Love Letter to Terry
by Abby Cobb, March 2019
I miss you, Terry.
Here on Xenia Avenue we’re missing you.
There’s a cold, dry wind that blows right through the middle of me
when I remember that you’re gone.
Now that the sun has come back out
I look for you everywhere:
Sitting at the table under the umbrella with a couple of friends,
your hearty laugh ringing out,
greeting me as I walk by,
your bicycle with the big white compost bucket on the back,
leaning against the painted wall.
I miss your wild golden curls
glinting with sunlight,
and your hard, cracked bare feet
comfortable on concrete.
Inside the Emporium I scan quickly,
looking for you at one of the little tables,
hands wrapped around a small cup of coffee
(you never indulged in a large),
eating the toast you made in the kitchen
from heel pieces of bread
when you picked up the compost.
You loved the Earth, truly,
like a mother,
feeding her daily, tenderly,
the leftovers of the world,
those you didn’t eat yourself.
You spoke with reverence of the mycorrhizae in the soil,
and you knew the name of every plant,
especially the nourishing weeds:
red root and stinging nettle.
You respected everything that lives,
including each person,
even the ones wandering by, muttering to themselves.
You spoke to them by name.
Was there anyone you didn’t know, here on Xenia Avenue
where you offered your daily doses of love
equally to everyone –
a long, lingering hug, or just a kind word,
gauging comfort level and need.
Love was the medicine you dispensed,
even when you saw the shortcomings:
your own, mine, their’s.
“We’re all in this together”, you would say
and “We’re so much more alike than we are different”.
Even as you called Trump an “asshole”
you acknowledged his humanity.
With gentleness and skill you pried open the lid
of whatever was bottled up inside
each of us,
giving full attention to whatever poured out,
making sense of our sometimes crazy choices,
encouraging our next steps.
You made us feel stronger, Terry,
and less alone,
a little more okay about being who we are.
You eased our hearts open just a little bit wider
toward each other
in this hard, competitive world.
Somewhere deep down we knew all this,
but you showed us by living it, Terry.
Wherever you went, whomever you spoke to,
you carried that inner silence with you
from your daily meditation,
a silence as wide as the sky,
warm as the sun,
soft as moss under bare feet.
You listened to the Divine within,
all the time,
and you were present in that place with us,
speaking your truth.
Creator/ Creation you called it,
that Life Force you let guide every step you took,
every word you spoke,
pausing, sometimes, in conversation,
eyes tightly closed,
searching for the truest word.
Or, taking your pendulum from your pocket,
a plain metal washer on a piece of string,
we paused together,
watching the magic disc circle one way
or the other,
or just hold still.
Pocketing it, again, you had your answer:
you would go or stay
or say or not say.
It was clear to you.
The mystery thrilled us.
We could see your direct hook-up to Creation
There were no false moves
or idle words from you.
You breathed in Trust
and exhaled Serenity.
Love breathed through you.
We could feel it.
That’s how you stayed comfortable with stage 4 cancer,
almost to the very end,
not knowing what,
but knowing something stalked you,
keeping that knowing to yourself.
You opened yourself to Life and Love
wherever it revealed itself.
You listened carefully.
You encouraged us to open ourselves, too,
to do the work we came to do,
walking forward in our inner light,
offering no resistance.
Enjoying every bit of this marvelous Creation,
Earth. Us. Here.
We miss you, Terry.
Love you forever.
Thanks for showing us what we knew all along,
for helping us wake up and remember.
You gave so much.
You gave yourself.