I don't even know where to begin with today's post, but I'm hoping that if I just begin that the words will come. There was a man, named Charlie, who was always at the park. I would call him the Pied Piper of the park because he would come to the park with his 2 dogs, and sometimes his 2 young boys as well, and he always had a pocket full of treats! Buddy, our dog, would invariably end up sitting at Charlie's feet, waiting for a special treat :) Well, I hadn't seen Charlie in awhile and that seemed strange. And when Buddy and I walked by his house one day we saw a "for sale" sign. It seemed strange to me that Charlie wouldn't have mentioned the house sale to us and so I continued on my walk with a question mark in my mind. Well, I asked other people in the park if they had seen him and his dogs and I keep getting the same response - yes people knew him, had said "hi" to him, let their dogs play with his, but no one seemed to know what had happened. Fast forward a few months - I know, it's pretty sad that months can go by and you leave the question mark in your mind. Well, at the end of last week I found out what I wish I hadn't. One person spoke to another and they said that they had heard Charlie had committed suicide. It is even difficult for me to type those words - I wonder if they will ever not feel shocking and life-changing. I was in total disbelief so I got home and looked up the address of the house and then looked up property records and then compared that with obituaries and, I am so sorry to say, I found and read Charlie's obituary.
I still don't know how to manage the feelings and the sorrow. I cried. I still cry. I wondered if there was anything I could have done differently to have helped him with his pain - pain I had no idea he even had. I guess you really never know when people are in pain - especially when you are "park friends." But Charlie is missed and I hope he is looking down and seeing that he has touched so many people and that we miss him.
I didn't know a better way to manage my feelings than to sit down in the craft room (it took me 3 days to actually sit down with intention) and pay tribute to Charlie. What came out was this piece of art - it is mounted on a small canvas frame and, I believe, it was exactly what I needed to do. If you have read this far, thank you for learning about Charlie - if you would have known him, he would have made you smile. Please know that we never know the depth of someone's pain - all we can do is try not to add to it in our daily encounters. Charlie, may you be at peace - Amen.