A dear friend of mine died last April (see previous post Belief and Forgiveness). He had a young friend in his life who was like a son to him, Chad. I’ve talked with Chad on the phone and we’ve exchanged emails, especially since Marty’s death, but I’d never met him before. He came to visit me here in Truchas the other day. Well, not just me. There are several friends of Marty’s living here in New Mexico that Chad had never met (Marty lived full time in Ojai, California, but had lived in NM previously, so it’s like he had a lifetime of friends from his “past life” that had never really mingled with those of his current life).
Chad is on a road trip from California to Colorado with many stops in between. In part because he just turned 40, in part because he recently lost Marty, one of the purposes of this trip is self-refection—to look deeply at his life; to consider who he is and what he wants. And he’s documenting his journey. You should have seen the inside of his car! I wish I’d taken photos of it but I was so captivated I forgot. He had a tripod in the passenger seat, all bungee-corded in, with a video camera attached so he could video the drive. There was a recorder on the visor above the driver’s seat to record notes of his reflections as he drove. There was some other wonderful piece of equipment I’m forgetting now, but let me tell you, it was very, very cool! A blogger’s dream set-up. What a way to make the intention of his trip both conscious and creative.
We spent hours and hours talking about the man we both loved. We laughed and shared insights; we asked questions of ourselves and each other. We also spent an evening with Barbara and Alvaro (see previous posts A Journey of the Soul and The Treasure) who had been Marty’s friends for over 20 years.
It was lovely to witness the kind of energy Marty had drawn to him during his life. Alice Neel famously said, “I paint my time using people as evidence.” In some ways Marty did that and we, his friends, are that evidence. Here are Alvaro and Chad wearing the carrot cake package toward the end of the evening. What’s THAT say about the energy Marty called to him? Perhaps that he valued the imp in each of us, being the ultimate philosopher imp himself.
Chad has spent a lot of time since Marty’s death talking to all of us, his different groups of friends, piecing together a more complete portrait of the man—a man he thought he knew well; a man who was more complex than any of us understood. In coming together, now, we are seeing him more clearly.
The Spanish have a tradition of descansos. We’ve all seen crosses on roadsides where people have lost their lives. These are descansos. Descansos are meant to mark an ending, whether it is the end of a life, a job, a relationship… They are intended to mark it, honor it, and then to let it go. Chad’s visit was this for me. We marked our loss, we honored the life of the man we are getting to know better in his death than in his life, and I am letting him go, while knowing he will always be a part of me.
I wrote in the earlier post that I hoped there would be some rebirth as a result of Marty’s death. Perhaps one version of this rebirth is showing itself in Chad’s vision quest, in his seeking understanding of his path. Another may be this new me who is learning to value my experience, no matter what it meant to another; to find meaning inside myself rather than from outside sources. Maybe it is the opening I’m feeling as I accept that Marty is my past, the future is what beckons, and this moment is all we have.
Love to you all,