On Wednesday a young man I have long loved and hailed as "friend" stepped through the veil.
He has always had a sweet smile for us, always had gentle hands and kind words for my children, freely offered support to me, offered guidance from his own experience as an addict when I felt ill equipped to help Someone navigate that dark and dangerous path.
Nine months clean, gone in an instant.
If ever I believed in demons, I would name them Heroin, Meth, Alcohol, and any of the other countless substances that sink their teeth and claws into people and gnaw at their bones. If ever I believed in evil, it would be these things that destroy, that steal the light from us, that leave holes where people we love, loved, once radiated light and warmth.
The world is a little dimmer, a little colder.
Inside the utility trailer where we sleep, on the wall near the back end, by the door, there are crayon marks. John brought a HUGE bag of crayons and some coloring books over to our camp one day and sat with Sprout for a bit, coloring with her. He left them with us for the duration of the event, and she colored. Some pages, yes, but also on the plywood that lines the trailer. It will remain there, that crayon rendering of happy enthusiasm., and remind me of him.
Sprout wept when I told her he'd died. She said she will miss him. Me too, kid. Me, too.
All of the denizens of Casa de Crazy will mourn our friend.
I once told him, teasing, that if he wasn't young enough to be my son (or much younger brother, at least) and if I had more confidence, I would be more than happy to be inappropriate with him. He grinned and replied that he'd have gone there. Very good for my ego.
I will miss his hugs - he had strong arms and gave good hug.
I will miss his teasing.
I will miss seeing him light up when his eyes fell on the people he loved.
I have offered, and continue to offer, boundless love to his family. We are here. If we can help, we will.
And to John...may your journey through the veil and into the next place be gentle and without pain or sorrow. May you leave behind all that hurt, all that angered, all that darkened your days. May you carry with you all that brought you joy. May the love you gave and the love you received never fade. May you be met with love and fellowship by those who made the journey before you.
By all the gods who ever were, who are now, and who ever will be, may you make yourself known to we who loved you in this life when you return to our circle again.
Shake the rafters and make the foundation tremble, John Watson, and for the too little we had of you, I thank you.