Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trees and Tents with Houd

Arriving at Camp Korb, we were always greeted by Houd willing and able to help us setup our tent or camper no matter if it was light or dark outside.  The photo above was taken by my husband accidentally one night while we were helping Houd setup his tent after dark.  We were all fumbling around with tent poles and clips and my husband had this grand idea to use his cell phone as a flashlight.  He accidentally pressed the camera button and took this picture, having a good laugh about it when finding it among our photos, it is now treasured.  The hardest thing for me is traveling to the mountains to see our chosen family and knowing Houd won't be there to greet us, help us setup our camper and spend time with.  Mind you, there is plenty of our loving friends ready to greet us and give us a hand - no shortage there.  Just isn't the same without him.

I knew I always had a friend in Houd.  When I would find myself standing alone at Hank's house, Houd would make his way over and crack some jokes with me.  I never felt alone when Houd was around.  He trusted me with his feelings and we talked about life when he wasn't making jokes.  I am glad I could be there for him when he needed it and my husband too.  Many nights Houd and Bill stayed up late to discuss the universe and everything in it. 

I am so grateful that Houd and Ben came to visit us a few summers ago.  We had great fun, staying up all night, laughing, telling jokes, playing video games.  A few weeks ago my husband was puttering around in the man cave (he built a bar in our basement) and something fell off the bar onto the buffet below.  An open drawer caught his eye, he remembered there was a pad of paper in there that Ben and Houd had used while they visited.  He found the paper they had drawn all over and wrote little musings upon, a nice little memory from then.  He burned us a CD awhile back, recently finding and listening to the disc again and again.   I find myself collecting all the pieces of him that I have left, notes, music, clothing, photos, gifts, memories.  I even made him action figures in his likeness. 

When I saw the photo of Houd on my Facebook screen the early morning of March 3, 2013 and the message that he had taken his own life the night before....I have to tell you, I went through all the stages of grief in that instant.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Today feels no different than that first day.  The past week has been especially hard, knowing that the anniversary is approaching, knowing that I will still not be seeing my friend for a long time.  My best memory of him is shirtless at camp, laughing with Coyote by his side.

Over my life I have lost many loved ones, a friend took his own life after our ninth grade year of high school,  my Aunt passed from cancer, my Grandmother from alzheimers, my Pap from cancer, my Nan, my husbands Grandma, my husbands Uncle, my Grandfather, my Uncle from cancer, are the ones that stand out the most.  I have been to so many funerals, memorial services for my loved ones, friends, co-workers, friends of friends....every time it is a blaring reminder that life is precious and short.  Very short, too short.  When Houd took his own life, something inside me awakened.  I knew I couldn't spend another moment hiding myself.  Afraid I wouldn't be loved or liked because of who I really am inside.   I waited my whole life for that moment, the moment to exhale everything I am in one breath.   A few days later I started by having a mutual friend put my hair into dreadlocks and no longer am terrified what people will think of me wearing tie dye or having my hair in dreadlocks.  Since then I have finally rid myself of unhealthy relationships, do my best to love God, my family and others.  I try to let my words heal and not hurt.  Be a blessing to others, let my light shine bright.  I am counting my rainbows and not my thunderstorms.  I am going to stop worrying about people that don't worry about me.  I will expect nothing and appreciate everything.  I am going to make beautiful things even if nobody cares.

The best way to find yourself,
is to lose yourself in the service of others.

See the first day of my journey with Houd.....
March 2, 2014,  365 days of drawing ~ day sixty-one

And the end.....
April 14, 2014 365 days of drawing ~ day one hundred four

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