A Moment of Stillness from Above

Walking through the day in shock and grieving is certainly no joy, but I will say it is interesting. To me it’s a paradoxical experience where on one hand every sensation you can feel is heightened to a hyper sensitive degree and on the other side you feel numb and blind like you are moving in a dense fog.

Yesterday I woke up to what was most certainly the most lovely morning I have seen yet this year. After polar vortices, snow, rain, wind and a slow developing spring I finally had a sunny and pleasant morning. I would feel like a million bucks except for the hard to overlook fact that one of my closest friends and finest men in the world just died suddenly of a heart attack, hence the shock and grief. Richard, where are you right now I need you…

The night Richard died I held myself together fairly well until I got home from the hospital and then waited two hours for Christiana (my wife) to get home so I could break the horrible news. Like many of you, I was trembling with disbelief and pain and as hard as it was I will say the vibration was high. I was wearing his I Love Shakespeare’s Globe bracelet on my right wrist and I wanted to feel his presence so badly but I just couldn’t. Richard where are you right now I need you…

The morning after Richard’s death the Joe’s lunch staff all met for the pre-shift meeting. I was not going to work on this day but I just had to be at the meeting. We have experienced this process before with Michael and Ciaran. It most certainly does NOT get any easier with unnamedexperience let me tell you. After the meeting Christiana and I walked over to the Argo tea on Michigan Avenue. Richard would sit outside there most mornings before work and have tea. He always sat up at the top step by the rock from the Arc du Triumph. Even when he could barely walk the day before his hip replacement surgery last year he insisted on walking up to the top step.  Some mornings if I thought I had the time I’d go over and meet him. I sure wish that I thought I had the time a few times more often now. Richard where are you right now I need you…

Yesterday on that beautiful morning that I spoke of earlier I left the house and got in the car to drive to work and as I did I called to check in with Richard’s wife. We talked for about 10 minutes and then when I hung up the phone I lost it again. As I drove across Foster Avenue and down Lake Shore Drive past Richard’s apartment I intermittently sobbed and ran through the never-ending list of questions in one’s head at times like this Why? How? What next? And as always for the last two and a half years I thought to myself I’ll call Richard. Richard where are you right now I need you…

As I passed Fullerton Avenue I looked out my driver’s side window and noticed that the Lake was amazingly calm. In fact I’d have to say that the lake was probably as calm as I have ever seen it in my 24 years of living in Chicago. It looked so beautiful and tranquil and welcoming and I thought to myself I wish I had time to stop and spend some time there right now. And then it occurred to me that whether or not I had the time was my choice not anybody else’s. So there you are Richard!

I exited at North Avenue and I parked the car. I walked out to the waterfront walkway and looked down into the lake and you could see to the bottom 25 feet deep. Is this the Caribbean Sea or Lake Michigan I thought to myself?  I felt the warm sun on my face like I have not yet this year. I drew in fresh Spring air in deep gulps. I snapped a few photos to remember the moment visually but no photo will ever capture the moment spiritually. I unnamed-1felt content and at peace. Like I was getting a giant hug from Richard and in fact I was. And after that I went on with my day but not like any other day I might say. Of the many things that Richard taught by the example of his life one of the loudest was to take time to savor. Even in your absence I remain your pupil in life, my dear friend. There you are again Richard thanks I needed that…

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About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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