It’s been a while since I last wrote here, and a lot has happened. To use a term that I introduced here a number of months ago, it’s been a brutiful month. Brutal and beautiful.
Brutal because we lost yet another friend- our beloved Clive. And this death has had a different sort of impact on us, because Clive took his own life. Folks in the community have been feeling stunned, and I still can’t quite believe he’s gone either. Erinn and I were allowed the privilege of hearing about the depth of his internal pain, but he tended to keep this pain under wraps, masking it with his hilarious one-liners and sunny disposition.
Clive loved to play the guitar and sing during our Monday drop-ins, and he and I tackled many a crossword together during our Wednesday breakfast drop-ins. He had a way of setting people at ease with his deep, soft, voice and wonky sense of humour. He was a skilled tradesman, making beautiful fences and decks all last summer, and training up some other members of our community to do the same.
Tomorrow we will hold a memorial service for our friend Clive. My hope is that it will be a chance for all of us honour him well, to voice how much he meant to us, and to gain a bit of closure for our friendships with him that ended so abruptly.
Because of Clive’s death, it’s been a brutal month.
It has also been beautiful in so many ways as well. We held our annual February Feast and Open Stage, which was a huge success. The kitchen crew worked their magic, there was enough food to go around, the Open Stage was a lot of fun, and a spirit of joyous celebration pervaded the evening. A local reporter came to snap a few pictures, and ended up staying for hours- he was enjoying himself too much to leave!
A few days later, Erinn and I went away for a 24 hour retreat. We cooked, chatted, planned, napped, walked, read and prayed, and it was wonderful. We needed this time, and thankfully it came directly before receiving the news about Clive. It didn’t make this news any easier to hear, but at least we were well rested before facing the emotional exhaustion that followed.
And then last week I was able to go away on vacation with one of my dearest friends. We enjoyed the incredible hospitality of my aunt and uncle, staying on their boat near Freeport, Bahamas. I am SO grateful for that opportunity to rest, read, swim and eat good food with family, and a friend who feels like family. She also recently had a close encounter with suicide, so we were able to talk through our feelings together and offer each other encouragement and solidarity.
So, after these past few brutiful weeks I am grieving, and I am grateful.