Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | May 15, 2007

Farewell Mr. Holcombe

She asked me to write the words she can’t say….the words I know are in her heart but tears of knowing he’s not here hurt so bad it grabs your throat, ties a noose around it and prevents audible words.  The sound that rumbles from the back of your throat sounds like you are saying Hugh in a deep

New York accent.  Your eyes close and then….knowing her….she’s strong for those around her. She tightens herself up….even though she’s alone in the car and said out loud, “Pull it together Tiff. Enough.”  Then she broke down again.   

Yesterday, she ignored my messages; there was nothing to say…or nothing new to report. I worried she tried her best and looked for distraction.  I awoke at 2:30 am knowing she had yet to respond I sent her a message at 3:15 am to check in.  She replied at 5:40 am and texted letting me know nothing new had happened and she was fine.   Hours later she called at 3:20pm. I knew the reason for the call.  There are people in this life you are connected to and can’t even explain why you already know what’s going on in their life before they reach out to you,  

“Jessie…its Tiffy…I need to talk to you now.  Call me back.”  

“Hey sorry I was on a call and couldn’t get off quick enough.” 

“Yeah, my Father died.” 


“I’ve only she two tears” 

We spoke briefly and then she had to go, there is only so much to say at times like these when the wound is less than an hour exposed to the elements…you go numb. It’s a feeling that makes your body heavy…the aching debriefs all feelings of comfort; you feel everything yet lost in your own skin.  It hurts like leprosy. 

Every relationship with a parent takes on a different meaning for siblings.  A Father can be the best friend to one sibling and an enemy to the next. Daddy Holcombe, as we called him in high school, was a opinionated man who pushed his children in different directions. He wanted the best for his children yet feared the way they grew apart from him and stood on their own feet.  Regardless of how troubled their relationship is she loves him… he is still her Father. 

And that’s what hurts. 

Shelley and I spoke briefly – we’ve all been friends since we were 15/16 years old for crying out loud and after reliving the last week of her life with Shell I said, “I’m looking into tickets and need to come this weekend.” 

“Jessie – it hasn’t hit her yet – she needs her girls.” 

“I know but she doesn’t know that yet.  I’m looking at tickets.  Call Becky.” 

“Okay. Love you.” 

“Love you too.” 

This is unchartered territory for us…I’ve had friends who have lost siblings and grandparents…and I’ve had friends who have lost parents in younger years with out understanding the magnitude of the situation.  The four of us have been there for one another regardless of how ridiculously different our lives have shaped themselves.  I’m in sales, Becky is a lawyer, Tiffany is a college professor & Shell is an Editor.  I’ll come in from Houston, Becky from Tampa, Shelley from South Carolina and Tiffy from

Charlotte to convene at her parent’s house.  We all knew of difficulties with each one’s families and we’ve shared the weight of them as well.


 Once you met Tiffany’s Father you couldn’t deny his presence.  If you try to ignore the elephant in the room –  his opinion of why you’re doing it would have stomped you wrong.  He was a man of stature and a lot of other things…..regardless, he was still her Father, and now he’s with the great Architect in the sky.


  1. I can definitely relate to your friend. She’s lucky to have the three of you in her life.

  2. Life is always a full plate is it.

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