Cliff in Reno“Ah Cliffy!!!  I feel so thankful for you as I enter my studio and the warm fire.  I feel so loved and lucky.”

“I feel the same way honey” Cliff texted back Thursday.  Cliff built a fire in my studio each morning last week while I was gone to town for 6am workout.  I’d spot the smoke billowing from the chimney on my walk through the woods from the cabin to work and smile.  Early morning thank-you texts to Cliff were launched each day.

Later Thursday morning when I texted Cliff to confess that actually calling the doctor to begin the process to enter my mother into Hospice care was more difficult than thinking about starting hospice, Cliff texted, “I’ll be right over honey.”  The sound of his four-wheeler announced Cliff’s arrival.  I cried.  Cliff listened.  Cliff and I have taken care of each other for 22 years up here on this mountain and out in the world through a full variety of life’s intense storms and all the mellow stuff.  He took my mother cookies on Friday and stopped by my studio with the mail to talk about mom and give me a hug before I was off to meet with mom’s doctor.

Cliff didn’t answer the phone when Raymond and I called Sunday night to invite him over for dinner.  Cliff always calls back but a massive heart attack took his life earlier that morning.
  The magnitude of loss is unbearable.
  The shock immense.
  Sorrow sooooo deep.  Piercing.  Painful.

Cliff was one-of-a-kind (with an emphasis on KIND).  I do not know how to be in this world without Cliff but much of what I know about being came from Cliff.  I will share more once I can wrap myself around the word “was” as I’m too wrecked to write.  Thank goodness for Raymond, his family and an amazing force of friends and love – this chapter takes troops to bear…