Junebug Strong fell and when she hit the ground twenty years later, scraping her off was a short nice Jewish guy with curly dark hair who she recognized vaguely from the middle school hallway they shared for a couple of years.

I was not going to fall for him. He was two years younger, a little on the short side and I was planning to pack up my teal Subaru and move after graduation probably out west where Subaru’s were cool. And anyway, I was dating a guy who called me Junebug so I was not available.

Scott, my best guy friend who encouraged Jay to ask me out, reassured a confused Jay after his call that within two weeks, Junebug and her boyfriend would be over. Scott was right. I had known Scott since preschool and spent hours for as long as I could remember talking to him on the phone daily about everything and usually giving one another love advice. He was certain I would fall for Jay and if nothing else, he felt it was time for me to date a guy whose first name did not sound like a last name (he always told me I dated too many guys whose first names sounded like last names). 

I guess that was good advice. Jay. It was short like he was but strong like him too. He was funny without even knowing it.  He was humble enough to laugh at himself but confidant enough to talk to anybody. And while I started to fall for him after he cleaned out my closet, what really made me fall for him was the way he talked. I loved his voice, how words came so easy to him, how well he could tell a story, how good he made people feel and how good he made me feel. It was easy to fall for Jay.

The falling that you do when you find love, says poet/philosopher, David Whyte, is similar to the falling you do when you grieve. In both you fall but in grief you fall towards the foundation your loved one held for you. You fall and fall and fall he says, until there comes a time that you finally find the ground they were holding for you and it is from there that you step off into your new life.

While I am still falling, I feel hopeful knowing the ground that Jay holds for me.

I was not quite the Phish fan Jay was but I did love this beautiful song below by Phish called "Waste." We danced to it at our wedding. Below the photo is a favorite poem by David Whyte that has been helpful to me.

The Journey by David Whyte

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving
even as the light fades quickly now
you are arriving.