Rest Well, Ed Gulley

Ed in his studio working on Tin Man

The crows caws were consistent and evenly spaced like an alarm clock.  They started in my dream then nagged me awake. The crow was real, in the tree outside our bedroom window.

I immediately thought of Ed and the crows who lived on Bejosh Farm, the ones he knew so well, the ones he talked to.

Ed died last night.  Carol texted Jon to let us know.

I immediately felt a surge of relief, for Ed.  I felt relief and sadness for Carol and her family and for myself.

I said good-bye to Ed a few weeks ago.  He was sleeping a lot then, and barely talking.  But he was apparently listening to a conversation I was having with Carol about how I had taken on a commission and was having a hard time completing it.

Ed’s eyes popped open, he looks at me and said, “Someone once told me not to take commissions, to make what I want, it works better that way”.  Ed was giving me back the advice I once gave him.

That’s what friends do.

Creating art was a big part of my friendship with Ed.  Talking about art, displaying it, and selling it, was how we initially connected to each other.  It was a common language between us.

When I walked out the door of Carol and Ed’s house that day, I blew Ed a kiss and said “Adios”.  I knew as I said it that I would not be seeing the same Ed, the Ed I knew, again.

After that, when I visited the Farm, Ed was usually sleeping and I would go directly into the kitchen to talk with Carol.  It didn’t feel to me like it was my place anymore to visit with Ed.  I had nothing to offer him, no way to help.  He had many loving people around him to take care of all his needs.

Two days ago, when Carol told me that Ed’s time was short, I laid my hand on his arm and whispered good-bye. To me it felt like he was already gone.

I’m so glad I got to know Ed.  I’m glad that he and Jon got to be friends.  I’m glad that the artist in Ed was able to emerge and be known, to himself and other people.

As awful as it was, Ed said he found some freedom when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Now he’s free from his body.  For whatever comes next.

6 thoughts on “Rest Well, Ed Gulley

  1. What a lovely story. I’m so grateful for you and Jon and the
    Gulleys. Their story has enriched my life
    and given much food for thought. Because
    most people don’t share so openly, the fear
    and dread around death thrives. I love the way
    you named Ed’s creativity Art. That seemed
    like it was profound and powerful for him. I loved
    his confidence. I’m glad he’s no longer
    suffering. It’s been beautiful to have
    seen (through pics) and words your steadfast friendship
    with Ed and Carol throughout his last few years. Thank you for
    your gentle kindness. It’s been a gift to witness.
    Sending thoughts of comfort and peace to you, Jon, Ed’s family
    and all who loved him. I hope he feels free and whole! xo

  2. Lovely words, Maria. And the crows came with the message, to those who see and understand. When my father lay in a hospital room, there was a single tree outside his window, rising from all the concrete. When he passed, a raven came and sat there. And others he was close to spoke of ravens showing up at the same time, outside their window. There is beauty in this, acceptance, and a reminder of the Mystery that comes with all — in life and in death. Thank you for guiding Ed with his art. He lived fully, and tasted freedom in the end. A gift in itself. And you, in your way of thinking and living and giving, are truly a gift as well. Thank you.

  3. Such a wonderful way to sum up a beautiful friendship…your faith in his artistic ability changed his life…thank you so much…

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