Friday, June 19, 2015


The crickets (and perhaps the frogs as well) are singing outside the window, the flowers from the Farmer's Market are aglow in the lamp light; I have sorted through the detritus on my work surface and found lost items, baseball game tickets and digital memory cards.

It's quiet and I like it this way.  Nocturnal space to move freely in, explore my thoughts and breathe in the world.

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 remember sitting on the beach with her one night; she was talking about how she had decided not to have children.  She was worried that she was being selfish.  She knew herself, and she knew what she wanted her life to be.  And she didn't let the pressure than women feel to procreate change her vision.  She remained true to herself.  I remember telling her that I wish more women would be so thoughtful in making their decisions to bear children or not.  Selfishness didn't even come into it.  I desperately wanted children, and that was my choice.  I thought her brave.  I still do.  I think she really did have the life she wanted, with the man she wanted, in the city by the bay she wanted.

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.

Momi's Flowers


  1. Both of your photos of Momi are quite moving. I'm remembering the black and white one you posted recently. She radiates joy and affirms life.

    Yes. Flowers are an affirmation during this time when there is so much grieving.

  2. Lot going on this week, and memories are part of it. Flowers remind me of my friend S, who died last year, but she cheered me many a time with some blooms. xoxo

  3. Love and loss are ever-entwined. It is the heartbreak of life and time. I always feel in my deepest heart of hearts that remembering is the true gift of everlasting love.

  4. living well means love, too often loss, this is the heartbreak of life and time. If you are very lucky, remembering is the result, and I do believe that Robin has got it right.

    No one has ever understood the flavor of my photos of children, and stated it so simply and clearly, thank you Tara.

  5. I remember when my in-laws said that was the hard part of living to be old-- all those they knew and had died. I began seeing that in my life when I was in my 20s and beloved relatives died before it was their time. It is life but it isn't the easy part for sure.

  6. A beautiful tribute to M. I truly believe that we must tell the stories of those we have loved to keep them alive in the best impulses of the moments that create our futures and to make clear the infinite poetry of love.

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