Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I started Sweet Freethinker in May 2016. I was in a different place then, most certainly in the throes of acute grief. Each time I penned a new post, I wondered whether I would ever branch out into other topics, besides grieving. I believe the best writing comes when someone is true to their own voice, when they can cut through the bullshit and express what lies beneath with authenticity and clarity. Becoming a widower forced me to express that voice in a way I never had before. That being said, I’ve come to the peaceful conclusion that this blog has been about one man’s walk with grief, and should remain so. I’ve decided to sign off with this final post.
“When one person is missing, the whole world seems empty.” *
I can’t think of a truer thing to say in relation to losing a loved one. And yet, the world hasn’t seemed as empty each time I picked up my pen. Somehow, in some way, knowing that you were out there, reading, reflecting, and responding, made this writer feel less alone, less despondent. Empathy is alive and well, dear reader; I’ve learned one doesn’t have to look far to find it. Thank you, a thousand times, for having the courage to engage with me as I took some long, hard looks at the reality of life, death, and grieving. I’ve tried my best to capture not only the pain, but also the beauty that comes from reflecting on a life well-lived, and I thank you for taking it all in with me.
“I heard you die twice, once when they bury you in the grave, and the second time is the last time that somebody mentions your name.” **
I wrote many letters to Alicia when she was alive. Looking back, I see that this blog was another in a long series of love letters to her. Though I won’t be writing any more posts on Sweet Freethinker, my pen won’t be idle. I’ll be writing a book about Alicia for her beloved sons. I wish to introduce her to them, as I knew her. To know her as they might have gotten to know her when they became adults, when those relationships to one’s parents change into something more akin to friendship. Alicia’s book is also intended for any that should come after our children. I want them to know her name, to speak it often, and to know much of the person that gave that name such beauty and distinction.
You’ve come to mean much to me, reader, over the last year and a half. Please don’t let this last post mean goodbye. Rather, allow it be a simple farewell. I’ve been known to keep in touch through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or yes, even through the occasional hand-written letter (fancy stationery and all). Take good care, much love, and as always, cheers for reading.
*From an illustration in “Tear Soup: A Recipe For Healing After Loss”
**From “Glorious” by Macklemore