I got the news the other day and I want to tell you how much I love you.
Do you remember this day? We all were taking a break from writing papers and it was one of those days in Westport where you had to take a walk on the beach. Your smile was as bright at the day.
I remember when we met on campus in Nimi’s ethics class. But I had heard about you before I ever started class, small is the world we live in. Connections are all around. And after some sort of community day thing our first year, we planted spring bulbs and walked down the hill to chat some more and we shared our losses. You talked to me of Michael and I talked about William and how God had called us both to move beyond our grief. And I knew about Elephant Rock and the Nubble and I shared my memories of climbing it with my grandmother while caring one of my babies on my back. You shared your memory of swimming out into the river to get the boat so that you and Michael could sail out past the point of rock one last time. And we were grounded in memories of love.
We were sitting on your deck and talking about sheep and goats and your cat that was ancient, and I remember saying to you that we would go to Myanmar together. You rallied but I couldn’t. I was so proud to see you make that trip. And the one to India too. You slid that one in while nobody was looking. You are stealth like that.
We compared notes about CPE and how long the nights were and how my site was too hot and your site too cold. How just as you thought you had time to get that last verbatim written, you got a page to see a patient. And you did it while working, and going to school and living life on life’s terms. You drove that first generation hybrid into the ground and you emerged with that sporty little Kia. You showed me how to pick yourself up, shake off the dust and move forward.
I showed you how to collect the small stones off the beach and transform them from fears and worries, by skipping them back into the sea to be polished into hopes and dreams. You collected a few stones for me and painted them with words of encouragement. The one that says “health” I keep in my jewelry box.
And then there was that time I was freaking out in systematics and you hypnotized me and I smelled peony in every class after that. That was the weirdest thing. But I know now that when I smell the peony in the spring I will think of you.
And here is the thing. I read your letter and I am again blow away by your love of others, the strength of your call, and your clarity as you transition from this life to life eternal. I am gonna miss you. But this much I know is true, life is as it should be and I will see you again on the flip side of the vale my friend. I love you.