Sunday, March 22, 2009

What a day

Jack and I were married for 6 1/2 happy years. Last night, he died suddenly while taking a late-night shower before bed. It appears that it was a sudden massive heart attack. The firemen and paramedics came, but there was nothing to be done. We are bereft. I have spent much of the day on the phone letting people know what happened and generally taking care of the business that needs to be taken care of when this kind of unexpected death happens. I'm thankful for our friend, Dionne, who came when I called her in the middle of the night last night while the paramedics were here, and who stayed until my mom arrived this afternoon. Jack's sister, Celia, is enroute to here now. She'll be here tomorrow late morning.

At this time, no services have been set here in the Seattle area. I hope to have something arranged in the next couple of days. Also, some friends of ours are working on putting together a memorial ritual for Jack in the Santa Cruz area. I will post information here when I have it.

Feel free to post stories about Jack here. He was deeply loved by me and his children. There is an unfathomable void left in our lives where his larger-than-life presence once resided.


  1. Linda, hugs to you and the girls.

    I have never been happier watching two of my best friends marrying. Yet, people were surprised that I had know Jack since we were in our late teens And that I had met Linda independly of him, many years later.

    A story I can share with all.
    Durning the times when I and Jack were not working a summer camp for handicapped people, we would call each on the weekends. We had a "sort of contest" on bread baking- how long a fresh baked loaf would last (think the record was less than 10 minutes, but I don't recall if it was my family or his who woofed down the bread), how many loaves we could make in a day (he won there), and of course sharing reciepes. Jack also made some awesome omlets...he spoiled us in Traveling Camp.
    Years pasted and we drifted apart.
    Durning that time I met Linda at Ancient Ways festival. Her smile and tie-dye hat...a friendship was borned.
    I had wondered what had happened to Jack. And being the pagan that I am, I did "spellwork"
    to find those who had a made a dent in my life...
    and to tell those people "thank-you".
    Well answers happen in the strangest ways...I was running out of the meadow building on some erran, and Jack was running all get the picture. I think our greeting each other was heard for miles.
    As time progressed, I have had the pleasure and joy watching Jack and Linda become, grow into the wonderful couple, then parents of two lovely girls.
    I shall miss Jack, his smile and love of life. I shall always rememer him with his red bandana.
    So, Linda my dear friend, I send you many hugs and many prayers from deep with in my heart.

  2. Bridge:
    A structure spanning a break in the land
    — a river, a chasm —
    Tying two sides together
    Making them continuous.
    I was walking into the wind
    It was a cold wet day on the Morrison bridge
    Halfway between
    When I heard.
    One of the piers holding me aloft
    Was suddenly gone;
    Hanging in space above the river
    I could feel my supports cracking.
    Now what bridge exists
    That can span the chasm
    Between here and your farther shore?
    What structure can possibly
    Mend the break
    In life's continuity?

  3. How do you sum up someone’s life and your deep and abiding love for them in a few short paragraphs? I feel like even if I write down every memory I have of Jack it would never be enough.

    Jack Darkhand was a great, great man. He was also my friend.

    Jack came into my life by way of a prayer. It was a very rough time in my life – my now-husband, then-boyfriend had just dumped me. I had lost my job AND my place to live, and I had a toddler to take care of. So I prayed. I prayed to the Gods that they send me someone who could help me figure out what to do. A few minutes later I got an email from Jack. Well, more like an email from the Pagan Update. In my desperation, I decided this was the answer to my prayers. The Gods had sent me Jack Darkhand to help.

    Who knows? Maybe they really did.

    Regardless, I emailed Jack, and he responded. We ended up corresponding for a while. I eventually figured it all out, Jack giving me none of the answers, but just being there for me and listening. I know he got tons of emails. But he took the time to answer mine. It really meant a lot to me that someone as busy as Jack would take the time to endlessly email on of his subscribers back and forth. But that’s just the kind of man he was.

    Eventually he invited my husband and I (and my son) over for brunch. We had steak, the most kick-butt omelets I have ever had, and mimosas. (I actually had forgotten about the omelets until I read Jessie’s post, so thanks for jogging that memory, Jessie!)

    I still remember the jury-rigged gas stove. His place had an electric range, but he wouldn’t cook on it, so he had a small propane tank hooked up to a two burner gas one, seated atop his stove. It was awesome. It made me love him even more. (All right thinking people cook with gas). We had such a wonderful time.

    I know I can’t possibly include all my memories of him, so I will try to stick with my favorites.

    Among my community, Pagan Update subscriptions were pretty much a given. I had friends who planned their weeks around it. When Jack and Linda came to my 24th birthday party, my friends were awed. “You’re friends with Jack Darkhand?!?!” they would ask in an awed whisper, much the same tone you would expect had it been Mick Jagger or Ghandi I was friends with.

    People were awed by him. He was so accurate, it was scary. And the absolute best thing about it? He achieved this uncanny accuracy not through any psychic ability, but through pure and simple science. I found this out the day he gave my husband a tarot reading. Up until that day, I had assumed everyone read tarot in one of two ways: looking it up in the book after you did the standard layout, or using the cards as a way to focus your psychic ability. Mostly the latter though. But not Jack. He, through careful study (years and years I might add), had memorized what each card meant, and what each card meant in relation to each other. Every possible combination. It was just amazing. He was amazing.

    Another thing about Jack – he paid attention. I mean, really, really paid attention. I used to be chronically late. So, for a present at said earlier birthday party, he brought me a watch. He said “I thought to myself, no wonder the poor girl’s always late, she doesn’t own a watch!”

    Ironically, two years later, he and I would be standing on a bluff overlooking the ocean, as he was about to be married when he was complaining about being worried about time. A few minutes later, his watch broke and came to tell me, knowing I would love the cosmic irony of that. I love that he noticed things like that, and put them together.

    I love that he got married in a kilt.

    Though it has been years since I heard his voice, so full of life and energy, I feel a huge gaping whole in the world because he is no longer in it. I look at the family photo taken in front of the falls that is on my refrigerator door, and it pains me greatly that that will be the last photograph I will ever get of him.

    To the girls, I want you to know what a wonderful, wonderful man your father was and how many people’s lives he has touched. Who knows where I would be today if he’d never answered that email?

    To Linda, I cannot imagine how this must be for you. I know for me the pain is nearly unbearable – for you it must be way worse. I hate that you are hurting, and I hate that you must go on without Jack. I am glad you are surrounded by family, and please know you can call me any time. You are in my thoughts and my prayers.


    P.S. Catherine - that was a beautiful poem, and covers it all, I think...

  4. Hello, I don't think we know one another but I knew Jack for many years and wanted to write to extend my condolences and share my memories of Jack. Jack and I circled through one another's worlds on and off since 1994. He was an incredible man, intelligent, kind and thoughtful with a huge heart. I remember having a particularly delightful conversation with him back in 1996 about herbal medicine and medicine making. I was so inspired by our conversation and by the magic of plants in general that I went on to study herbal medicine and have been working as a professional herbalist and healer since 2002.

    Jack was a real shining star, a true blessing of a man and he will be sorely missed. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

  5. I only knew him a short time but I was at the wedding and I still remember vividly the excitement and happiness that was on his face. I remember thinking that it was refreshing to see that. I carry that memory with me and take it out at times. Much love to you and to your family and my deepest felt condolences.

    Jerry Ferro

  6. I am so stunned that Jack is gone. He was a blaze of talent, a brilliant head, a lot of fun.

    Here's a memory: he graciously agreed to attend my 50th birthday party, and to play, at my request, his rollicking, original composition, "Take Off Your Clothes and Lie Down". Dedicated to Z. Budapest, this song is a fine expression of the male perspective in relationship dialogue, which delighted me with its honesty and naughtiness. His guitar then warmed up, he said modestly, "Now I'm going to show off", and he proceeded to play a note-perfect rendition of the showcase piece "Classical Gas", which he said he hadn't played in years. We were all amazed. Jack.

    He was versatile in music, in writing, in magic, in most topics he turned his attention to. He loved with great passion, and his romance with Linda was legendary.

    We will remember him, and we will miss him, for many years.

    Brightest of Blessings upon his wife, his daughters, his family.

    Much, much love,
    Beki Filipello

    Beki Filipello

  7. Words cannot describe what I feel ... I'm stunned. Over the past weekend, I recounted one of my best stories about Jack -- not knowing that he would not be in this world much longer. It was at an Ancient Ways and let's just say some things happened that he was not very proud of. He asked me to take care of his pentacle ring until such time as he deserved it again. A few years letter, again at Ancient Ways, he told me that he was in love with this amazing woman -- did I know her? and of course I knew you, Linda, and all I could think was what a perfect couple ... That was also when I gave him back the ring. While he really had done nothing wrong in the first place, meeting you was truly a turning point in his life and the ring was meant to be with him.

    There are few people who touched my heart they way Jack did. Everything he did, he did with great passion and he loved life to the fullest -- and the best part of his life was his love of Linda. I am honoured to have known him -- and I will deeply miss him.

    There shall be a returning for thee, my friend.


    Catherine (Rhiannon)