Almost exactly two years ago, I saw a post on my EZasPi list saying that the poster lived in a town just a little south of my home. I said hello, mentioned that we were local to one another, and that, dear Blogees, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
His name was Witt, and he and his partner Gary had recently moved from the DC area. As we began exchanging emails, I found him to live up to his name - very witty, funny and playful. We were about the same age, and had a lot in common. I'm not a woman who makes friends easily, by my definition of friend. I have a lots of friendly acquaintances, sure. But for me, friendship is an intensely loyal and deep commitment. Sometimes, as in the case of my best bud in high school, someone I've known quite awhile breaks through in a moment of closeness, and stays there always. And sometimes, as with Witt and Gary, I never get a chance to throw up any of my habitual reserve, and they were in my heart right away.
A couple weeks after meeting online, the "Boyz" as they and we called them, showed up unexpectedly at our studio. We talked for hours. From then on, we would get together about twice a month, either for a movie or a bite to eat, coffee or just a chat at their apartment. Usually we'd pair off...Witt and I talking books and fiber arts, Gary and the DH whatever caught their fancy. We had that lucky friendship where everyone in both couples likes everyone else.
A year and a half ago, Witt and Gary honored me by asking me to officiate at their commitment ceremony. It was a lovely affair, just a dozen people at a favorite local restaurant/lounge. The DH did the photos, and they were beautiful too. The two of them completed one another in the ways I love to see in the happiest of couples, the way I'm lucky enough to have with my DH.
All the time I've known him, Witt's health has been compromised by HIV, and over that time, I've seen his energy levels go down. Anything we did together needed to be earlier in the day, because later he was too worn. A fever could spike out of nowhere. Meds needed adjusting. But I never saw or talked to him that his outlook wasn't positive and generous, that he wasn't full of laughter and love.
That light went out today in this world, and it's burning ever so brightly in another. Gary called this morning as we were on our way to work, and told me Witt passed on in his sleep. They were staying in a friend's cabin high up on a mountain side, as they did whenever they wanted to get away. They'd planned to go up today, but Witt pressed to leave yesterday, and that's where he left us. I can't help wondering if he had an inkling, or if he just wanted to be somewhere peaceful. He gave me a lot of yarn a few weeks ago, and that had me wondering if he wasn't feeling something then, too. The shock of hearing that he was gone so abruptly was beyond words. Witt was larger than life in so many ways, and the hole he's left behind, well...it will never fill.
People sometimes say of a loss that they know how you feel. I can't imagine how Gary feels. I can all too easily imagine how I'd feel if I lost my husband, and the horror is more than I can bear. All I can do is try to be sure we're there for Gary, and help him take the one step at a time the way that he told me he was doing this morning.
You know that mascara that forms tubes on your lashes, won't flake or run, but washes off with plenty of warm water? Guess what tears are made of? Witt would have appreciated the knowledge. It really sucks that I can't call and tell him.