This was not a good weekend. Brad and I were both indecisive and restless. I slept less than three hours both nights, and because the dogs follow me everywhere, they were up, too. (That’s probably why Arnie was so very sleepy all day…) We were both angry and edgy, and here’s why:
Our neighbor, Beau, died in a bizarre accident – he was in Ferguson Canyon (just above our house) and fell from a rope swing into a shallow section of the creek. He was 23.
Beau was remarkably kind. He was a young tough, a UFC-aficionado and a scrapper, but none of that fire came out when I talked to him. To me, he was nothing but respectful and helpful and look-me-in-the-eye honest. More than once he saw me raking leaves or shoveling snow and came over to help, unasked. The one time I did ask for his assistance, during the great hot-tub move of 2008, he walked over without hesitation, even calling one of his friends to help, too.
I’m tremendously sad for him, for his mother, Kathy – with whom he was very close – and his strong network of friends. They spent most of the weekend at his house, sorting through his snowboard stuff and camping gear and cds and video games. Occasional laughter floated over the fence that divides our properties, laughs punctuated by long periods of silences; I can’t imagine the pain those moments held and will continue to hold. I can't imagine how, following the funeral today, Kathy walked into their home alone.
In January, I was shoveling the driveway after an afternoon squall, and I called hello to Kathy, who was doing the same. She'd just come back from one of her two jobs (I could tell because she was still in uniform), but she was smiling. "Beau's interlodged in Snowbird," she said. "I'm so happy he got up there before the snow came."
A couple weeks ago, Beau bought a new 4-wheeler, and as he proudly showed it to Brad and talked about horsepower and engines and wrenching, I watched his face; it was all open-hearted excitement. No arrogance, just happiness. I remember thinking, “I hope he’s safe on that thing; I hope he wears a helmet….”
It doesn’t matter now, which reminds me that it’s never what you think it’s going to be, that it comes in a flash, that it’s imperative to breathe deeply and be present as much as you can.
We’ve gotten over our anger and edginess. We’re quiet, though; we’re a little wounded, a little sore from grief. We’re thinking not of our own mortality, but of losing each other, losing the people we love – our families, our friends.