dwolfhunter: (PANZER)
Memorial Day caught me funny this year. I was less consumed by my feelings as a veteran than I was by my sense of loss and remembrance for my former knight. My mantra as I fought through the heat and the suck on Saturday last was: "I'm still here John. Still doing it like you taught me to. I am still here." Like I was invoking some guiding spirit or appealing to heaven for help. It kept me going. I didn;t win, but I didn't go out a loser either.
Then , on Sunday, a chance conversation steered me away from doing pick-ups on the field to fighting melees with the baronial team. I was tired, beat, not feeling at all confident in my skills due to the suck of Saturday...but His Excellency, the Baron, called me to battle...and anyone who knows me knows I will be dead three days before I fail to answer a call to battle.
So there I stood in the dappled shade of the ravine. Shoulder to shoulder with brave companions. In what might be called, my natural environment...or at least my preferred habitat. We fought at a run. Running and gunning because we were short on weapons depth and we needed to minimize the impact of spears and polearms. Since the batrtles were wounds retained and since you fought the next battle with what you had left from the one you'd just won...there came a point where I was alone on the field and facing a fresh team of seven armed foes.
I was hot, sweating like a clay jar and blowing hard. I could feel my shoulders sagging as I stood there watching them come on. Caer Mear was cheering me on from the sidelines, knowing full well that I was probably about to be mulched. Onward they came...and then one of them gave vent to a small expression of hubris. He looked at me and saw a fat old man. A fat old man drooping in the heat and out of breath...and he smiled.
The smile was too much...it said that he and his buddies were expecting no trouble at all from the "old fat guy". The mantra I'd been chanting all weekend droned loud in my skull..."Still here. I am still here. I am Still here John!". The last thing I truly remember from the fight itself was the look of sick horror on two of their faces and I set my shoulders and exploded at them. Determined that they were not going to get out of this fight unscathed and I was not going down anyway but swinging for the fences.
We won the tourney. Not directly because of me, but we won. I won a victory inside my self though. I stood against my foes and fought with skill and honor, as he taught me. I stood for my Barony right or wrong , as he taught me. I stood by my brothers in arms, as he taught me.
I succeeded, because he taught me. I'm Still here John. Still doing it like you taught me. Still here!
dwolfhunter: (Default)
So, here we are. One year after his passing...and what have I learned in the aftermath? I have learned that missing him alive is so much easier than missing him dead.Can't exactly e-mail him or pick up the phone now can I? I have learned that ,no matter what, you should never just walk away from a friend...they might not be there when you turn around. I have learned that unfinished business sucks. SO many things I left unsaid. I have learned that there is no way to make how I feel about a world without him OK.
Not one day , not one day...NOT ONE DAY ,since this weekend last September, has passed that I have not called him to memory. Dreamt of him. Heard his voice in my head, or caught myself sounding like him at a practice or event. He's gone, but he's still here. In my heart and in my soul. In the way I fight and the way I teach newbies to fight. In the way I show "how the SCA works" to new people and the way I conduct myself in court. Some folks I know are engaged in the effort to make a hagiographical monument of him. I say "Bushwah!"
He wasn't a saint, or a divine avatar, or a "Hero", and he was nowhere near perfect. Furthermore, he knew those selfsame things about himself. He certainly never claimed to be any of those things...and he would be pissed and embarassed if someone made a little tinplated God of him. Why? Because he was a man involved in living his life. Imperfect, but wonderful. Colorful and crazy. Infuriating, but irrepressable. A man. No more, no less.
I miss him. I miss being in the van, on the way to an event and the conversations we would have. I miss the "helmet giggle" and the "head- bob". I miss the quiet moments after tournaments when I had done well...and he told me so. I miss the fact that he used my titles in the SCA to make me blush. I miss the twinkle in his eye as he admired a pretty woman...or a work of art that caught him just right (same thing, really). I miss drinking scotch with him and smoking cigars on the rotten, fucking, hateful porch that wound up killing him. Yes, God damn it I AM really frigging pissed off that he is gone!! I would selfishly have had him be as immortal as others seem to think he was, or should be.
>sighs< But then again, I know, deep down in what I suppose passes for my soul...that we will meet again. On the Isle of the Blessed. Where I will find him fighting like the veteran knight he was. Knocking over other warriors like they were ninepins. Smiling to beat the band and revelling in the competition. That's how I choose to think of him....but without the taint of spurious hero-worship. This year without the Dragon has been hard for me...but much, much...MUCH harder for others. I'll live...and I will honor his memory till the day when he and I meet again. Until then, I just have to try and be the man he helped make me. Maybe then he'll tell me why in God's ten thousand names he chose to take me as his squire. Fat chance...he'll probably still just give me that smile and shake his head.
A guy can hope, right?
dwolfhunter: (Default)
He is gone. Truly gone. Having left those parts of himself behind that might do the most good for the most people. Thus, he leaves as he lived with us. Trying to do the most good he could.

Hear me O Gods of my Fathers! One comes before you who has lived well.
A prince among men. A warrior and a Father. The ravens shall not touch him.
Nor the beasts of the field. We,left behind, will guard his bones and his fame til our deaths. Let no man defame him, lest they pay with their blood.
His spirit comes to your halls. We pray that you recognise him for his deeds and set him high at your table. So Mote It Be.
dwolfhunter: (Woof2)
"Wu shang mayer,maysheen byen shr-to!" Please God, make me a stone.
dwolfhunter: (Default)
My pain and loss are nothing compared to that of The Ladies. Nothing I say should be taken to mean that I feel more at this time than they do. Nor should it be said that I mourn any deeper than the rest of Caer Cuinnit...for most assuredly that would be a lie.
That having been said...I received news this afternoon, as I sat at my work, that one of the greatest men it has ever been my privilege to know...was passing from this Life and on to the next one. A man who has been my friend, my mentor, my knight, my king and my brother in arms was injured in a fall from the roof of his house and now lies
-unrecoverably- near death.
Most of the men I have eaten that big a bag of salt with are already long gone. I survive them by decades. But this man is different. He gave me a chance when I needed someone to believe in me. He made me a close companion and comrade of his house when he had every right to shun and revile me. We fought and laughed, drank and broke bread,battled our kingdoms' enemies and often our own differing points of view/emotions. He gave me a place to live when I had none. He shared everything a man can share with a friend, and I loved him for it. The thing I learned in all that time is how very unworthy I was of his friendship.
I watched this man, this wonderful, amazing,loveable, flawed and magnificent man and I learned that maybe, just maybe there was hope for me. because if he saw something in me that made him befriend me...then maybe there was really something to that. I swore fealty to him as his squire and served him and his house...until circumstances became such, that I could no longer do so. I left his service, but I never ceased being his friend, or loving him for the man he was.
He was no picnic to be friends with some times...but then neither am I. He delighted in scaring me half to death with his antics...like re-wiring the well pump with the breaker live, and puddles of water all over the floor. I would tell him how freaking loony he was for doing it, and he would smile and move on to the next topic of conversation.
He always said thank you. No matter how tired he was...he always recognised the service of his house before he released us for the night. He always expressed how much he loved us as a household and as indivduals...not by coming right out and saying it, but by thanking us and by little touches and gifts and that smile...that dazzling, amazing, infuriating,brilliant smile.
He never, in all the time I knew him ,outright lied to any of us, that I know of. If he was not playing straight...he would have been more likely to stay silent rather than lie. He was driven and dedicated, as both a knight and as a man.
He new how to lead and how to serve.He was loyal to his salt in the SCA and in his work life. He could be harsh, but he was always fair. He was sparing with praise but when he was proud of something you'd done he made sure you knew it. He knew how to apologise when he'd done something hurtful or unthinking.
My brother squires...all of them...are better for having been in his service. If he'd asked us to assault the gates of hell with nothing but a mouthful of spit each...we'd have done our damndest to do so.
I have occasionally spoken ill of him, out of pain and anger, frustration and regret over what passed between us in the end. But no-one may say that I said other than what I knew to be true at the time of the saying. ...and if I found out otherwise, I took steps to make sure others knew it. I have squashed as many rumors and innuendoes as I could...by telling the truth of what happened between us and dispelling falsehood from those who sought to dig up dirt. I had, over the last few months, been corresponding sporadically with him ...working my hardest to mend fences between us(when I could stir my wits to actually form the words). There is still a lot of business left between us , never to be finished. Things we should have said to each other, things we should never have said to each other...et cetera.
There is only one thing that really needs to be said at this point...and there is no way I can ever express how it hurts that I will not get to say it in person... I love you John. Good bye and good journey.

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dwolfhunter

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