My Dearest, Most Beloved Zee,

Such poignant moments we shared together. Hard to describe, special moments of intimacy. We righted wrongs, built businesses, loved children, shared laughter, healed old wounds, touched each other’s hearts, drank deeply of pleasure. The joy, the light, the laughter from those days permeates my life even now.

In many ways, I have learned more about you in your death than I did in your life. As wave after wave of grief has washed over me, I have relived many memories of the time we shared. You knew me well, much better than I understood or that you ever shared with me. Unsettling as that sometimes feels, it has become a great comfort.

You were so quiet about the important things. You went about your life with an economy of action and an attention to detail that takes my breath away. Everything you did was honed to provide the greatest desired impact in the shortest amount of time without expending unnecessary energy. You never talked about your heart damage. What you did was build into our lives what we would need to live in a future you knew you would not share.

We rarely talked about our love and what it meant to you. Yet, you depended on that love, not only to sustain you, but to give you the assurances in life you needed. You knew that no matter how difficult it would be for me hear the news of your death and to walk into a future without you, our love would triumph to bring me out on the other side. That has been the biggest surprise for me. I ride the wave of the pain through profound depths, yet ride the resurgence of love out of the depths into the sun.

In a difficult moment, you told me, “I know that they will never break you.” When I have sat beaten and bloodied by the intensity of the pain, when the grief washes over me like a tidal wave, I hear your words again and they give me strength. You believed I could face anything. Oh, that I could! In these last months, I have felt like a broken, storm-tossed spar in search of a distant shore.

CREDITS: Skipjack at Sunset by Thomas R. Fletcher

Sometimes in the afternoon during the time when we would be coming home from fishing on the Bay, my mind goes back to the memories we made in those hours. The sun on our skin, the wind in our hair, the sound of our laughter ringing through the air, the sweetness of your kiss, the intoxicating liqueur of blazing new trails, . . . it was a very special time filled with dreams that seemed just beyond our reach, but not beyond our abilities.

It pains me greatly that I alone live to bear witness of those events. I want to be with you, to share those moments again, to  build more laughter into our lives, to reach for more. It does not seem right for you to be gone. It seems like some great, catastrophic cosmic event has taken place and the entirety of life has gone tilt, never to recover its bearings.

It seems like I endlessly turn over and over in my mind all that has happened, trying to find some explanation, some fleeting  glimpse of a thing that could take away this overwhelming feeling of senselessness and give reason to why you are gone. But there is nothing. I rail against the senselessness of it and find myself getting angry with you.

“All you had to do was breathe. It didn’t make any difference to me what you were doing, whether you were here or there. It didn’t make any difference to me if I saw you or if I didn’t. But it made all the difference in the world if you lived. Why couldn’t you live??? Tell me that!!! WHY … COULD  … YOU … NOT … JUST … LIVE???”

Tears are streaming down my face as I double over, clutching my arm across my stomach in pain, pounding the table with my right hand, shouting each word separately, demanding an answer. I am angry with you, for so many things, . . . and for nothing at all. In truth, I am angry at you for being dead and leaving the rest of us here to pick up the pieces. It isn’t fair. At this moment, I do not know what I would do if you walked through my door. Would I kiss you because I love you more than life itself? Or would I slap you for what we have gone through since you have died?  Probably both. Then I would hold you and never let you go.

I wait for you to answer, but you say nothing, just face me with the same look you always have when you know life is difficult and the only thing we can do is endure. It is comforting. It always was.

The waves pass. I am back at whatever masquerades for “normal” these days, although it is far from what it should be.

My mind reflexively looks forward to the day when the intensity of grieving your death will be less than it is now,  when the hardest part of the pain will have faded and I will look back in peace to our time together. I do not know when that time will come, but it does not seem near and I fear the struggle to endure.

Memories . . . Already, I feel your hand slip from mine as you turn to leave.

“I love you!” you said, then turned, walking resolutely toward your car.

“I love you, too!” I called after you, willing you to come back, knowing with each step that you would not.

You walked on, got in your car and drove away. I never saw you again.

You struggled much in this life. So much grief, so much pain. I don’t want to be angry with you anymore. I want to send you on your journey in peace. So, My Belovéd:

May you have safe journeys along the way,
May the sun shine bright in the cloudless day,
May the wind blow warm and peace reign high,
May you know my love is forever nigh,
May your table be full and the draught be sweet,
And may your heart find rest with your joy complete.

— J. E. Clark / 15 February 2011


The idea for the farewell toast in this letter was inspired by the lyrics to “May It Be,” the song by Enya  from Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings. The hauntingly beautiful melody touched my heart and the lyrics describe well the sentiments I have for Zee. To see the video, click here.

May It Be by Enya

May it be an evening star
Shines down on you,
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true,
You walk a lonely road.
Oh! How far you are from home!

Mornie utulie (darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way.
Mornie alantie (darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now.

May it be the shadow’s call
Will fly away,
May it be you journey on
To light their day,
When the night is overcome,
You may rise to find the sun.

Mornie utulie (darkness has come)
Believe and you will find your way.
Mornie alantie (darkness has fallen)
A promise lives within you now.
A promise lives within you now.

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