Time out. Yesterday, within the span of eight hours, two of my friends became widows. I’ve been posting daily stories about stuff I’m hanging onto. Yet sometimes the universe—God, if you will—insists that we let go. It feels appropriate to spend this day pondering that.
Neither man’s death was a surprise. For years, both had journeyed the grueling road of occasional hope and frequent despair that accompanies cancer treatment. For both, when all possibilities of cure had been eliminated, death came mercifully soon. Both leave a legacy of service in our community with a resulting vacuum that is felt deeply.
David Lindeblad was a professor, beloved by students and colleagues, a supporter of the arts, a fierce advocate of community solidarity, generous with time, talent, and treasure. His patient determination bespoke of the skilled fly fisher that he was.
Richard Ries came to Okanogan County in 1981 to run the IT department at the county courthouse. His work as a public servant was augmented, perhaps even outstripped, by his years of volunteer labor on behalf of the arts and the county historical society.
David’s wife Betty and Richard’s wife Marilyn are powerful forces in their own right. They were champions in helping their husbands navigate and endure the medical maze. They will not be alone as they grieve. This community has a way of showing up when needed. People call and ask, “How can we help?” Sometimes there are small ways to help, but there’s no way to help with the letting go part, no way to fill the hole in the heart. We have to let go of the ones we love, but we never let go of the love itself.