Last night after preparing the house and Kelly for sleep, I sat down with a cup of coffee to relax. I was packed for my Saturday hike and I felt ready.
That’s when I got the call.
That’s when all the air left me.
My longest and best friend in the world called to tell me that her sister had died in a car crash the night before. She was devastated and numb. I could hear the deep sadness in her voice and I couldn’t breathe. Helplessness stepped in.
Those two were like family to me growing up. Their home felt like my second home. Their family, my second family. I loved those crazy days. We grew up together, all of us. We ran around with a wonderful group of people. We found friendship and love and trouble. Many of us are still connected here.
There is a hush come over us all today.
This is a loss that collects in the bones and the tear ducts. A loss that feels, as Laura put it, “like a knife in the heart”. This brings a rush of memories. I’ll share more in the days ahead. It is a hard thing to find a place for. I have cried. And I’ve remembered.
I didn’t sleep well last night. When the memories flood in all I can think is that I want one more visit. One more adventure.
This morning I fumbled with my things as I packed and headed south. Kelly knows how much I need this tonic of the air and sky and mountains. She moved me out the door with her blessing.
A three hour drive gave me lots of time to think. By Centralia, civil twilight was laying its beautiful tangerine sky across the horizon. By Chehalis, I was struck by a clear gorgeous vision of St Helens. And in the blink of an eye, the fog came in and swallowed that mountain in one big gulp.
The metaphor of the moment didn’t escape me. That clarity, then fog … it is loss and sadness.
Death and loss are full of shock and clarity. There is a moment of disbelief then an altered understanding. Then the sadness rolls in and gently washes over everything.
It cleared up 50 miles before my turn onto 205. I felt lost and found all at the same time. Shrouded in sadness … and the clarity was like a gut punch.
What saved me today was having another human to share the feelings with. Not just a human, one of my favorites. Natalie.
We walked and climbed and posed and climbed some more. We talked. And when it mattered, we shared silence.
Hamilton Mountain was beautiful today.
Sharing the day was a life saver.
And that double-cheeseburger with fries and blackberry shake saved me a bit too.
Buddha (supposedly) said:
“The trouble is, you think you have time”
Don’t wait to love people.
Stay connected, because even invisible threads are strong and resilient.
And say it out loud.
You really don’t have time.
Time has us.
Gather up the important things, the important people and hold on a little tighter tonight.