sat on a ledge above our heads in bed.

Joyce’s son Robbie was a few years ahead of Sam and when he died, Robbie’s friend and mother tied their heartstrings together in a simple glass icon of an angel sitting on the edge.

“If you’re not on the edge, you’re taking up too much room,” Sam would say to me.

That cherubic totem broke unexpectedly many years ago while I was cleaning a dense layer of dust and dirt out of our lives in the cabin. I hid my sin and superglued the angel’s head back on. The next day Sam broke a mirror and I imagined seven years of bad luck.  And so it commenced.

Today while a whirling dervish of housekeeping, that angel flew off the shelf at me. When that little glass angel that had already been glued back together fell apart, I noticed its wings intact even though the head broke off. I couldn’t superglue it back together again though. Instead I swept it up and threw it away.

He’s broken away from me. I can feel it as I use the broom, my vision clouded by my tears. I still miss him. But the angel that protected  him on the road of life no longer serves his purpose.

Did I mention how much I miss him? He’s gone. Really gone.