Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In Sorrow


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.

18 comments:

leesha said...

Mahalo for letting me know...I have his old phone number and will attempt to call Gary and I will send him much aloha...
alicia...

divaknitternyc said...

what eloquent words for an incredible man and an incredible couple. My heart is breaking at the thought of not seeing dear, sweet Witt in this world. But I have great faith that we will see each other again. The sweet pearl of my sadness lies in the thought that he and my mother (who passed away 23 months to the day) will be thrilled to see him....and will keep him safe until we see him again

Wondermachine said...

This is a beautiful post. Thanks for remembering Witt and his beloved Gary. I knew them both in DC and was honored to call them friends. I'm in a state of shock. I did an interview a few years back with Witt about his feelings about craft and creativity. Reading it this evening I've been in tears just hearing the sound of his voice, his laughter. Just stunned. I posted a few photos of him on my blog at www.wondermachine.org and a link to that interview with him.
THanks again. I don't know how to reach Gary to tell him how much love we feel for Witt and for him and for his mother Bobbye at this time. I'm feeling crushed.

Wondermachine said...

And thanks for the beautiful photo of the two of them.

mdelvecchio said...

thanks for posting - Witt was a dear friend to so many folks, he will be greatly missed. I second Dan's comments - if you are in touch with Gary, tell him all of us in DC are sending love and light

mdelvecchio said...

thanks for posting - Witt was a dear friend to so many folks, he will be greatly missed. I second Dan's comments - if you are in touch with Gary, tell him all of us in DC are sending love and light

Joey said...

Diana -- I was shocked when I got the e-mail last evening that you sent! But thank you for letting people know. It was such sad news...Witt was such a great person and a friend that I will miss terribly.

I, unfortunately, don't know Gary very well -- but do you have an e-mail address for him? I'd like to send my condolences. Also...can you tell me Gary's last name? I'd also like to send a card.

Please share any information you may get regarding services, etc., as the arrangements are made. Thank you so much!

Knitterman said...

what a great tribute. Thanks for posting this.

Diane in Chico said...

Thanks for a lovely post about Witt. I'll miss his online friendship.

Pam said...

After I read that I was crying. What a beautiful testimony to a wonderful friend. I have talked to him via email several years ago and he was always warm and very open.
He will be missed by all he touched.

ellen said...

Very nice, Diana.

It's hard to imagine a world without him.

Cat said...

He knows.

Thank you for letting us know a little more about you and the Boyz.

M-H said...

Thanks for this lovely tribute. I am sad too, down here in Australia., for the loss of such a kind and generous soul from the world.

Susan in HK said...

I'm a KnitSib of Witt's from Hong Kong. I had the honor of meeting Gary and Witt at their home in Winchester about 2 1/2 years ago. Thank you for this tribute. I'll miss him.

Susan in Hong Kong

StickLena said...

I cannot but agree with your experience.Never met Witt IRL but what a warm and tender feeling every email from him gave me. Will never forget him, my flowerboy for eternity. RIP

Anthony M said...

Thank you for posting this. Life is short, but sweet. Sometimes heaven needs our friends more that we do. Our prayers are also with Gary, and with you, and with all those who a finding a way to persevere thru this loss.

anthony

Romi said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. This was a lovely post. Thank you for sharing it.

Dave-B said...

God. What a shocker. I wasn't even looking for Witt, much less for this. I met Witt about 10 or 12 years ago at the Pittsburgh bus terminal when he came for a visit; we met before that online, on the "big knit list". I'd been out of the knitting scene for a few years, and had lost touch with him. We stayed with Marie one year for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

I really liked Witt. I've wondered, especially recently, how he was dealing with his HIV. I had no idea it had taken his life. I don't remember Gary, and am guessing they met after we did.

He was such a skilled, incredibly knowledgeable knitter. I hate this illness that's still taking the lives of some of our most creative people.

I value our friendship, and I'll miss you, Witt. I'll miss you a hell of a lot. Somehow, I always thought I'd see you again. It breaks my heart to think that it won't be on this plane. Rest in peace, friend.