There’s one person who typically responds the fastest every time I post something on this blog. I’d always get a text message or a Facebook ping with words of encouragement, comments, questions, or general thoughts. I’d also get a friendly nudge whenever the blog went silent for a while.
It’s so odd, the random things you miss. Certain favored emojis and gifs. Idiosyncratic turns of a phrase. Those endearingly honest crow’s feet. The red editing marks he would use when helping me clean up the Rangemaster newsletter. Mindless gossip or unfiltered venting sessions about the gun world, or the legal profession, or people in general.
Last comment he left here was this very Josh-like trio of emoticons:. Well, right back atcha, homie. Thumbs up, mad applause for you, and stay cool.
Some of you know how much I really suck at death. So, off to escapist poetry land I go! Typically Robert Frost is my go-to death-splainer, but this time, how ’bout some Emily Dickinson. And guys, please, if you ever hit that hardest wall, please talk to somebody. Anybody. Call a hotline. Hell, call me if you want. I’ll listen, even if I don’t know you. I won’t judge. I’ll just listen. And I can guarantee you — I’ll look you in the eyes and swear to you on my own life — you’re not alone. I promise, you’re not.
Farewell, Josh, and safe travels.
After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes
by Emily Dickinson
After great pain a formal feeling comes–
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions–was it He that bore?
And yesterday–or centuries before?
The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.
This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow–
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.