I'm numb today after learning that the poet Craig Arnold, whose tattoos were featured here, died just a few days after my posts, just a few days after we chatted via instant message on Facebook.
I certainly did not have the level of interaction with him that many of the other people in his life, I had only really known him for a short time. But his interest and eagerness to participate in the Tattooed Poets Project brought me closer to him, I can only imagine that the sadness I feel is intensified a hundred-fold by the people that really knew him. And I am torn:
I envy their memories of Craig, their experiences with him, all the wonderful recollections of good times, yet I am saddened not just by the loss of Craig, but the heartbreak I feel oozing through the various portals of the internet.
I contacted many poets in the months leading up to April. Some were too busy to respond, or just said "thanks, but no thanks". But Craig, in my book, someone with a great excuse not to help a fellow writer out, came through despite being halfway across the planet, working on what he loved until the very end.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Craig Arnold's friends and family.
I feel blessed to have had just a sliver of time with Craig, in the form of some messages, e-mails, a poem and two tattoos.
Embrace the memories, the words, the experiences. Embrace them and treasure them. They are what sustain us. They give us strength and hope. They make it possible to go on.