I met Carolyn at a writing workshop that was held on Thursday mornings in Peterborough, New Hampshire. After the workshop ended, Carolyn and I kept writing together on Thursdays for a dozen-odd years. Joined by a few writing friends, we supported each other's work and, as always happens, each other's lives as well.
I will miss her bright wit, her passion for the world, and her wise words. Most of all, I will miss her generous spirit. I am beyond grateful to have had her in my life and she will, always, have a place in my heart.
I got the news this morning that you were gone. It’s blistered me, this news. I had the notion that we’d spend Thursdays together for the rest of eternity. Me with my large coffee and you with your orange tea at the café/bakery where we always met. We’d continue forever to have those long congenial and sometimes intense conversations about philosophy and psychology, books and writing, politics and the state of the world, or anything else that was on our minds. You, my friend, were one of the few people I would talk to about life’s big questions; Why are we here on this little blue planet dancing around the sun? Where do we wind up when our journey is done? We never did have any clear answers. Then again, wasn’t it Rilke who said we ought to live the questions?
I have so many questions. They sit at the center of this ache that is your absence from my life. I turn them over and over again in my head. Where are you, dear friend? Where have you gone now that this life, with all its tribulation and passion, with all its tender joys and prickly sorrows, is done for you? There are, as usual, no clear answers.
I remember you telling me, once or twice, how your father sold ice cream in a little shop in Montgomery, Alabama. How he believed with all his heart that ice cream was good for both the body and the soul. How you and your brother spent many a childhood night at the store. Flavors spread out before you in the display case—a cornucopia of after supper treats, a child’s heaven.
I can almost hear your mother tell you, as you often told the story, to take only as much as you can eat. Make life a feast, but don’t be greedy. Share the abundance. These are the words you lived by.
When I think of where you’ve gone, I like to imagine you bowl in hand, gallons of ice cream in all the colors of the rainbow waiting for you to scoop out and enjoy. You wonder at the selection, at the sheer overwhelming abundance of sweet tastes. And then you fill the bowl with just enough to celebrate, just enough to nourish your soul.
I raise my bowl to yours. It’s heavy with the grief of losing you. And also with gratitude for a feast of laughter salted with tears, for words both wise and heartening. You’ll have to forgive me. I am greedy for more.
I carry you in my heart,