I lost my friend yesterday.
I say friend, but he was more than that. He was a leader, an inspiration, a foundation block for our family, an ideal grandpa and the best father in law a person could ever get. The man set expectations and you did not want to let him down. Period.
When Vince and I first started dating (as adults. We dated in high school too) we were attached at the hip. I mean… everywhere Vince went, which meant a lot of adventures with his dad… I was trailing along behind him with my fishing pole and ’44, ready for whatever we were doing. Curt was game. That was the thing about him… he gave everybody a chance. Even me with my ‘forbidden’ piercing (maybe he didn’t notice) and tattoo.
I thought for sure I would get on his nerves eventually. Some days I would be at the cabin when he got there, waiting on the dock for Vince to get off work, fishing away. He would bring me a beer, come sit down and chat with me until Vince got there. After a couple weeks of this, I earned myself my very own cabin key, which was a really big deal. I guess he figured if I was going to be out there, I might as well get the cabin warmed up while I was waiting.
The next summer we built our cabin in Petersville. Vince and I spent every single weekend out there with Curt. I was referred to mainly as ‘she’ or ‘her’ when we were in construction mode, and rarely addressed directly. But I did my jobs, helped out and made some amazing memories with our little building crew. We laughed, survived injuries, caught fish and even got our first moose together.
Moving on to our world with children, I saw a whole additional side to him. He is an amazing, giant, silly kid! A man who carries ‘mm’s’ in his pocket for the kids to discover, who plays tug o’ war with blankets and creates the opportunity for adventures at every corner. I feel like my kids (well, and us) were robbed of years of memory making. They didn’t get to do so many things with him that they should have.
My husband lost his Dad. His best friend. On top of everything that encompasses, it also feels like our last goodbye to Brenda, Vince’s mom who passed away ten years ago this year. Like we’re losing our last link to her. And random stories that would pop out now and then.
Now for my selfish loss… Curt did more for Vince and I than anybody else. Ever. Shoes that cannot be filled. Vince works out of town the majority of the year. Cabin Grandpa (as Sawyer started calling him and it stuck) would pop by somehow just knowing we needed a visit. Or every Wednesday (or Thursday…ok,sometimes Friday) when my garbage can was still at the end of the driveway, he would pull it in ‘on his way by’.
Last summer he called to see if he could come mow the lawn for me and was shocked that I had already managed to do it, while keeping the kids alive at the same time. Popsicles were involved… I’m not magic, just good at bribery.
He cleared trees and leveled our yard. He helped me move things. I had big plans of ‘conning’ him into clearing little trees for my new garden this Spring.We talked gardening and hunting and fishing. And politics. And stories and life. He was the last person in the world I thought would be missing.
Now I have to put my big girl panties on and deal with it. And I don’t want to. I just want him back.