Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daisy a Day

In 1995, the internet was still relatively new to the masses. We were warned to never give personal information to anyone we met online because it wasn't safe. People weren't who they said they were and everybody was a child molester. Okay, you and I know that wasn't true, but there for a while, it was a little scary and everybody was overly cautious.

Despite that, I managed to navigate my way through a great chat site full of people from every imaginable stretch of life - lawyers, actors, politicians, writers, insurance salesmen, housewives, musicians. We shared little bits of our lives in public forums and, in time, began developing very real relationships in an otherwise cyber world. On New Year's Eve that year, I met Heine.

Heine was twenty-four years older than I was and, while at times he was very much a father-figure to me, there were many times, when he filled a role in my life that until then, no other man ever had. I grew to love him deeply despite the fact that we've never met in person. He was my shoulder during a very dark post-partum depression. He helped me cope with my divorce. And many times, he was the only person I trusted with things that mattered the most to me. I wasn't one to trust easily, especially during that period of my life, so to give that to him meant a lot to both of us.

We had silly times and inside jokes. We had heart-felt conversations and shared our favorite music with one another. Like any relationship, we had our share of disagreements, too but Heine was the kind of person I couldn't stay mad at for long. He was sensitive and generous. His heart knew no bounds when it came to forgiveness and understanding. I cherished our friendship and always made sure he knew how much. Heine taught me how to live in the moment, soak up every drop of rain as well as every ray of sunshine and appreciate life for every experience we have.

Because of that, I wanted to do something special to honor his effect on my life. The tribute came in the form of a daisy tattoo. It was my first and will always be the most special to me for who it represents. Heine used to sing to me one of his favorite songs, "Daisy a Day." It seemed fitting that a daisy symbolize his impact on my life. Heine was deeply touched by what I'd done, despite his religious belief that tattoos were a forbidden thing. Knowing Heine, it was probably because it was forbidden that he liked it so much. He was a rebel like that, sometimes, and he taught me to be a little bit of a rebel, too. He appreciated my spunk and moxie. He liked my sassy, demanding nature and encouraged it in every way. He loved me completely and unconditionally, as did I in return.

On August 21st, 2006, all of that changed.

Heine and his son-in-law went on a fishing trip together on Lake Nipissing, near Toronto. Neither of them came home from the trip. Their boat somehow capsized and both men drowned.

I won't go into how profoundly this loss affected me, but I will tell you that I still miss him. I still think of him. I still go to our private chat room on the site where we met. I still leave messages for him as if he'll log in at any time. It brings me peace and helps me deal with the lingering grief.

In the last seven years since the accident, I've been trying to figure out a way to visit the lake where Heine died, but haven't been able to get there. And honestly, I'm not sure I could handle the reality of seeing it in person, anyway. But I wanted to somehow recognize the place where he took the last breath.

I thought about it for quite a while and finally decided what I wanted to do. Last winter I called on a friend who lives in Canada to see if she'd be willing to do it on my behalf since I couldn't get there myself. I had a very simple, but specific task in mind. She arranged with a friend of hers who lives near the lake to take a daisy to the lake and throw it in the water. I wasn't specific about what to say or do. I knew that Heine would know what it meant, so much explanation or fanfare wasn't needed.

Today, on the seventh anniversary of his death, an "angel among us" carried out my wish. I don't know their name and I'm certain they don't know mine, but I am so grateful for their kindness. This is the breathtaking result:

I'll give you a daisy a day, dear.
I'll give you a daisy a day.
I'll love you until the rivers run still,
And the four winds we know blow away.