A weary week of heat, and memories of lost ones. Both weighed heavily on me. News that another former colleague and friend is seriously ill, gets me to counting the number of friends and family I have lost. Seriously? Yeah. What person in her right mind does this?
A former and still beloved Father In Law to one of my sisters has died after elective surgery. Sudden and so unexpected.
My husband is re-printing some photos of deathly ill children he made when he was a pediatrician. The look in some of their eyes is haunting. They are tired, and they are sick. Their families invited S. to photograph them, so close he was to their suffering and their lives, what little of it was left. Some made it through. Many did not. He captured their experiences in the hospital, living with tubes and monitors and surgical scars and wrinkled sheets that spoke of their restlessness.
I know I have to keep remembering the good. It's the only way. So when I clean up my work area, the place where I get to play with my photographs and writings, I affirm that there is worth in this life. I place the flowers there in further demonstration.
Flowers. Life affirming. I remember well the weekly trips to the flower market in San Francisco that my friend M. made. Each week she put fresh flowers about, in artful designs that affirmed delight in beauty for beauty's sake. For years, Spider Mums were her cherished choice. Then it was Irises. I thought of her when I bought my flowers this week. I thought about what a joyful life she had. She was a creative soul through and through. She possessed an old-world elegance with a very modern sensibility. She welcomed her friends with wide opened arms and, it seems to me, lived her life better than most do.
I was in San Francisco last week, and I entered across the Bay Bridge, longing to see her and knowing that she is now gone forever. Whenever I've gone to that city I think of her. She and that place are resolutely married in my mind. One does not exist without the other. Except that, of course, now it does. An incalculable loneliness has settled in to my heart.