How do you say goodbye? If anyone has a clue, I’d like to know, because it just doesn’t sound right.
So instead I write a letter to you. Somewhere in a foreverland of snowcapped mountains and rolling hills and Scottish moors and happy dogs, I imagine you sitting down to read this. Taking a break from some intricate puzzle you’ve been building, popping into the office for a bit, leaning against the doorway. In my head you are on a coffee break, and I guess you kind of are on a break from the meds and the radiation and the fatigue and difficulty breathing and the vision problems and the searching for words and the frustration in not finding them. A break from the cancer. Yes you are on a break.
Put down the hammer, pour yourself a glass of Laphroaig (the 15 year of course) and relax.
Back to work tomorrow and word of your leaving us will surely be starting to spread. I’m sure the guys at the site first, and then moving outward like ripples on a lake. The calls will come in and grown up tough guys will be reduced to quivering puddles again. They will be examining their own mortality. Which in a few cases, could be a good thing. But I digress.
I’m not sure I want to be there, my friend. Unless you’d like to pull in to the office driveway and stand silently, smooshing your nose and face onto my window, waiting for me to turn around and then fall off my chair in shock, like you did last summer. Or the day you came in and taped the computer mouse to the desk. You can come do that again. I promise I won’t yell. Well not much anyways. Maybe just a little, until you break out into rolling laughter. And we follow suit. Doubled over, gut splitting, tears flowing laughter. Maybe you could do a little peanut butter on the steering wheel once more, that one was good too.
Or you could bring one of your gorgeous dogs in again. Max was it? You the proud doggy papa. Trying to convince me I needed to bring a Golden home to my family. I was convinced, you know. But the better half wasn’t so much.
You could come in and tell me about Utah, and the mountains. I’ve finally seen them, and you were right. There’s nothing like them. But you could tell me about them again, and I’d listen. Eagerly clinging to every word, we’d listen. And show me the pictures, again. Please.
How we are supposed to do this? This moving on, this one day at a time. We need to keep the forward momentum, but we don’t want to leave you behind. Faith has brought me from here to Utah and back again, allowing us to leave there feeling you were at peace now. I’m digging my nails in and not letting go. This faith is an elusive thing. I held onto it for the last 6 months, and I promise to keep holding on , but it’s hard and a bumpy ride.
Throw us a bone, let us know that it’s all okay. Nothing hokey, no rainbows and God light, but a good old fashioned prank. Glue the shot glass to the table, or the phone to it’s cradle, or 12 sugars in someone’s coffee.
Then laugh so we can hear you. So we can nod and smile and bust a gut ourselves and say “It’s okay. He’s on his break.”
Many thanks to the Nicoll family for use of these wonderful photos. He was a true friend to many and is deeply missed.