” I’ve always agreed with the pilot maxim, “The only time you can have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.” But, as with all things in life, there’s a catch: first, you have to be able to lift the weight into the air, and second, you have to be able to bring the tonnage to a stop on landing.”– Captain Chris Manno, American Airlines

Your clear, sparkling blue eyes and fiery blonde red hair for which I always teased you. Your mustache that was red (with no grey), that was set off when you played your gold Haynes flute; hair falling around your face. Your nickname for me when I was so serious about your gifts; perfect pitch and timing; perfect memory; the drive to play for the ballet, the symphony and the opera. The way you looked at me when I stood before you in the presence of your greatness and accepted that I was the last person you loved on this earth, as you said so many times. The lyrical sound of your voice as you teased me about my drive in my profession yet you reached the height of yours. The way you had no doubt about the goodness of my soul and how I questioned everything about my soul but had no doubts about your soul. The way we held each other as if we could never be separated yet I could not reach that part of you that was tortured. I missed the pain and for that I am eternally sorry.

I couldn’t see the hurt that went to your core but I can see this in others now. You were next to me and I was next to you as our world was created but I couldn’t help you stay in this world. When they told me that you were gone, I didn’t survive. The part that I gave to you is gone and I am still on fire but in dire need of fuel. I am compelled to continue but my heart has no space for another like you. No more tears but I know that I have lost that innocent part of me that loved you purely, spiritually and eternally. Your voice speaks to me and I hear the sound of your flute; even when you take a breath, it’s as if you are standing next to me and you are not. You could be standing here in this magnificent place with me but you chose to take your life.

I remember all of the simple things that you did with me; handing me that cup of black coffee when I returned home after a marathon call weekend; grilling for our friends and hiking along the lake as we solved the world problems; the way we connected with others and the verbal sparring with love. The touch of your hand, that played your flute so deftly, is still there and carved into my memory. You the gentle one; me, the practical one. Yet, I couldn’t see that you would not continue with me. I missed all of the clues that you gave me and I can’t forgive myself for missing those clues.  We had so much more to do and the world has lost that gift that you shared readily; the sound waves still out there in space even as you are dead. You took my life too and for that, I forgive you. I have to forgive you. If I don’t forgive, I can’t go on. God has willed that I go on because my work on this earth is not complete and that’s the “catch”.



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