Can You Hear The Birds?

Can You Hear The Birds?

I am dedicating this Thanksgiving post, my first post since Mother’s Day, to the love of my life, the man who loved to make me laugh, the man who I am eternally grateful for, Doug.

I was given the honor and the privilege of knowing Doug since our freshman year in college. His grandmother had worked for my uncle, our families both had summer homes on the same lake, he even hung out with my lake-friend’s older sister. 

Many people think we met at the lake. We knew of each other but our paths never actually crossed until that fall day in 1977 when I was walking through the quad at Northeastern University. Doug was sitting on one of the benches when I walked by.

Our eyes met.

He said, “Hi.” 

I responded, “Hi,” in return, and kept walking. 

That is until my curiosity prompted me to turn around, walk back to where he was sitting, and ask, “Where do I know you from?” 

“The lake,” he replied.

“Ah!”

I lived on campus. Doug commuted. We chatted for a while. He asked what dorm I lived in. Later when he looked me up, the person at the desk told him he had been stood up—that no one by that name lived in that dorm. How do I know?

A year and a half later some of my lake friends told me there was going to be a band playing in a field and to bring some of my college friends. It ended up being Doug’s cousin’s band. When we reconnected he told me how he had thought my last name was my cousin’s, that he had been told he got stood up, and that by the time he found out my real last name I had moved out of that dorm. Nothing got between us after that... except our egos.

Personally I think how we met is such a great story. Divinely orchestrated perhaps. Doug and I loved each other dearly. We have 3 beautiful children and 6 grandchildren together. I knew him better than anyone else and he knew me the same. He was truly the love of my life, my spiritual adventurer companion, my best friend, confidant, and rock. I learned so much about relationships, acceptance and love from being with Doug.

The morning following Mother's Day, the morning following a weekend where he seemed to want to be extra close to me and I thought it felt sweet and nice, he asked me, "Can you hear the birds?" Minutes later I helplessly watched him slip away from me.

I believe that when someone passes they leave us with a gift. Seeing some of the things I loved about Doug in our children are gifts, but to follow is my biggest gift, and maybe a takeaway for you, too. This was written by Heidi Priebe.

"To love someone long-term is to attend a thousand funerals of the people they used to be. The people they are too exhausted to be any longer. The people they don’t recognize inside themselves anymore. The people they grew out of, the people they never ended up growing into. 

We so badly want the people we love to get their spark back when it burns out; to become speedily found when they are lost. But it is not our job to hold anyone accountable to the people they used to be. 

It is our job to travel with them between each version and to honor what emerges along the way. Sometimes it will be an even more luminescent flame. Sometimes it will be a flicker that disappears and temporarily floods the room with a perfect and necessary darkness." 

I'm so grateful for listening to my intuition on that fall day in 1977 because I got to experience all this with Doug. It wasn’t that poetic, I promise you. But in hindsight that is exactly what it was: hills, valleys, brawls and all. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to get to know him and who he becomes when it doesn’t feel safe to be him, for him to get to know me and who I become, and for us both to have the opportunity to come undone and come back together more healed, humbled, whole, strong and loving because of it all. What a gift and Heidi Priebe packaged it so eloquently.

Thank you Doug. We desperately miss your physical presence, but we're figuring it out.  We are more and more grateful for you every day, and we love you. Keep the communication coming. I can't help but wonder if there's a "next adventure" for us. Time will tell.

Thank you for reading our story. It feels good to be back writing.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friends in this Love,

Trish

Comments

  1. Karen Brisbois says:

    Trish, this is beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss. Holidays are so hard without our loved ones. I find I get very melancholy. It's not easy. Try and enjoy your Thanksgiving with your and Doug's children and grandchildren. God bless!

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Karen,

      Thank you for your heartfelt condolences and for taking the time to comment. They mean a lot. We made the most of the day and it felt good for me to honor him in this way.

      Bright blessings,

      Trish

      Reply
      1. Marcia says:

        Beautiful

        Reply
        1. Trish Whynot

          Thank you.

          <3

          Reply
  2. Nicola Scarpa says:

    I loved reading this Trish!!! Such beautiful thoughts, memories and words about a caring, loving and funny man,…. Doug. He often pops up in my thoughts, especially when I’m at the lake, he’s just letting us all know he’s still around, flying with the birds. ??

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Nikki. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Doug was quite something, and still is, as he will remind me when I refer to him in past tense. He once told me, "I'm not a was, I'm an is." And I know that. I just never put it into practice before. I'm learning. He still makes me laugh. :)

      Bright blessings,

      Trish

      Reply
      1. Patty Hersey says:

        I love fact you shared the story of how you met. Everything you shared left me in tears. I am so sorry your physical journey with him is over. Until you meet again. Thin veil of separation can feel like a concrete wall when you miss someone so much. You have children, grandchildren and the birds to remind you of your love for each other. Keep singing with them. Not just in voice but your heart. ??

        Reply
        1. Trish Whynot

          Patty,

          I like how you worded that, "thin veil of separation." I've had moments of it feeling thin and others where it feels so thick. I'm glad to know our story touched your heart. Thank you for your comments.

          Friends in this Love,

          Trish

          Reply
  3. Nina Giannelli says:

    This moved me to tears Trish, beautiful beautiful blog.?? I am grateful for the

    view from the gates opportunity and all the wisdom that you passed down based on you learning with Doug. Sending you lots of love today and everyday. Happy happy thanksgiving!!!

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Nina,

      Doug and I definitely had some stories that made for great teachings about love, life and humility. Views from the gate are great!

      Thanks for taking time to comment and for the love! Happy Thanksgiving!

      Truly friends in this Love,

      Trish

      Reply
  4. Michelle Desjardins says:

    Thank you for sharing this unpasteurized version of true love…you are so very blessed to have known this type of true intimacy.

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Michelle,

      Thanks so much for commenting. I know this level of intimacy is on the rare side. It was my deepest heart's desire to know and be known, even if it took 20 years to remove a sock, so to speak. I'm so grateful and humbled for the opportunity to fumble our way through it. Lots of ego busting, acknowledging and removing protective layers. In this way, I believe Doug left on a high note.

      Bright blessings,

      Trish

      Reply
  5. Michele Poulin says:

    Trish, my heart felt every word . Beautifully written and such a insight into real love .. marriage is a roller coaster ride , many ups and Downs . But, when you have someone to hold onto , it makes the ride easier and a lot much exciting .

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Michele,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. Marriage is a roller coaster and it takes 2. Your partner has the most access to you so buttons will be revealed. It's up to us to heal them. We've got the power. :) Glad to hear my words and our relationship touched you.

      Bright blessings,

      Trish

      Reply
  6. Lee Petruk says:

    Trish, such a nice tribute to Doug, I was so touched by your words. Thank you for sharing that part of you with us. I’m sending you a hug??

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Thank you Lee.

      Bright blessings,

      Trish

      Reply
  7. PJ says:

    My heart is with you, Dr. Trish and with all who miss and Love your dear Doug.

    A beautiful tribute and remembrance here by thoughtful and thought-and-love-filled you. ?????

    “…Grief is a way of loving what has slipped from view. Love is a way of grieving that which has not yet done so….They need each other in order to be themselves.”

    Stephen Jenkinson

    ? You give so much to so many, always…now, please receive and be well.

    Blessings through it all and onwards.

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Thank you PJ.

      Beautiful quote.

      I'm receiving your love.

      Namaste,

      Trish xo

      Reply
  8. Heidy Gisler says:

    Trish, I am so sorry for your loss. That was beautifully written and a reminder to keep strong no matter what life presents to us. Sending you blessings!

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Heidy,

      How are you? Thank you for your condolences. It means a lot. I'm glad my writing spoke to you. Great takeaway!

      Friends in this Love,

      Trish

      Reply
  9. Audra Stevenson says:

    My dear Trish,

    I have been thinking about you nonstop this past week. I have been telling myself almost daily to reach out and schedule some Trish-Time!

    I just happen to be checking my personal email (which I don’t often do) and caught a glimpse of your email. I read it immediately because I thought it was serendipitous since I had been thinking about you daily.

    Trish, you can’t image my surprise, the shock and sadness, I felt to read this news about Doug. I am so so so sorry my dear friend.

    Please know you are in my thoughts and prays. Sending you so much love! Talk soon…

    Audra

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Hi Audra,

      Gotta love serendipity.

      Thank you for your condolences and love. As you know stories can make great teachers, and Doug and I have some great stories about love, life and humility. Those will live on with a whole new level of cherishing.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Love,

      Trish

      Reply
  10. Amber S.

    Trish,

    This must have been hard to put into words. It was moving. Sending love ??

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Thanks for your comment and for commenting, Amber, and thanks for the love. It actually flowed pretty easily. I wasn't sure where it was going until it was done though. It just felt right.

      Friends in this Love,

      Trish

      Reply
  11. JoAnne Young says:

    Such Beautiful words Trish!

    I think of you and your family often. I knew what Doug was for all of you! This really brought it home!

    Sending so much love! ??

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      JoAnne,

      Thank you, and thank you for thinking of us. That means a lot. It did bring it home, didn't it! I couldn't have said it better.

      Bright blessing my friend,

      Trish

      Reply
  12. Vanessa Beiles says:

    Dear Trish, what a beautiful tribute to Doug. I just can’t stop the tears reading through. Absolutely love how you guys met and still makes me upset why had to end now….

    I’ve been thinking of you. Sending so much love your way

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Thank you Vanessa, thanks for sharing how it touched you, and thanks for the love. I had to draw on everything i know for this one. Thank God for my faith. I've also learned that a lot of things don't make sense until much later. I'll keep you posted. <3

      Bright blessings,

      Trish

      Reply
  13. Laura Dunham says:

    This is so beautiful, Trish. Thank you for sharing your journey with Doug so we can all learn about relationships - the glitter and the rough parts and most importantly, the evolving.

    Great quote by Heidi Prebe about the funerals of the people we used to be. That really hit home. And the joy and beauty in your face in that photo says it all about the bond and spark between you both here on this planet and maybe on your 'next adventure'.

    Love and blessings,

    Laura

    Reply
    1. Trish Whynot

      Laura,

      Thank you and you're welcome. Writing is a way for me to feel close to Doug now. Fortunately he told me that he had resigned himself to the fact that in order to be with me that he'd be written about and talked about and he was okay with that. :) We've got some great stories and stories make great teachers.

      Your commentary on that photo explains why it is my favorite photo of us.

      Thank you for taking the time to write.

      Friends in this Love,

      Trish

      Reply

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