Happy Birthday – Reconciliation of Ages

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 by Bethany's Richard

I’m not an idiot.

The math adds up perfectly.

You’ve been gone two years this passed Juned.

This is the 3rd birthday you haven’t been here to celebrate.

I’m not an idiot. Never been a whiz at math, but these numbers… I understand them all too well.

But here is where I can’t make it make sense. Here is where I can’t find reconciliation.

I cannot bridge the gap of who you were on that beautiful last day… on the cusp of forever… and who you would be today.

I imagine you forever young. As my body continues to tire… faster and fast I’m sure… you will always be the spirited angel of 25… bounds in front of me on every hike with nothing betrayed in your eyes but pure hope. Yet on this third birthday without you I cannot help but to imagine you as the woman you would be today if we had be given so much.

Married of course. My mom has described the dress you described to her and I see it in my dreams always.

Kids? Probably not just yet… but we’d be getting close.

You’d be graduating soon. Forestry and Criminal Justice. You’d be a shoe-in for being a ranger. I wonder what parks we would have been stationed at before you were with them long enough to get your pick.

You, Bethany, will remain forever young. Forever perfect. I will never love you less than I did on the day I intended to promise you my forever. Yet I will always wonder what the world lost out on when you left us and went home.

Enjoy home.

I’ll see you soon enough.

Love, Richard



Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2012 by Bethany's Richard

Two Years – Eulogy Revisted

Posted in For Bethany on June 4, 2012 by Bethany's Richard

It has been two years today since you left us dear. In the days after your passing, before we all gathered to say our goodbyes, I wrote the words below. Tonight as I prepare for the morning, I reflect on your life and what it meant to be a part of it and I reflect on the landscape of my life in all the time since.

I have stumbled along the way. Losing you has proven to be the second hardest thing I’ll ever have to do. Living without you beinng the hardest.

Still tonight as I read back over your eulogy, I am on the cusp of an adventure which I never could have dreamed of without you. Next week I will climb to the top of Max Patch Bald… finally finishing the hike that was suppose to be our starting point for so many other walks throughout life. From there I will embark on a truely Bethanyesque adventure… heading north on the remaining 1925 miles of the Appalachain Trail to the north… only stopping when I either run out of trail or time. Hopefully the the former.

I can’t wait.

I hope you come along. I hope you see the things I get to see. Please be with me along the way.

Yes… I have stumbled through much over the last two years… but I try my best to live up to the beauty you brought to, and found in the world.

I hope I have honored the spirit of you I tried to put into words below. I promise I will continue to try.

See you on the trail Dear. I love you.

There are, no doubt, many people here who were fortunate enough to know Bethany longer than I did, but for the last six months of her life I had the honor of knowing her in a very special way. Believe me, it was a very important and good time to know her. In the last few days I have been overwhelmed with the phone calls and letters from all around the country from people telling me that she was the happiest she had ever been. There are so many things to say about her life I can’t even fathom reaching beyond this vast reservoir of memories I’ve been allowed. I’ll try for her.

I do believe that she spent 2010 happier than she knew she could be. I could see it in her eyes and her smile. I used to tell her all the time that my favorite sound in the world was her laughter. I’m glad I got to hear it so often.

We had all night dance parties, just the two of us and a stack of records.

We were giddy with excitement to till our first garden. We called our little patches of lettuce and basil our first children.

We took walks that lasted forever but should have lasted longer. Around the block or at Ijams, on sacred family land or in the beauty of the mountains. Sometimes we brought our dogs and sometimes we got selfish and wanted only one another. regardless of the days recipe, the walks were always beautiful.

Beautiful. Ha. Bethany found more beauty in the time I knew her than I had found in a lifetime. Not a day would go by that she wouldn’t point to a cloud or a flower and say, “Baby, look at how beautiful it is.” I would always smile and agree but to me the thing of beauty was always much closer. It was her. I’d tell her and she’d smile even bigger and when she did she only shined more.

She found that beauty in the obvious places, yes… but also in the places you’d never even look. She’d find a flower in a trash heap and hear a bird singing next to a train. She somehow found what she called beauty within this incomplete man that I was before her, and then she completed me. I’ve never imagine a person so wonderful and kind and grateful that she would react to me bringing home dishwashing liquid like it was a dozen roses. But I found that person in Bethany.

After some subtle (and not so subtle) suggestions that I should propose… I think she knew that I was finally going to do it friday when we reached the top of Max Patch. She was giddy and she shined more than ever all day that day.

Driving up the last of the roads to the Patch the clouds broke and brilliant sunshine poured down on us. She turned to me and said, “That’s the difference between me and everyone else. Everyone else would see the rain and turn around. But I go looking for the sunshine and when I find it I grab it while I can.”

Yes Bethany, you surely did. And you taught me to do the same I will love you forever for that.

So despite these tears I am not as sad as people are telling me it’s okay to be. And as tempting as it is, I cannot find one ounce of anger with God. I’m remembering everything I got and not wasting a minute mourning the things I’ll never get. I’m living in the last words she spoke only seconds before God gave her back to the earth which she so loved… “God, Baby… Look… It’s so beautiful.”

I owe it to her to grab that sunshine and to never let it go.

Today Because You Lived

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2011 by Bethany's Richard

Today, because you lived, I will be kinder to others.

Today, because you lived, I will take the time to enjoy obvious beauty but also to explore the overlooked and find radiance there as well.

Today, because you lived, I will spend some time outside. Today, because you lived, I will give extra attention to each of my animals.

Today, because you lived, I will not treat this day as a day of loss, but a reminder of the value of life.

And so today because you lived, I will work instead of mourn, and I will do the best job I know to do.

Today, because you lived, I will not squander my day to pity nor indulgence, but I will remember with a smile and still raise my glass at the end of the day.

Today, because you lived, I know how to live myself. And so today because you lived, I can… and I will… as best as I know how.

I miss you so very much Bethany. I’ve spent a year today missing you. But I no longer mourn, for I now understand that June 4th, 2010 was not the day you had life ripped from you, but the day of your birth into the only world that could ever be large enough to hold your big, free, amazing, and adventurous spirit. So happy first Heavenly birthday Dear. To many, many happy ones to come. Not knowing what to get you, I give you all I know to send. So with love, I will live today as best as I can… better than I knew how before there was you… and I will remember… and I will smile.

I will smile, today because you lived.

Untitled Poem by Bethany

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2011 by Bethany's Richard

the wind is calling me back east and the sun rises reminding me.

rivers that flow through the awkwardness of me into the ocean that is paved with broken mirrors,


shadows of words…

they are reflected into the strings that vibrate the song of the journey onto the skin of my stories



Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 by Bethany's Richard

When Bethany was trying to relax enough to go to sleep, she’d often make this noise over and over again… right into her dreams. “BEWNG… BEWNG BEWNG BEWNG!”

The closest thing that I can think to compare it to is the sound that the space ship on Galaga makes. It was completely odd, completely adorable, and completely Bethany.

I miss that sound, though I often now make it myself and smile. It’s not the same, but I am grateful… so grateful to have heard it and it will live with me in that sweet moment when the night becomes a dream for as long as I live.


Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2011 by Bethany's Richard

Dear Bethany,

If you haven’t seen our little girl yet, she’s probably looking for you right this very minute. Go find her. And please enjoy your time in the woods with her like you used to.

Love Always,