The Light Has Gone Out of My Life


"The light has gone out of my life." These words from Teddy Roosevelt upon his life's great tragedy constantly run through my head, because I am at a lack of words of my own to describe how I feel losing Della, my partner, my light. The light has gone out of my life.

This article from the Bozeman paper covers the basics. (Archival screenshot here.)

Words are failing on so many fronts. All the wonderful and heartfelt outpouring of stories, remembrances, and praise for the amazing, caring, funny, thoughtful, joyful woman Della was hardly begins to convey her wonderful qualities. I am brought to tears throughout the day by tiny reminders of her beautiful smile, compassionate nature, and hilarious spirit.

Much has also been shared on the loss to the community, which is indeed great. A Bellingham Circus Guild show without Della won't be the same without her thought-provoking yet hilarious acts, her playful greeting of audiences, and infectious enthusiasm for the cast and crew backstage. A trip to the grocery store for the scores of people who knew and loved Della without the probability inevitably running into her and having their day made by a reminder of some shared history or joke will be noticeably missing. But words can't capture that loss either.

But most of all, I can't find words, much less wrap my head around, my loss: the loss of my partner, my heart, my soul, my light. My future without Della does not compute. I can't make sense of anything. It's like I'm missing a part of me that made me able to function, to feel. Anyone who has known me in the past 11 years knows this better than any words could encapsulate: Della was my light. And now she's gone. The light has gone out of my life.

In the days since the tragedy, I've tried many things to cope. One suggestion I got was to write. And while even now, I know my words are hardly coherent, then I was doing all I could to get my thoughts down. One attempt I made came out in the form "How Lucky I Was". I'll include it here as I don't know what else to do.

It was less than 12 hours from when I first met Della to when I got to hold her in my arms. The holding was more a matter of physical logistics, as we ended up crammed in a 1-man tent because of a goofy dare. But we stayed the whole night, cramped-snuggled together, her sleeping soundly as if she was oblivious to the magic building (she was always such a good sleeper), me not sleeping a wink because my heart and mind were so full of possibility. The next day, people we met asked if we were married because of how we were together. It was zero to partnership, just like that, the kind of magical creation story to match a magical relationship.

And it was a special relationship, if I do say so myself. We were partners in all the senses. We built a business together, a business that succeeded partially on the way we brought audiences into our relationship with us. We managed our crazy lives together, staying at this house or that, shuttling, sorting, and fixing a never-ending stream of circus props and costumes, always something new to decide on together and rarely a routine to guide us. We supported each other in our individual endeavors. We did so many fun and amazing things together. We were a part of each other to the core. And maybe this is the way a lot of relationships are. I hope so. If what I call special is what's par for the course, that means more people are as happy as I was. And I wish that for everyone

I was often reminded how lucky I was to have found Della. It was never meant in a "how does a schmo like you end up with a gem like her" overtly, but we all knew the truth in the unsaid. And I agree. How did I end up being so lucky: to find a beautiful, kind, fun woman who accepted who I am, who agreed to live in my mom's garage with me, who helped me become better in so many ways despite my stubborn nature, who accepted my [sometimes smothering] love of her gracefully. But miraculously, I did. I was so lucky, so lucky to have built a decade of amazing memories—of travels, shows, stupid jokes, heartfelt moments, incredible experiences, mundane shared trivialities, touches, insights, These memories will be with me even though she won't. And to have these memories, I do feel lucky.


This blog has always been a chronicle of my life, a way to share the ups and downs with the few friends and family that still bother to read. Well, Della's death is a down, a down that I don't imagine will ever be out-downed. It is deep and painful and disorienting. But I'm hoping that sharing it makes it slightly less deep, hurt slightly less. I guess I'm just really sad and don't know what else to do. Truly, the light has gone out of my life.


Tuesday November 3 2020File under: love

Toggle Comments (11)comment?
on Tue 03rd Nov, 2020 11:54 pm EST Katy said:
Beautiful Wren, thank you for sharing. ❤️
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on Wed 04th Nov, 2020 01:08 am EST Andrew said:
Love you both.
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on Thu 05th Nov, 2020 10:38 pm EST Raine said:
I'm so, so sorry for your loss, Wren. Thinking of you every day like so many. Much care and comfort.
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on Fri 06th Nov, 2020 12:38 am EST Stefan said:
"Infectious enthusiasm" is an excellent description. How wonderful that Della chose you.
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on Fri 06th Nov, 2020 01:52 pm EST Stephanie said:
When I understood what happened (and I'm sorry about inadvertently demanding attention that next day, I was so confused as to what was happening and it was so kind of you to reach out despite what you must have been going through...) I couldn't wrap my head around it either. I still can't. You two were really a perfect match. You really complemented each other in all that you did, and it was really fun to watch everything you two got up to from afar. What you wrote here was is a really beautiful reflection, and I'm so glad that you have shared it.
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on Fri 06th Nov, 2020 09:52 pm EST Keith Conover said:
I came across your blog while trying to find out more on Della, her accident and what she had been doing in recent years. She and I went to school together in PT. We were friends and like a lot of people, lost touch after school. Hands-down, she was one of the nicest people I had ever known. I can only imagine what you're going though. Hopefully you find joy in your memories. She truly was a wonderful person. So sorry for your loss and the hurt you and her family are experiencing.
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on Sun 08th Nov, 2020 12:43 am EST Nate said:
It's so wonderful to be reminded of the sheer mountain of joy that Della brought into the world. I would love to read more memories if you care to share.
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on Mon 09th Nov, 2020 12:39 am EST Mindy said:
You know I love you... but, you ARE a total “schmo”... Hell, we all are. None of us deserved her. But please know if you need anything I am here with an open heart and an open mind. No judgement on how you process grief.
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on Thu 12th Nov, 2020 01:14 am EST Anneka said:
❤️💔❤️
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on Tue 17th Nov, 2020 06:43 pm EST pat and carol said:
our hearts break for you as much as it does for each other
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on Mon 23rd Nov, 2020 11:23 pm EST Jessica Lovejoy said:
Thank you for sharing Wren. Love you so much.
Della is in our hearts for always and forever.
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