My Huckleberry Friend

Chris and I on Kauai's Kalalau Trail, 2007

Chris and I on Kauai’s Kalalau Trail, 2007

It is a new year but I still don’t feel remotely ready to write about losing Chris, who passed away without warning less than four months ago. Yet something familiar that I heard over the holidays has compelled me to begin. It was the song “Moon River” from the 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Song, making hits for Andy Williams and other crooners.

Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way

Despite our lives together in various Manhattan apartments, Chris and I were little like Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly and George Peppard’s Paul Varjak, just as the film was quite different from the Truman Capote novella that inspired it. We were married over 15 years ago in Savannah, Georgia, having met by sheer accident on the island of Saint John in the U.S. Virgin Islands on July Fourth more than a decade earlier.

Both born in the late 1950s, we really didn’t come of age until such innocently romantic songs were already considered passé. Still, “Moon River,” whose lyrics were penned by that native son of Savannah Johnny Mercer, always seemed right for us. It captured the essence of our relationship, and became our song.

Two drifters, off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after that same rainbow’s end, waiting, round the bend
My Huckleberry Friend, Moon River, and me

For a quarter of a century Chris and I lived an adventure, sort of like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. My “Huckleberry Friend” is gone now, and I feel lost myself, but I will always cherish her in my memories.

13 thoughts on “My Huckleberry Friend

  1. That’s touching, Gary. Your beautiful picture is truly insightful. We will always miss Chris. Thank you!

  2. What a beautiful, positive way to kick off the new year by sharing this wonderful photo of you and Chris, and your thoughts. Thank you. I find it quietly comforting and even uplifting in its own way. I am so glad you were moved to write it and share it with us . It is so touching.

  3. Gary, this is lovely.

    Two drifters, off to see the world
    There’s such a lot of world to see

    These words perfectly describe all the adventures, around the world, that you and Chris shared over the years. She loved those adventures and had such fun planning and anticipating each of them. I miss her terribly, but can smile when I think of her.

  4. Gary, what a beautiful, heartwarming and touching story. It’s nice that you have such wonderful memories you shared with Chris. We miss her and loved her. God bless you with only good things in the future.

  5. Your blog post was such a wonderful, emotional, eloquent tribute to your relationship. It is helpful to celebrate the unique aspect of all that you shared. That can never be lost. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thanks, Gary. That was wonderful.

    Embrace the grief you feel. It’s there to protect you and slowly ease you into a life without Chris. I promise that one day, without your even being aware of it happening, you’ll find that it has eased. You won’t ever be the same, and the loss will always be with you, but it will become a natural part of your being. Oh, there will be times when it will wash over you again, and when it does welcome it like an old friend. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do … keeping you close and connected and protecting you.

    I speak from my own experience, and have found that viewing it in such a way has helped me live with loss and appreciate that love never leaves, but by necessity takes a different form … always “waiting, round the bend.”

  7. What a beautiful post, Gary. It brought me right back to Savannah, November 14, 1998. What an appropriate place for you two fabulous Huckleberry Friends to tie the knot. Poetry and music are uniquely suited to remembrance. I hope you keep writing. You have an eager audience in all of us.

  8. I read your post late last night, and haven’t been able to get the tune out of my head since. Not that I’d want to. Hang in there, Gary. A long way to go, a lot of world to see, before that rainbow’s end.

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