This past winter, my longtime friend, since childhood, Spencer, passed away suddenly and tragically in a car accident. I was friends with Spencer's older sister, Jenny, and we spent many-a -weekends in bed with our other friend, Ashley, watching "Legends of the Fall" on repeat while growing up. Spencer lived with me in college and was very much a brother to me. He left behind a daughter, Lily, who is now being cared for by Jenny.
There isn't a day that goes by that I do not think about him.
Every week at church, we end our services with a blessing from Psalm 67:
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
And at Spencer's funeral, we all spoke the Irish blessing, May the Road Rise to Meet You:
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand
Both blessings have very similar sentiments, and each week, as I speak the words aloud, hand in hand with my husband, a chorus of other faithful believers around us, I picture my friend bathed in light. Because that is what he was. Light and energy and love and truth.
He was a rare soul who didn't sugar coat. That can ruffle feathers, but he had a thick skin. He wasn't unbothered, he was just sure of himself, and understood that authenticity and truth were love languages.
I am currently reading Mark Twain's, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Spencer's uncle shared during his eulogy that Spencer had devoured the novel. I recently picked up the 125th anniversary annotated copy, with original illustrations and historical information and other interesting tidbits and just can't help but see Spencer in Huck Finn. I have been smiling a lot, shaking my head with tiny laughter, as I picture my friend. I can see why he loved this book.
I think every July, when his birthday rolls around, I'll pull out this novel. Huck will forever be intertwined with him and his free, loving spirit.
Gosh, I miss him.