Charles, my husband and collaborator for most of the past decade, died on December 9th.

It was peaceful; he can rest now. Charles told me, more than once, what he wanted his epitaph to be, and I think he’d like that I’m sharing it now: “Here lies Charles Rieser. He threw ice at the clouds.”

That cracked me up. Charles and his genuinely mighty brain had a knack for one-liners that made me laugh really hard. I used to keep a pen and pad in every room to be able to capture these “Charlesisms” whenever they landed. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Apparently, our air comes with conditions.”
“My next dog will be named Fetch.”
“Republicans will drive a long way for cheaper gas.”
“Perfection isn’t a fixed point in space or time. And it’s boring.”
“Those deer won’t shoot themselves.”

That last one ended up in a song on the last record he made for me. He insisted on a co-write; that was fine by me. After all, we met making a record, and we fell in love. We married, we traveled when we could, made two more records, adopted an excellent dog, and did the best we were each able to do, until we couldn’t do it anymore.

Music was his only calling and truest passion. He was a phenomenal guitarist, and (his lead work aside), I have yet to see anyone play rhythm guitar as well as he could in this town. Ever. I swear there were no bones in his right wrist.

Charles was an atheist, but I still like to think he found his way to wherever Miles Davis and Coleman Hawkins are having their jam session right now. I hope he sat the fuck down to play. He earned his seat at the table.

There’s one more Charlesism to share, one line he said often: “The inevitable has a funny way of happening.” Charles had been in poor health for several years. So he left us today, way too early, but it was quiet and peaceful.

He was my greatest love. I don’t know when I won’t miss him. There just aren’t any words for that.