One dear friend gave me a stuffed Hobbes doll, which now sits on the couch where Hilary and I spent countless hours talking, watching movies together, and simply being with one another. It doesn’t feel quite so empty now.
Allow me to let two messages stand for the thousands that I have received in the past month. One was attached to a plant that an old friend sent me yesterday:Dear Teach,
This is the space
for the words
that try to comfort, to honor Hilary.
To acknowledge your suffering and say,
I see you. I see your heart.
How can any words do that?
So, I offer you this green
living thing. The other was sent to me by one of the very first recipients of Makoto Fujimura’s new Hilary Teachout Grant, an emergency relief grant for performers and other artists that is named for my late wife:
I just received the shortest and sweetest message to grace my inbox letting me know that I’m on the receiving end of a grant in honor of Hilary. While I know you only through your love of writing and the arts, I’ve come to know both of you through your transparent and generous accounting of the stuff of life and its limits. And I know you, now, to be the first “yes” that I’ve seen in a long string of “no,” “not yet,” “not you,” “no more left” these past five weeks. While the message from the board was perfunctory, I sat at the screen and wept because of the invisible impact this human will have on my life and how I was glad to know your incandescent opinion of her. The money will surely be useful, but the memory of this moment is going to last me a very long time.
To lose the love of your life at the very moment when you expected her to be saved is painful beyond words, beyond belief, beyond understanding. To be comforted as I have been comforted is…well, it, too, “passeth all understanding.”
Thank you all. I will never, ever forget what you’ve done for me.