Sunday February 21 will find me doing that which I love to do most, performing on guitar with one of my bands. I just wish it were under different circumstances. The Blarneystone Pub will be hosting a benefit for an old friend of mine, who recently lost his wife in a tragic highway accident. Mike Stratton, who I’ve known for about 20 years, is now left with the burden of raising his two sons without Julie, and my heart goes out to the entire family.
Mike and I spent several summers in our early teenage years hanging out, fishing, camping and making up ridiculous songs, which we would sing (poorly) while walking from our campsite down to Bowman lake. I don’t know that we ever really caught any worthy fish, but I don’t think that was really even the point. I look back and realize that that was just one of those moments in one’s life that can never be reproduced. The summer air shimmering above the water of the lake as we baited our lines and cast out with the hope that a trophy fish was just waiting out there to pounce on it.
I’m sure most of us have stories like that, which never quite fade away with time, and that’s what I’m getting at. I only met Julie a handful of times, but I’m sure Mike will always treasure the memories that he’s left with. While I can’t imagine the kind of pain he and his family are experiencing, I know that they’re not alone, and all of us who know them will continue to pray for them and be ready to help in any way we can.
Tragedies such as this remind one to never take life for granted, and to never forget that we are surrounded by family and friends willing to provide love and support. The pain and loss never truly go away, yet those feelings can be tempered with the knowledge that life will go on, that we can heal. I’m sure that’s what Julie would want for Mike, Sam, Ben, Roz and Greg, and I can’t imagine her being anything but proud of their strength and commitment to each other.