You went to heaven yesterday. It was the first day of summer, of all days. You died on the summer solstice.
This world already feels weird without you. Like someone adjusted the picture on the TV screen of existence and screwed up the reception. The colors are off. The sky is a strange shade of blue. The songs of the birds sound mechanical and fake. Nothing feels right.
You made us all love you. I don’t know how you did that. But you did. You had that unique human talent of amiability. People were drawn to you like fruit flies.
I was one such fruit fly.
I was aimless when we first met. A lost kid. Confused about who he was. You were older than me. You were an artist. You loved your life. I wanted to love my life the way you did. I wanted to find joy the way you did.
So you helped me. You and your husband took me in like a stray mutt. You fed me from your table. You told me I was somebody. You gave me free haircuts.
My wife woke me up this morning to tell me the news of your departure. I couldn’t cry. In fact, I couldn’t feel. I am still pretty numb. And a little sick. It’s like when you touch a stove. That nanosecond before the pain sets in, your whole body is still trying to figure out what just happened. That’s how I feel.
I have had all the normal thoughts that accompany death and dying. I keep thinking: “Life isn’t fair.” “Life is too short.” “Why is life so cruel?”
Sometimes I have thoughts about how maybe it’s God who is cruel, and not life. After all, how could a loving universal creator snuff out the life of an angel while he allows a dictator to die of old age? How, I ask you.
But then I walked outside this morning and saw how foolish this idea was, blaming God.
This morning it was a blistering 90-odd degrees outside. Steam was rising from the wet earth like a cloud fighting its way toward heaven. The crickets were screaming blue murder.
The air itself seemed to wobble and bend with the heat. A distant lawn mower was running. Someone’s yard sprinkler was going. The trees were waving in the faint gusts. It was beautiful.
And I realized that you died on the first day of summer.
That can’t be a coincidence. Astronomically speaking, the first day of summer is when the Sun reaches its highest point. The first day of summer is the longest day of the year. Meaning, the earth is closer to the Sun than it will ever be again.
This is no small event in nature. The world itself changes on the first day of summer. Everything changes. Physics change. The laws of gravity change. The weather changes. Nature can feel summer happening within itself, and the planet responds in kind.
Within the Arctic Circle, there are multiple days of uninterrupted daylight. Glaciers thaw. The seas churn. Cattle lie down. Flowers multiply. The birds go crazy. Tropical forests become the world’s largest singles’ bars.
Winter is officially over. In winter the whole world dies. Then comes the struggle of spring, which is a fistfight against Mother Nature.
But then comes summer.
Rebirth. The end of the long, troublesome war with resurrection. Summer is the beginning of forever.
You were taken from us on the most beautiful summer day of the year. The sun was at 23.5 degrees latitude North, directly over the Tropic of Cancer. The earth was at its maximum axial tilt of 23.44 degrees.
It was as though the universe were aligning itself to make room for your soul as it fluttered toward God.
Which is where you are now. Where you live, it is perpetually summer. Your face is gazing at the same sun I am looking at now. Only you have a considerably better view of it.
Because you are no longer encumbered by our world, or our agony, or our hardships. Neither by our culture of self-seekers and egoists, nor by our disappointments, nor our unkindness.
You have been reborn. You live in a new realm. You are no longer fighting. You are the essence of summer now.
And some glad morning, when this life is over, so it shall be with us all.
G. F. - June 23, 2022 7:36 am
You were so lucky to have had someone who loved and supported you as you learned how to live. Your tribute was so beautiful. You were very, very lucky…
Holly Shipman - June 23, 2022 11:34 am
Oh Sean, such a beautiful tribute for my beloved sister. Thank you for sharing the memories. And thank you for helping me understand this overwhelming heartbreak just a little bit better.
Lynda Anderson Shirley - June 23, 2022 3:47 pm
Sherry was my sister in law from her first husband. My girls loved her so much & whenever we visited her hometown, she spent so much time with them riding her horse, bike riding, just bring together. I am so saddened by her death. She was absolutely a beautiful soul & our world will truly miss her . My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.
Lynda Anderson Shirley
Debbie g - June 23, 2022 11:57 am
Some of us were blessed with Sherri’s in our lives I’m glad you were
And how blessed we are to have a Sean in ours
Love and sweet memories for you
Love to us all. May our motto today be
Be a sherry or Sean to someone ❤️
Ed (Bear) - June 23, 2022 9:15 am
I’m sorry for your loss. I wish I had comforting words for such a deserving being as you.
Gwen - June 23, 2022 10:29 am
Cindy Pack - June 23, 2022 10:32 am
Praying for peace and comfort as you grieve the loss of your earthly angel. My hubby died on the first day of Spring 2004. For years we’d been enamored with a song by Nanci Griffith called Gulf Coast Highway. One line says “And when we die we say we’ll catch some blackbird’s wing and we will fly away to Heaven come some sweet bluebonnet Spring”. By golly, he did.
Ellouise - June 23, 2022 10:53 am
Sherry knew you loved her. I wish I had known her. Because of your column this morning, I feel a little bit like I do. Please accept my condolences.
Holly Rabalais - June 23, 2022 10:56 am
Sean, please get yourself a copy of The Book of Eulogies if you can find it. It will not mend your heart, but I believe it will be a balm. Passing along His comfort. 2 Cor. 1:3-4
A.K. - June 23, 2022 10:57 am
I’m so sorry for your loss Sean
Donna - June 23, 2022 11:04 am
A beautiful tribute!
Julie Poehlman - June 23, 2022 11:05 am
Sean, there is a time to be born and a time to fly. The good book says “It’s better to be in a house of mourning ” It shows us what matters. God gives good gifts. She was one from Him. Then the sweet lady who told you the sad news, your wife is another gift. Grief is terrible, but your tears honor her. Grieve well.
Ann Thompson - June 23, 2022 11:06 am
So sorry for your loss. Happy for you that you had her love and friendship.
We all need the rain. It sustains life.
Enjoy the sunshine and buy yourself some flowers today. They are joy.
babs - June 23, 2022 11:10 am
they never really leave, she is with you always in your heart and memories
Jeri Bishop - June 23, 2022 11:16 am
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Anne Arthur - June 23, 2022 11:23 am
A wonderful tribute. May her soul enjoy God’s presence.
Christine - June 23, 2022 11:26 am
So beautifully written for your friend Sherry.
Some glad morning when this life is over,
I’ll fly away, To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away. And her Angel wings have flown.
RichardC - June 23, 2022 1:48 pm
Amen and amen.
MR - June 23, 2022 11:35 am
I’m so sorry you lost your friend, Sean. My heart hurts for you,
Paul McCutchen - June 23, 2022 11:35 am
It is always hard with you lose someone who is part of your family unit. Not family by blood but family none the less. I hope you will get comfort from ones who are also close to you. My prayers are with you.
Adams - June 23, 2022 11:41 am
I didn’t even know Sherry, but after reading this, I miss her too. Nice tribute brother Sean, hope each day brings more peace and healing.
cflowers - June 23, 2022 11:45 am
I am so sorry for your loss…I am daily going through those same emotions since losing my 19yo grandson in December…I know that you are glad that you had her in your life, just as I am to have been blessed by Brayden. But loss sucks no matter how we try to sugar coat it…It is only the knowledge that we will one day see them again that gives us some breath of hope…
Susie - June 23, 2022 11:56 am
Beautious, Sean. So sorry for your loss of a beautiful friend. 😪
Jo Ann - June 23, 2022 12:03 pm
So sorry for the loss of this special person. She surely did “fly away.”
Cindy - June 23, 2022 12:05 pm
I’m sorry for your loss – but you shall see her again, and in the meantime the marks she has made on your life will bless you and others until that time. You are blessed to have had such a wonderful soul in your life. Thank you for being a blessing to those who read your stories each day.
Sean of the South: Some Glad Summer | The Trussville Tribune - June 23, 2022 12:28 pm
[…] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]
Kathy - June 23, 2022 12:31 pm
I’m so sorry for your loss Sean.
Judy 🌻 - June 23, 2022 12:39 pm
Beautiful tribute. I am thankful for your friend. I know you will miss her and I am sorry.
Jeanie Morelock - June 23, 2022 12:40 pm
Beautiful! Everyone has experienced the deaths of those we love; BUT, you just perfectly put into words those aweful feelings that we’ve all had. And offered hope of the evenlasting at the same time! Thank you!
elliemac3 - June 23, 2022 12:41 pm
David Britnell - June 23, 2022 1:14 pm
I don’t know who Sherry is but your words make me wish I had known her. I pray that God gives you the peace and comfort you need at this time.
D. W. Meehan - June 23, 2022 1:15 pm
That very, very thin place is where I am right now. Unfortunately I never met Sherry, and I only know of Sean through his meaningful words. But I share in the heartfelt grief of letting go of someone so close, so dear. That thin place, where we are all connected in some way to share with each other our deepest, innermost feelings. Thank you, Sean. Blessings to all who loved Sherry.
RichardC - June 23, 2022 1:46 pm
Beautiful tribute. Great perspective. If we have accepted Jesus as our savior, our “first day of (eternal) summer” awaits.
Patricia Gibson - June 23, 2022 1:55 pm
Dee F.Hoomes Wichman - June 23, 2022 1:58 pm
I am sorry for your loss. On the 27th, my beautiful youngest daughter, Amanda, will have been gone 22 years. She was only 25 and was a wonderful artist, singer, songwriter, potter and thoughtful person. She had decided that seven tee shirts was enough for anyone so she gave the extra away and if she bought a new one, she gave one away. Listen to her song, Radio Flyer, on facebook and you’ll know, as I do, that she is flying higher than the stars.
CherylW. - June 23, 2022 1:58 pm
The burden of grief is heavy, but when those who love us understand and share that heaviness, the rawness of grief seems to ease as time passes. We will always miss the tangible presence of the dear ones who passed, but they are never really gone. The sweet memories are always in our heart.
Sue Rhodus - June 23, 2022 2:56 pm
Such a lovely tribute .
Judy Raines - June 23, 2022 3:23 pm
Toni G - June 23, 2022 3:49 pm
Praying comfort for you and all those that lived Sherry. I wish I could have known her.
LIN ARNOLD - June 23, 2022 4:28 pm
What a beautiful way to put it.
I’m very sorry for your loss.
Brenda - June 23, 2022 4:40 pm
Beautiful tribute ❤️ my condolences for your loss 💐
PEGGY CAMPBELL - June 23, 2022 4:45 pm
May God wrap His big arms of comfort and peace around you. Love you and your precious wife and your writing.
Amanda craig - June 23, 2022 5:28 pm
So sorry for your loss. Your tribute to her is beautiful. God ‘s grace and peace be your companion always.
Bettye - June 23, 2022 5:50 pm
How did you know how I felt. We had a suiside just last week.
Pennsylvania Dutch Motor Coach Driver - June 23, 2022 6:40 pm
This post prompted me to write my last post at https://weavers-shuttle.com/
MAMMAM - June 23, 2022 7:35 pm
A loving tribute that soothes many souls as we lose loved ones. Thank you, Sean. It doesn’t kill the pain, but it’s a great reminder of the eternal life we should all be striving for.
Linda Moon - June 23, 2022 8:09 pm
I never met Sherry, but your stories of her life and love and loss were beautiful. So I would have liked her if we had met. And I’m singing the song now….we’ll fly, as you so eloquently described, Sean. It’s a Providential flight for us all.
Karen - June 23, 2022 10:33 pm
What a beautiful tribute to Sherry. I learned today that a fine young man in our neighborhood died in a motorcycle. He and his wife have 3 children. Life can be unfair.
Ann Marie Bouchet - June 24, 2022 3:46 am
How beautiful, how poignant. Someone you loved very much. I am so sorry for your loss,Sean.
Connie - June 24, 2022 10:25 am
So sorry for your loss. 💔
Jean P. Stone - June 24, 2022 3:48 pm
I will keep this. I will probably print it and put it with other posts of yours I can’t bear to let go. Thank you for enriching my life.
NancyB. - June 24, 2022 5:38 pm
🙏🙏 My prayers and condolences for the loss of your friend, Sherry. 🙏🙏
Gayle - June 24, 2022 6:10 pm
Sean your way with words is simply elegant
sjhl7 - June 25, 2022 4:34 pm
So beautiful! Thank you, Sean.
Gloria Van Nostrand - June 25, 2022 9:03 pm
So touching. Thankful she helped you. Looking forward to seeing her one glad day.
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - June 27, 2022 12:30 am
Allen Berry - June 28, 2022 12:57 am
I’m so sorry for your loss, brother. A wise man once summed up the passing of a loved one with these simple words: “This sucks.” . As a poet, I know how little words are, how empty condolences can ring, but you did a fine job here. A person could do worse for an epitaph. I’d say you were both blessed for knowing one another.