After sitting and practicing mindfulness, and focusing on simply resting with the breath, I contemplated the Screen Memory image from last week. My friend loved flowers, especially tulips in the spring…pinks, purples, blues and reds. Recalling favorite moments brings forward my warmth and caring for her.
She was the one who always had my back no matter what. For thirty years we have shared our heart secrets, worked out together, and played together. A week of theater and art galleries in London. Watching the Perseid showers on the gulf islands. Protesting and walking for peace. Planning and facilitating workshops for survivors, their families and professionals. Photographing each other. Trusting her with my son, and with my family. Dinners and holidays and endless cups of tea.
As As I choose colors and begin to paint, I realize again that she never got to retire in her own manner. She simply had to let go. I remember I nominated her for a woman of the year award. Now she can not remember her work at all. The loss I feel at losing the rich complexity of our friendship is but an echo of her losses. Her social activism has dropped away to reveal the underground stream of openness and warmth that fed her political vision and her belief. She seems to be gone, though her spirit is still alive. Poignant and penetrating, memories rise and fall during the art making. There is a physical release as I honor us, and an acknowledgement of the changes. Tears and gratitude co-mingle. The direct contact with the paints and paper moves me closer to sadness. While my friend is still alive, our mutual loss is deep. The confusion I feel when I am with her has melted. I know her and love her both for who she was and who she is now. The watercolors are both soft and nurturing, and they express the joy of being.
The exploration continues next week.