Grief, again.

Our neighborhood lost a great man this week. Up until a few months ago, Mack Gorrod  was still rising early every morning to feed his cows. Whenever we had a big snow storm, he would drive his tractor over to plow our driveway. He insisted. He always brought a few treats for our cow dog, who greeted him with enthusiasm every time.

The first time I cried for Mack was the day last fall when they cut down his apple orchard. I knew that once his trees were gone, he would soon follow.

Since his death three days ago, I’ve tried numerous times to write about Ol’ Mack. Yet I find myself unable to articulate the depth of my sorrow. So I was interested to see Slate’s first installment of what looks to be a fascinating look at grief. It follows Meghan O’Rourke‘s outstanding series The Long Good-bye. (The basis of a book by the same title.) The series asked readers to describe their experiences with grief and offers a glimpse into one of our most personal emotions.

Mack had a stroke the same day that my 92-year-old grandma died, and when I saw the ambulance go by that morning–minutes after my mom had given me the news about grandma–I was beside myself. Losing Grandma Penner–my last remaining grandparent–was difficult enough. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing Ol’ Mack too.

We didn’t lose Mack that day; he held on for two more months. In retrospect I’m not sure that was what anyone wanted.

Some day when I gain my composure, I hope to write something more about Mack, but for now all I can say is, Mack was the bedrock of this place I call home.

Farewell Mack Gorrod. This place will not be the same without you.