In Mexico, where we were when we received the news of my brother-in-law Doug’s tragic and incredibly premature passing, there are underground systems of tunnels that include deep pools of green water called cenotes.
The water is cool and clear. It seems bottomless and endless. They call it sweet water. It is fresh and beautiful.
And that is what Doug was to my sister and her life. Sweet water.
He poured himself into her and brought her back to life. He quenched her thirst. Their love for each other flowed back and forth, obvious to anyone who came across them.
My sister’s cup overflowed.
They made each other deeply and truly happy. Sometimes, they made the rest of us queasy with all their googley eyes and pet names and all that winking.
Those of you who knew Doug before Miriam, and those of us who knew Miriam before Doug, couldn’t help but be happy along with them, that these two had found each other at last.
Doug entered our family with open arms and an open heart. He called me Sis. My children began to call him Uncle. And they meant it. My husband called him friend. My parents called him son.
The Durlings will miss Doug Cleough.
He fit in perfectly.
A man’s man unafraid to name the Wilderness Family as one of his favourite movies.
A guy who loved to talk and laugh and joke and could meet a loving barb with a quick one of his own. A helper. A shirt off his back kind of guy. A man who clearly treasured his own mother and father, his sister and her children.
But what our family treasured the most about Doug, was how much he treasured Miriam. We thank him for that.
His devotion to his own family, to his new family, and to his family of friends and co- workers are all evidence of a life well-lived. And a man well-loved. He leaves a strong legacy. Others have lived much longer and accomplished much less.