Trees are soothing. When I feel sad or suffer from writer's block, I go for a walk in the park. That's the reason why I love London's parks. Somehow, seeing trees appeases me. I like the sound of the wind in the branches, and I also like the fact that trees will always stand, whatever the season, as if they could survive anything. In the blogosphere, I have met another tree lover, Thom Brown. We belong to the same group, PBAUs (Personal Bloggers Are Us). Thom loves trees so much that he took a picture of the same tree from his office's window every day over the last few years. You can see the results here.
Thom passed away last Sunday. Despite the fact that I had never met him in person, I am grief stricken. I feel a bit ridiculous too: Thom leaves a wife, two daughters and a grandson. I can't start to imagine what they must be going through. Who am I to feel sad? Do I even have the right to feel sad? Probably not.
Thom was a psychology teacher in Utica College. He had faced many health issues (in his own words 'they beat the crap out of my body'), but despite this he often ended his posts with an upbeat 'I am a fortunate man'. He never complained. He never indulged in self-pity. He always had a kind word for each of us, and made a point of reading all my posts. He was sending me words of encouragement at every possible opportunity. Thom just understood what we were writing, and was happy when I was eventually published in a national magazine. But he would also have told me to continue even if I hadn't. Because that's who he was: supportive and deeply human. I also loved his eclectic posts and his sense of humour. I knew that he had been sick but somehow thought that it was all over, and that he would go on for ever.
Well, I was wrong. Now I regret not going to visit him when I went to New York City. And I have learned that there is no such thing as online grief. Silly me.
I am also left with a sense of unfinished business. I had one thing to tell him, and I never did. It was:
Thank you, Thom
It is dark and rainy in London, but I need a walk right now.