|art retreat with ms annie|
|just over a year ago|
Tonight I miss her. So I'm writing her a letter. Since I can't give it to her directly, I give it to you. Maybe you'll write your own grief love letter, or make a remembrance altar. Let us acknowledge our loves and our losses.
Dearest Sweet Annie:
|on the river|
I try most of all to remember how you kept your heart open. You died way too young, but you stayed young in the most remarkable way throughout your life. You were playful, active, curious. You stayed in that space even as you were dying. I know you way outlived your disease, and I know from our conversation that some of this was in service to others. Dis-ease doesn't even seem a word to associate with you, because you were graceful in life and in dying. Not just graceful-- lively. How to reconcile that life-force you showed those weeks before dying with an actual death?
|circus annie, art retreat|
November is a mixy month for me. My birthday occurs less than one week after and one week before your death and that of my father. I've always seen birthdays as an invitation to reflect on life. Your death and his added a new layer to that. I remember we are mortal, and that days count. I now try to add your eyes and his to my way of seeing the world. Like Ansel, who you knew only from my tales of him, I remember I don't have time for novels anymore. I try to pay attention to the stories.
From a poem he wrote:
He used a tool
and dug in deep
to leave a mark
that would last longer than
|annie, smiling and centered|
Wherever you are now, thank you for stopping here, and for changing many of us for the better along the way.
With platesful of Big Love for you, and for your boys S, E, M.
For Annie, who always wore green -------- I may never see green again without thinking of you and the full-on way you greeted the world. Your laugh, that strut, the baton twirl of your smile. I may never think of death again without thinking of you. The full on way you greeted your fate; maybe not at first, but when the going got real, how you grabbed that train,
saw it as some grand adventure. pretty much the way you'd see anything as seemingly small as a walk on the beach. I may never walk on the beach
without thinking of you, and that day when you were six weeks on the other side, when you weren't so sure of it, stuck between your curiosity and acceptance and your sense of responsibility to those you loved you were leaving behind. deciding it was ok for you to full on go, to go full on, to that other side. I may never think of you, and the full on way you loved the world that loved you back,
without thinking of the full on way you held life in your hands like a most curious child, a child with a treasure intriguing, and frightening and wondrous.
all we could do was step back
in wonder in your full-on grace.