Friday, March 05, 2010

thank you to all my friends here

I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has commented and shared in this week's sending of healing thoughts, prayers, and focused energy for Gerry. There is no doubt that his family has been awash in an outpouring of love and support from friends, extended family, colleagues, and from people all over the world who connected via a wider network of friends.

It was a very sad afternoon yesterday. However, my husband (Matthew, who commented in the previous post) and Gerry's team at work were able to go say goodbye to him, spend time with his wife and family, and then go out together to spend time remembering him. The fire department crew who did the first response went to the hospital to answer questions family and friends had about the accident itself. Gerry's wife comforted his friends, with grace and strength. When Matthew got home it was clear Gerry's death had brought sadness but also a tremendous amount of light and love, which I think is the biggest possible tribute to the kind of friend and person he was.

It seemed entirely appropriate that even while his friends were learning of his death, Gerry, an organ donor, had already given a major organ to a 7-year old girl.  (And in a recent update today, Mandy reported that Gerry gave sight to 2 people, saved 5 people's lives with organ donations, and improved the health of up to 200 people with tissue donations -amazing)

Gerry's team of guys were told to take the day off today, and right now they are all on the phone, in a conference call, remembering Gerry. Many people are sharing stories and photographs on his Facebook Group page, Friends of Gerry Reid, and on the Caring Bridge website under his name Gerald Reid.

We continue to send strength to his family as they move forward.

If anyone doubts the power of friendship and of people to generate a web built of love and light, go take a look. It's pretty amazing.


We've had sunshine here for two days and the forecast is bright through Monday. The horses seem happy with the hints of spring. There are songbirds everywhere, and yesterday on the way to the feed store I saw a yard completely covered with blackbirds. Keil Bay took another nap in the barnyard and because he looked so relaxed and comfortable lying there I actually delayed Salina's first lunch by fifteen minutes so he could finish his siesta. About the only thing he has to complain about is the fact that HE doesn't need four meals a day!

There was another death this week: my father's best friend died in his sleep three nights ago. My dad met Lank in Basic Training and they went through that together, then ended up in the same unit that stayed together all the way through the Korean Conflict. They both married and had first children around the same time, and our two families grew up visiting at least twice a year from the time I was born until I graduated from high school.

Lank and my dad talked frequently on the phone during my dad's last year of life, and I was relieved to learn that Lank died in his sleep, peacefully. The day after Lank died, before I even knew he had, I saw the little bird who came to visit me day after my dad died. The little bird flew up and to the fence and then away, and I stood there a moment waiting for something more to happen. A few minutes later, when I left the window, I heard a burst of bird song in the back yard. It was the little bird, with about 5 more birds, all sitting on the fence, side by side, looking at the house, singing their hearts out. I'm thinking that was my dad, Lank, and the other members of their army unit, reunited and enjoying springtime.

I was reminded yesterday when I learned of Gerry's death how time itself seems to stop when someone we know passes on. It's almost as though we forget how to move, as if the sensation of something ending becomes tangible and we have to turn the switch back to "forward" again. It's easy to see how, without children and animals and the pull of other lives around us, one could get stuck in grief and forget to flip that switch.

This morning I'm listening to my husband recall moments with Gerry on his conference call, my son is outside pounding brass with a hammer, making gold ingots and other interesting things, and the cats are curled up in various spots sleeping. Kyra the Corgi is nosing around the back yard, and the horses and donkeys are, according to my son, who just walked in, all looking at the house. It's time for breakfast tubs and that, here on November Hill, is a powerful motivator to flip the switch and move on.

I thank you all for helping this week. Please call on me if I can do the same for any of you, any time.


CharlieHorse said...

Oh, so sad to lose a beloved - my sincere condolences to all who will miss him, may Gerry rest in peace. Thank you for sharing, Billie. When I was a little girl, my little animal friends taught me about loss and grieving. Truly it is the price we pay for the gift of life, and the privilege of giving and receiving love. Gerry must have been a wonderful blessing to those who were fortunate to share his life.

ponymaid said...

Billie, thank you for this very moving post. It strikes a chord with all of us.

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie, you are such a good person and I feel privileged to be your friend. Today, I am remembering one of my closest friends who died two years ago, and I'm still really missing her on this anniversary. That web of light and love is so important, and my heart goes out to you and Matthew and Gerry's family and friends.

enlightenedhorsemanship said...

You have had an awful lot going on lately, haven't you?
I'm really sorry you have lost your friend. It's late to add my voice to those who have spoken in caring ways, but know I'm here.
As you say, our animals provide a wonderful means of continuing on with life. My Ruby sits here hoping for an early afternoon snack, even as I hack away in the tenth day of a miserable virus. What would we do without them?
I will hold stillness at 9:00 in Gerry's honor.

billie said...

Thank you all. Tonight we drank Blue Moons in honor of Gerry, who was a microbrew afficionado.

Matthew said...

Thanks for writing so beautifully and eloquently here about Gerry's passing.

billie said...

You're welcome - I would love to post the tribute you wrote on the Caring Bridge site. Let me know if that is okay.

Maddy said...

My deepest condolences.
Just reading about Gerry makes me wish I had known him. He was an incredible person and will surely be missed. Many wonderful memories for his beloved friends and family to hold dear for many years to come.

billie said...

Thank you, Maddy. I so appreciate the good words!