I know there’s a bright side of the road—I can see it and sometimes even reach it briefly.  Utilizing the amazing skills of resilience that I learned from my late husband, guitarist Pete Huttlinger, I am working through the grief of losing him.

Channeling Pete

Channeling Pete

I’m shy–Pete was absolutely the opposite.

I think I’m invisible–Pete couldn’t be invisible.

I like being in the background (the WAY background)–Pete loved being on stage.

I like a small group of people–for Pete, the more the merrier.  

This was first, and most perfectly illustrated at our wedding.  We were married under a big white tent in our back yard.  I used to joke that there were more people at my wedding who I didn’t know than I did.  I joke, but it was true.  So many of Pete’s family members flew in from all around the country–most of them I’d never met before, and some probably didn’t even know I existed.  It was one of the best days of my life.

Pete and I were 100% compatible, but our outer selves were distinctly opposite.

Lately, something weird is happening.  Pete must be here somewhere.  Our souls had merged many years ago, but now our whole selves seem to have fused.

Here’s the evidence:

I’ve lost most of my fear of public speaking.  It hasn’t been tested very much, but I believe it to be true.  Not only have I lost the fear but I eagerly anticipate the next opportunity.  WHAT? I was the kid who would throw up before a book report–for a book I actually read and understood.  I’m the person who had to rehearse my presentations for the corporate job I held for 11 years.  I’m the person who had to psych myself up just to converse with a large group of houseguests.  Not anymore!

Here’s another way I know Pete has melded with me.  I’ve taken in a German exchange student for the summer. Pete always wanted to do that.  He was of German descent.  Schwabach, Germany to be exact.  In 2009, Pete went to this home of his ancestors.  He was given the keys to the city by the Burgermeister and shown the old Huttlinger factory, which is now the Huttlinger Mall.  He performed, which I’m sure was his favorite part.  After that trip he always wanted to have a German exchange student in our home.  Back then however, it was always a high–school student who needed a place to stay.  I had to explain to him why we could not take in a young person and then leave on tour for 6 weeks.  Not gonna’ happen.  But a few weeks ago our friends Richard Smith and Julie Adams, great musicians in their own right, mentioned that a Belmont University guitar student from Germany needed a room for the summer.  I thought WWPD? (What Would Pete Do?) By gosh he wouldn’t hesitate a minute, and neither did I.  Now I have someone in our home who Pete would have LOVED, and I’ve asked her to play some of Pete’s guitars because they NEED to be played, and she’s a wonderful player.  I’m grateful already.

I love the outdoors, but Pete LOVED the outdoors.  Now I appreciate it even more.  I love the sun on my face, the cold, the rain, the breeze.  I step outside every morning, no matter the weather, and I say out loud, “What a beautiful day!” with a huge emphasis on beautiful.  That’s how Pete would say it.  It would always make me grin to myself because he would say it as if he was surprised–like it was the first beautiful day he’d seen in his life.

I’m not sure if Pete has actually inhabited my body, or if I’m so weary that I’ve let down all of my normal defenses and fears.  Either way, I’m more Pete than Erin these days–and I like that a lot.

Have you picked up any traits from someone important to you?  I look forward to reading your comments below.

The Fog

The Fog

Rose & Jack

Rose & Jack