Sadly, I recently lost a good buddy. My boss in the world of physical therapy, but my buddy in day to day life. The moments between clients, at the beginning and end of the work day, on the weekends. We talked about many things...hunting, first and foremost, then sugaring, fishing, life, love, projects... a lot and sometimes nothing at all.
He was a professional and carried himself that way...most of the time- but he could be humorously vulgar and inappropriate when the moment was right.
We talked about tracking deer- he was instrumental in my writing of Bucks That Got Away- thought it was an interesting angle on a subject we both loved. He wrote the foreword, though wanted no credit and came up with a pen name.
A couple years ago when he tracked and killed this buck, he sent me the picture and told me not to share it- he wanted things kept quiet and secret, so he could have big country to himself to track deer like these down. He loved the simplicity of it- a rifle, snow and a set of tracks.
Why we never talked deeply about the problems he was facing is a question I'll never be able to answer. Perhaps he talked about them enough elsewhere that he didn't want to. I hope that was it.
We shared a lot of good memories and had plans- like he had with other friends and his family. Why he left those on the table, again, I'll never know.
Whatever fight he had, he used up is all I can think of. He battled til he couldn't anymore. I have to believe that right now.
A friend of his told me he thought of Ben as Superman and I agree- he was strong. Maybe too strong to ask for help.
Now I have a broken heart and a lot of memories. A country song talks about a broken heart being a way to let more love in.
I hope it is.
For now, the loss of his leaving feels like my heart is drained. Thankfully the well of tears is dry, and I have things to keep me busy,
The first buck track I take this fall will be the toughest.