an emptiness in my heart; a hole in the community

I want to write about my friend, but am still totally reeling from the news of her passing so that I am not so sure about what to say, except,

I am really really sad.

And totally disbelieving.

How can such a huge presence suddenly vanish?

I went on the river with friends for a few days. Checked out from civilization, we floated in a news-free, politics-free bubble for 4 days. On the way out of the canyon we wondered, Are we at war? Is there still a global pandemic? Has the president been assassinated?

When you go off into the hinterlands and lose connection with all of connectivity, you never know what you might come back to.

Especially in 2020.

But as we drove back across the rez I had a fleeting thought, “Gail.”

And sure enough, she had taken her last breath just a few hours earlier.

There was an email waiting for me. I read it, continued to unpack, make dinner, shower.

Then the phone calls. The circle of friends who love her and therefore love each other; because she only brought the best into her world. Some calls last night, a few this morning.

Each of us shaking our heads in disbelief because how can she be gone. No one’s ever been able to get rid of her – once she loved you she stuck like glue.

I loved this woman. Loved her deeply and dearly.

We used to have long heartfelt discussions about who could go the longest without showering. She said one time when I walked in the door,

“Eight. Eight! Eight squirts of shampoo to get my hair to lather!”

Sometimes when I take my hair out of the elastic that’s been holding it in place for days, my hair spectacularly sticks straight up from my head, held motionless by its own grime.

I then take a photo of it and send it to my friend knowing that whatever she might be doing at the time, she will stop and laugh.

Last night after I cut out the rubber band and my hair didn’t budge I picked up the phone to take a photo and thought,


And that pretty much says it all.

Gail is gone.

Many of us are hurting.

No one else cares about my greasy hair.


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