9 years ago today, he chose to leave this planet. 27 years old, physically healthy, a gifted musician filled with laughter, mixed with mischief. My nickname for him was Badness. The Dragon on my chest is the Dragon on his arm.
In many ways, the time I spent with him helped formed the basis of the work I do today. Because of him, I found my center. Every day, I get to help people find their own spark, escape the numbness of boredom & overwhelm and burn their past bullshit to light up their future.
I’m taking a moment today to honor and acknowledge the gifts he left me with, so if you’re up for a deep emotional dive, keep reading. If not, feel free to just keep scrolling. 😉 <3
We didn’t date, we were never a “couple”, but saying we were friends doesn’t even come close to encompassing the connection. He pissed me off often. He knew exactly how to push my buttons to drive me to the brink of rage & then he’d smirk & the anger would instantly transform into laughter.
Martin was the first man in my life to stand within the storms of my emotions and just… observe. No judgment, no fear. He knew I was capable of facing my own shit & overcoming it all & he was fully capable of standing in the midst of my fury without taking it personally or being at all intimidated.
We had a running joke that he was just trying to help me “remodel” (my internal emotional landscape). He’d ask a question or make a comment that would send me into an emotional free fall, then sit back and watch me rebuild myself over and over again. We’d joke that would just hang out of the front porch swing with a blanket and some hot chocolate while I “cleaned up” & recreated myself in the form I wanted things to be… and then we’d demolish another “area”. From the outside, it often looked cruel or even potentially abusive, but this was raw, uncompromising healing.
He was also the first guy to be able to match my energy & frankly, exceed it. We met when he woke up way early one Saturday morning & drove several hours to VA to spend the day helping “his friend’s mom” move a ton of heavy stained glass & studio equipment to MD. Once I got to know him, his willingness to get out of bed before noon on a Saturday morning spoke volumes about how much he valued his friendship with my oldest.
Then… there was the festival that set the roller coaster ride in motion. If you were there, you know – if you weren’t, I’m not even going to attempt to explain that weekend. LOL
It was a beautiful, twisted, all encompassing relationship that still defies actual verbiage. I had committed to staying single for at least a year after leaving my highly emotionally abusive marriage & being able to flirt with him, knowing where our boundaries were with each other, was the perfect middle ground.
When he died, I shattered. I don’t have many regrets in life, but I will always regret not driving to his house that weekend and sitting on his doorstep until he let me in. Maybe I could’ve helped change the outcome, maybe not. Once before he had reached out to me & when I walked into his kitchen, he wrapped his arms around me and said, “This is all I needed.” I knew he struggled. I knew something was off that weekend. Ultimately, though, he made the decision to not answer my texts or texts from a couple other people that weekend. His decision had been made & he wasn’t going to allow any of us “in”.
I still feel him around us often. There’s a specific song that plays on the radio exactly when I need it to. (Around New Years, my oldest & I heard the song 4 days in a row – including in a lullaby version!) We have his music to play when we want to hear his voice, lots of pictures & stories… I’d still rather be able to actually hug him, but I honor and appreciate every second of the time we had together.
So, yes, tell the people you love that you love them… but do more than that. Make sure they know you have their back. If you live close by, show up on their doorstep & spend time together. If you live too far away to be there physically, send a card, flowers, hell, send them a surprise pizza or something else you know will brighten their day. Promote their work if they have a business. Make it weird if you wanna – whether they’re willing to admit it or not, they appreciate your gestures of affection.
And… if you ever feel a need to reach out… I’m here! Big stuff or small… I’m here. <3
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