Its been a little over four years since Geoff left this world, and I think about him everyday. Everyday some little thing reminds me of him.This afternoon it was legos and spicy food at lunch. More and more the remembering makes me happy.
Today, May 12th, would be Geoff’s 40th birthday. His birthday is near Mother’s Day and I’m sure it’s terribly, unbelievably, beyond my capacity to understand- hard. I think of his incredible parents often. When he was ill they moved from Florida to Oregon, to help take care of him and be with him. I am forever grateful. Geoff was happy they got to see the place he loved so much. I love his parents forever too.
I would like to tease Geoff about turning 40. People complain that they are getting older, I’ve done it too. Time passes so fast. But the truth is we are lucky to grow older.
Geoff was a nerd and into the internet before nerds and the internet were cool. He loved Lego robots, cartoons, and was a lifelong Whovian. When he was sick we watched the entire Battlestar Galactica series and had long philosophical talks about it.
I miss discussing the meaning of life, the universe and everything with him. He knew it was 42.
The first few weekends we ever hung out, we went to Bagby Hot Springs, the Oregon Coast, and Mt, Hood, respectively. He would make omelettes, spicy potatoes, and coffee before we set out in his truck. We continued all along to take these road trips. I fell in love with Geoff and Oregon simultaneously. Long before we said ‘I love you’, I would tell him, ‘I am so in love with Oregon’, ‘me too’ he’d respond.
Beyond nerdy indoor activities, Geoff was ready to kayak, hike or snowboard every chance he got. He taught me how to snowboard. Once, I proudly made it down the mountain without falling. I accidentally told his parents he had a motorcycle, but now that the cat is out of the bag, I can say he loved that too. He had an adventurous spirit. And follow through.
He took me on top of the mountains in the wilds of Oregon to shoot a gun and I liked it. He made me feel like he could protect me in some post-apocalyptic wasteland. Geoff said he would only join the military to fight for Cascadia, the region from Northern California to Vancouver, British Columbia.
He was fun-loving, happy go-lucky and generous to a fault. A bouncy, smiling presence.
He always said he had a truck so he could he could help people move. He had the nickname of a superhero from Dexter’s Laboratory, and painted a big G on his kayaking helmet, made to look like Superman’s S.
We both loved Oregon’s outdoors, but we loved Portland too. We first met at Portland institution Stumptown coffee. For some time Geoff lived by the Willamette river and could carry his kayak there after work. Then go for a Bison burger at Buffalo Gap.
Sometimes I miss the simple pleasures of Portland, the bookstores, coffee shops, neighborhood eateries, McMenamin’s cinemas, craft beers, parks and walking along streets with lovely homes that have gardens bursting with flowers. Roses taller than me, And the trees. The magnificent, massive, magical trees. When I first saw the Columbia River Gorge, just outside of Portland, my heart swelled and it felt like I was home. Geoff used to say he’d had prophetic dreams of living in a valley and found it in Portland.
When Geoff died, I decided to look for an international gig. I needed to bring new energy and life into my life. I also worried about being unable to find work in Oregon. When I came to Dubai, I didn’t know if it would be for a bit, and then I would go back to Portland. My home. In the beginning it was hard. Leaving Oregon, I was grieving him all over again. But, with time and new adventures, I have found I’m enjoying my traveling days. Too much to return. For now.
I was recently reminded that all the bookstores and coffee shops, all the things I love will still be in Oregon when or if I choose to go back.
All the things, but Geoff.