A heartfelt hello to all of you readers out there. It has been a ROUGH year or so for the Love City Community…There have been a lot of breathtaking losses of absolute legends and long timers here on St. John. And, there was one just last week that took my knees out from under me. And it got me thinking…
If you have lived on St. John for any bit of time over the past ten to twenty years, one or all of the individuals who have been taken from us too soon over this past little bit of time probably touched your life in one way or another. And, with all of the comings and goings of short stints, long time visitor and seasonal staffing on this transient little rock, a loss in Love City is one felt for thousands of miles in any direction by those who have called this place home over time. Over the past year, I have seen snap shots of reflections by people around the country, paying tribute to the loss of the Love City Legends who have touched their lives in one way or another. For an instant or a longer time. Their legends live on in these tributes from afar…
While those we love who have moved on from St. John and pay their respects via texts and Facebook posts and phone calls and feel the regret of not making it back to see that person one last time. Those of us left on St. John feel that loss reverberate as we don’t see that person walking through town and strike up a pleasant conversation while on our way to pick up mail. A bar filled with friends and loved ones still seems empty with the void of that one beautiful soul missing from their regular bar stool. The greeting at a favorite restaurant is missing that extra hug and sincere “How have you been?”
The thing about this place and the people who put in the time to really dig in. To REALLY live here. Is that they share their knowledge. They share their guidance. They scatter their laughter, their kindness, their wit and (usually) their sarcasm. Because, let’s face it…It takes a special kind of person with a special sense of humor to proclaim a permanent existence on St. John. Or on any island for that matter. It isn’t for the faint of heart. But it IS for the extra special individuals who are resilient, hard working, flexible and quick with a joke.
So, when one of these extra special individuals who helped so many to make their way here goes away too soon…Well, it vibrates across the island. And then across the airwaves and across the miles. That person who so many laughed with or at(?), the person who made someone’s day easier in passing or made their transition to a new job (or to the island in general) a bit less difficult. Well, they were just being themselves. Their heart of gold, sarcastic, guiding light self. And, maybe they didn’t think twice about it. But, today, as we mourn this most recent loss of a Love City Legend. And, as we think about all of the blows of loss we have been dealt over this past year. That is ALL we are thinking about as we reflect on those impactful and irreplaceable individuals in our lives.
We think about that one moment (or maybe multitudes of moments) in time that they made a positive or humorous or knowledgeable impact on our lives when our paths were synchronistic enough to cross. And, THAT is what I believe to be a life well lived, no matter how short or how long. As I read the stories and memories from friends and loved ones around the country of the amazing people that we lost too soon over these past few years. I’m reminded of what we should be doing as people, as community members…Helping each other to put one foot in front of the other. Trying to make things easier and more laughable for one another. Because when we are gone, it is apparent to me today…THAT is what people carry on with them. THAT is the positive legacy we can all learn from and leave behind ourselves.
So, thank you for the life lessons to all of the sweet souls we have bid a forced and too soon farewell. Thank you for leaving a light behind and memories of laughter and life lessons.
Rest in Peace my friend. I hope that you are currently catching all of the fish from a dock in a beautiful bay, creating the most gigantic and best tasting meatball ever made, sipping on fine wine and Budweiser and chilled Stoli…All while watching the Browns win the Super Bowl over and over again.
Have a beautiful weekend everyone. Hug your people tight and tell them you love them over and over again.