She wasn’t much when I met her, to be honest. Sort of homely, but I loved her right away. She had a special spirit.

I said goodbye to her a few days ago.

Well, I thought I did.

I’d known her for about 15 years, more than a third of my life. She’d sheltered me from many a storm and I think I did the same for her. After a couple of years together I helped her reinvent herself. She was already beautiful, though.

We had so many incredible moments together.

She was there when great artists I respected became friends.

She was there for family dinners, Sunday football games, surf checks, recording sessions with Jon Foreman, Jack Tempchin, Sean and Sara Watkins, Jordan Pundik, Shawn Mullins, Keith Scott… too many more to remember at this late hour.

She was there when Stella came to live with us.

She was there when Kona died.

She was there when I wrote my first book and produced my first album.

I had so many memories with her that it’s hard to write them all down. Because even the quiet moments, the ones that don’t look like anything to the outside world… with her, they mattered.

We all got together to say goodbye to her, everybody who she’d made an imprint on. They kissed her, put their arms around her the best they could, said thank you. Jack sat down on the old couch and sang a song to her, the most beautiful tribute. She deserved it.

And when everybody left, I went back inside to say my own goodbye. I told her how much I loved her, how thankful I was to have known her, how sorry I was that this was the end.

I cried, and I think she did too.

It was hard to tell.

As I drove away, another song I wrote with her and Jack drifted through the salt air and landed in my heart.

And I realized I had it all wrong. The goodbye part. All wrong.

There’s no goodbye / There’s no farewell / That’s the way it’s meant to be far as I can tell / Though we may never meet again / There’s no end to our road as friends

Because the things we did together / Gonna make us live forever / You and I There’s no farewell for you and I / There’s no farewell

There’s no goodbye

Amen.