Everything happens for a reason. My time with Eddie is something I never take for granted. He always believed in me, even when I didn't. He always protected me, especially from my "demons". He always loved me, even when he was angry with me. His life was so unfair and he kept trying. He was always there to help his friends, and sometimes strangers. He asked for so little in return, one might wonder what did he get out of it? The satisfaction of knowing that he had given a person a little relief and a lot of compassion in hopes they would pass it on.
Yesterday I headed back "home" to help a friend in her yard. This had been postponed due to the virus since March. On the way there I realized it was Eddie's birthday. I felt the angst of missing him for just a moment and quickly felt his presence. It seemed appropriate that I was headed to the place that he loved so much to help friends. It was a very long, hot, tiring day; but also very enjoyable. I had plans to go see Mama Reba too. Her husband passed a week before and she was finally home alone. They were our dearest of friends that more fulfilled the role of family. First, though I headed to get my kayak from our best friend/cousin's house. I finally got to meet his wife who he had been talking to since before Eddie's accident. It was so fun to tell her stories about Eddie and how much she would have loved him. I was warmed to see the two of them sharing a love and a life finally. I loaded my kayak and headed for Mama Reba's.
On the way I saw Jeff in his yard. Eddie's family ridiculed and tortured him up to the last day of his life. (His grandparents were his saving grace.) He told me that Jeff was his more like his brother than his actual brother. Jeff was there for me after the accident and still is . I hit the brakes and backed up to his driveway, it had been a long time . The smile on his face said everything. I reminded him it was Eddie's birthday. We sat on the porch to talk and he told me another long, lost friend was on the couch. Awesome! But even better was that his son was in town. He had been about 14 or 15 when Eddie passed and hey were very close. He's all grown up and goes to basic training in a few weeks. We sat and told Eddie stories and talked about how proud Eddie would be. I remembered Eddie's kayak that I had stashed there. (When I was thrown off my property, I stashed things where I could and gave much away.) The Boy went to the creek and pulled it up for me, full of pine needles. We loaded it, said "see ya" and I headed to Mama Reba's.
I hadn't seen her for several months and I just wanted to sit and visit all night but I was having headlight issues and had to be back before dark. I asked how she was, knowing all too well the confusion and uncertainty that follows the death of your husband. We talked about adjusting to a new life with no regrets. We shared stories. Her son has repaired and painted the cart that Eddie made for me to use on the farm. (Something else I stashed) That just tickled me. We expressed how important we are to each other. All in a matter of about 10 minutes. The easiness of how we love each other leaves nothing unsaid.
On the way home I looked in the back of my truck at the kayaks, thinking of how many times we had hauled the kayaks for a paddle, usually with Chewy sitting in mine. As I was leaving the county I saw some people looking twice and I knew they had the same memory. Eddie was a legend after all. As I was thinking of how it felt to have him next to me in the truck talking about how beautiful the sky was, I felt scared. I said out loud, "Please stay with me and help me with this new life. I was perfected in your love." I felt his reply and my gaze was drawn to the sky once again. "I'll be right behind the clouds...Always."
Eddie was The Legend. He is still missed so much. What we built together was also legendary. Two very traumatized people finding Divine Love and Acceptance in each other. Not missing an opportunity to make the other smile or laugh...sometimes cry. So Eddie's birthday ended up being visiting dear friends, laughing at stories about him, and just letting each other know we matter. It's exactly how he would have spent his birthday. Happy Birthday Eddie!