I stumbled through my early morning routine: restart the fire, put the coffee on, take the dogs out, open the coop, feed the pigs, feed the goats, passively yell at the dogs for eating chicken shit but secretly feel grateful for the cleaning up, that sort of thing. Once all the work was done, I dropped my buckets and, like an overgrown toddler making an inert snow angel or a yogi in some bundled Siberian shivasana, I lay on my back, arms outstretched, and watched the snowflakes drop into my eyes.
Maybe it was melting snow. Maybe it was tears. I could only think that she was gone and yelled to the grey and heavy sky, “WHAT THE FUCK, MAGGIE?!”
The sky shrugged.
Maggie gave me the moniker, Laura the Hot Farmer a year or so ago. As her blog posts regarding my farming antics became more prolific (see Maggie’s blog), I would start to think of her as I went through my various tasks. Rarely would an event pass, however mundane, without the thought, “Maggie would’ve thought that was hilarious.” After speaking to others who were close to her, I realize that this experience was in no way only mine; it wasn’t reserved for hot farming; it was how she made us feel–that she was there and she was laughing.
Usually at us.
But Maggie was allowed to laugh at us because we were allowed to laugh at her. She was exquisitely dramatic. She fell deeply and immediately in love and just as quickly could change her mind.
She adored her friends.
She was fiercely loyal.
And she should not be in the past-tense.
Sunday we were, as usual, texting like teenagers about dog sedatives and canine talk therapy and on Monday she decided to have a massive heart attack.
Sitting in the hospital Monday night, we marveled at the perfect state of her eyebrows and pedicure. All of this attention to detail. How could this beautiful, vibrant person be hooked up to dozens of machines? How could she not be able to breathe unassisted?
I said out loud it was like she’d been run over by a truck; Chloe said it was like she’d been run over by her own heart.
When I moved to East Chatham two years ago and knew no one and didn’t like the meetings and feared I’d made a horrible mistake, I met Maggie and immediately breathed a sigh of relief. She made this place better for me; she made this place okay. She made it okay by being simultaneously friendly and rude. She’d give me shit about how often I wore my favorite pants, musing loudly to whomever might have been in earshot whether I even OWNED another pair, and then in the same breath ask to have the earrings I was wearing. Not borrow them, mind you. Just have them.
We responded to one another instantly like sisters. We would confide everything in one another, I would invariably piss her off or hurt one or more of her many feelings, and she would invariably include my secrets in her next blog post. We would fight for about three minutes, and then we’d talk it through and end up laughing. And laughing and laughing.
There was so much laughter.
Even in the hospital waiting room, Maggie’s spirit was present and she was making us laugh. We knew how irritated she would have been by how stupid the resident was, how cool the Medivac ride must have been, how mad she would have been to have missed it by being unconscious.
There is now a Maggie-sized hole in my life that doesn’t seem fillable. It requires such specific passions and cadences; it requires a certain balance of humor and snark and love; it requires rough edges and soft touches; it requires only her.
Maggie forever changed every life she touched and she touched a very great many of us and I have, in no way, figured out how to proceed from here without her.
She will be missed, she will be celebrated, and she will continue to be loved.
I’m grateful to have been her friend.