I lost a great friend this last weekend - a friend, a mentor, a father to me. He died near Sunrise Boulevard on the shoulder of the Florida turnpike. He was riding his motorcycle with his wife and good friends, when a pickup truck veered onto the shoulder and hit all four of them.  He died right there, that night, on the highway. He died doing what he loved with the people he loved. The scene has driven deeply into my mind many times since I learned of this, despite not having seen it. I just can't seem to shake it. I know how much he was loved by his wife, his daughter, his family, his friends, and by me. 

The last time we spoke, we talked about the things he was planning, for the future. He wanted to move down to South Georgia to spend more time with his family. He wanted to start his own business. He wanted to ride his bike off into the sunset. He wanted to live a long life. He was always planning something. He had so many great ideas that he often hid from the rest of the world, for some reason. I know that so many of them, that he never shared with anyone, died right there with him on the highway. I hope the universe will find its ways to keep them alive.

Over the last decade or so, he and I spent a lot of time in the Dekalb County Farmer's Market cafeteria talking about spirituality and religion, debating over politics, digging deeply into the inner workings of the human mind. I told him about all the things that I had trouble coping with and he gave me comfort. He gave and gave and gave. That was the kind of person he was.

He was a Christian and he believed that he would be going to heaven after this life. I have my own beliefs which differ from his, but I'll tell you: I know he went on to his heaven. He is in the place he knew he would be: In South Georgia with his family, running his own business, riding his bike, and kissing his wife and daughter to comfort them. 

Hawk, if you can hear this, I miss you, man. I miss your brilliant sarcasm, your quick wit and your kindness. My beliefs are different than yours. You know this. There is no heaven waiting for me, but you and I both know we are connected and will be forever, regardless of place and time.

On the day I learned that you died, I was walking in the woods with Coley, Juniper, Laurel and Townes when we ran into a neighbor. She told us of a family of hawks that was nesting nearby. She told us that the father was out on a limb, watching over the woods, protecting his family. Perhaps that was your ghost looking after all of us - I have to believe it.

You taught me many things throughout our time together. You taught me about the importance of hard work, humor, family and friends. And now, old friend, you have taught me that life is just short enough for longings. I’ve tried harder to live since your death. I’ve tried harder to live.

Rest in Peace, Hawk.