I decided to exercise on my own at home today, while the kids were at school. I used a Yoga Studio app, which I downloaded months ago, for the first time, doing the 60 minute Intermediate Combination routine. It was a peaceful practice for me and I felt good afterwards.
As I sat on my mat, after doing yoga, I checked my email to find there was a Caring Bridge update for Rick. I smiled wondering what the latest news would be with my college friend Maria and her husband. Rick, who was nick-named “Superman” in recent weeks, has been battling brain cancer for over three years and living long beyond what his doctors ever thought he would or could.
I clicked over to read the update.
I was surprised and very sad to read that Rick passed away early this morning.
So many who love and care about the Hokanson family have been praying for so long and doing all we can think of to try to show our support. It feels surreal that this time has come.
I find comfort in knowing that Rick died peacefully. I appreciate the moving prayer Maria shared with the news of her dear husband’s death. My heart breaks that one of my sorority sisters is a widow now, before the age of 40, and her two sons won’t get to grow up with their father here in the years to come.
There are no words at times like this.
It is so difficult to try to make any sense of such a loss.
There are many tears.
There are many prayers.
And there is hope.
Please hold Maria and Rick’s family and friends close in your thoughts and prayers in the days, weeks, months and years to come.
They have been on such a bittersweet journey and this next stage will not be any easier, just different.
From my experience, I know adjusting to a new normal after the death of a loved one is extremely painful. The transition is made lighter for many by knowing how many lives were touched by the person who passed away, being able to find comfort and joy in our memories and believing we will be together again someday in Heaven.
As I think about and send my love to Maria this morning, I call to mind a scene from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, in which a man reads a W.H. Auden poem in honor and memory of his partner who died. I bought a book of Auden poems called Tell Me the Truth About Love, which includes that moving poem, soon after I first saw the movie, as I wanted my own copy.
It is with a heavy heart that I leave you with the poem, which I dedicate to Maria and all those who lives are better for knowing her husband.
Rest in peace, Rick.
Though I never got to meet you in person, I thank you for all the ways you have touched my heart through your life and death.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.*
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.*
*I believe that love does last for ever and good will come from Rick’s death, through the legacy he leaves behind with Maria, their sons and other loved ones.