Another week, another grief. Truly, I know that life is made up of losses. I also know that as you age the losses come more frequently. I just didn’t think I was that old, yet.
Three years ago, one of my closest friends died. While she was over 20 years older than me, we had a special kinship not unlike sisters. We met in college studying art together. A friendship was forged and for the next 30 years we traveled together, studied together, painted together and delivered art and hung shows together. Our families meshed as we shared laughter and tears. When she died, it was a serious blow but her husband and children were still part of my life. We grieved together, and did our best to move forward.
Early Tuesday morning her husband and our friend Don passed away. It was a bit of a shock because although he’d been hospitalized the doctors had told him they’d be re-evaluating his progress in a month to see if he should go into assisted living or be able to return home with help. Our visits were filled with great conversation and laughter and I was able to catch up with his out of town children. Mike and I visited Sunday afternoon with plans to be back later in the week. Less than 48 hours later he was gone.
While I deeply grieve the loss of Don, it also brings back the loss of Jan. I’m grieving losing her all over again. Don is gone, the house is being emptied and will be sold. I have tons of wonderful memories in that house, in her studio. Every inch of that house was imprinted with Jan and Don’s creativity and art. She did mostly watercolor and after Don retired from his career as a metallurgical/purchasing engineer in the auto industry, enlarged his photography into a second career. He has a lovely book of photos of the Pacific Northwest that you can look at here: http://www.blurb.com/b/168800-the-pacific-northwest
Two mornings ago, I woke up in the wee hours with a start. “I’ll buy the house,” I thought. “It’s a wonderful house. It’s got all those memories and connections, I can have my studio where her studio was…I can hold onto them.” In the cold, clear light of day I realized that wasn’t realistic. The only reason I ever went to that town was to visit them. I have no other reason to live there. I don’t know anyone and really don’t want to leave my neighborhood and my city. I have to let it go.
Cue the theme from Frozen. Let it go. Let it go. Easier said than done.
Here come the tears again.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.