Dale Clifton Thommarson
October 31, 1961 - December 23, 2010
This morning going about my boat business, I mused about how very happy I am, happier than I can ever remember. How this new cruising life suits me, how on this eve of Christmas I feel so joyful spending it in our new life on our new boat with our new friends.
And then my phone rang. My sister asked where I was and was Chip with me.
And then life put up this road block. A cement barrier that I ran up smack against. My forever friend Dale was gone.
Words have always been my life raft. If I throw them out in just the right combination, they become buoyant and deliver me safely to the other side. But all these thousands of words that have been my life and livelihood, I filter through them, string them together, restring them, trying to arrange them into something to carry me through grief. Instead my words sink to the bottom.
Those who regularly read my blog know that I rarely write in real time but after the fact, although usually only a few days later. Now, almost a month later, I put words together but dread the moment I hit "publish" because that becomes the final word.
And that happiness? It is still there. I know that Dale would not approve of sadness, in fact, would be angry at my tears.
Now, happiness and sadness coexist, side by side. Like a child walking along a curb, one step up on the curb and the next step down on the street, here I am, one moment ecstatically happy, the next weeping. Happy and sad, so close together, sometimes confusingly intertwined.
The day that photo was taken earlier this year, we were headed to Billy Ray's for karaoke night. How I wish that I had asked him that night to please live forever, because that's what I really wanted.
Instead, like we are so want to do, I asked for what was immediate and simple, a tiny, lame request.
Sing Love Me Tender.
And he did.
There at Billy Ray's in the pitiful, tired light, his beautiful baritone voice rang strong as he slipped away.
"Love me tender. Love me true. All my dreams fulfilled. For my darlin' I love you. And I always will."
And I always will.