Sunday, February 28, 2010

Now Open

Dear Ellen

Another Sunday morning with coffee, cat and newspaper spread across the bed, your bathrobe keeping me warm. It was a long night. Some of them are just harder than others. I'll have a good and busy day, but when I come up the stairs into this room, without you here, the feelings catch up with me. There's no escaping them.
I was in shock for the first month, not believing you were really gone, somehow thinking you'd be home soon. Now the reality has set in, now the loss, now the day to day living without your presence. Now the terrible missing you.

Some nights are just harder than others.

I worked all week at getting the gallery ready. I began on Monday, staring at the pile of pedestals and blank walls and thinking I had no idea how to make it all work together. On Tuesday I stared some more. On Wednesday our friend Pam came over and we put the finishing touches on the new wall I helped her build. It was starting to take shape. On Thursday I stopped staring and began moving pedestals around. By Thursday afternoon I had art on the pedestals. On Friday I took the paper off the windows, swept the floor, and unlocked the door. Our gallery is now open. I stood in the middle of it all and cried. How good it felt to realize a dream, how I wished you were with me to celebrate, how joyous and sad all in one big cry.

Two hours later the first customer came in and purchased a large sculpture. After she left, I sat there and started laughing. My dear, you are so busy in Heaven. Just when I felt so alone without you, you reminded me I am not.

Lucky girls we are.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

White Paper

Dear Ellen
Mardi Gras was not the same without you. I went to parades, I spent time with friends, I costumed, sort of, and went to the Quarter for Fat Tuesday, but I don't think it felt real. I stood and watched the St.Ann parade without really being a part of it, which is not an easy thing to do. It was beautiful and colorful and wild as usual, but it was like watching a movie for me. I was afraid to even think about you, knowing the first thought would open me like a river. You loved it all, the crazy freedom of a day devoted to joy and release. Mardi Gras missed you this year.

Strangely, I find things not real and too real.

I wake up in the morning with the day before me like a great sheet of white paper. It can be terrifying or exciting, regardless,it compels me to get out of bed. I spend the day trying to figure out who I am now. It's been so long since I was Cathy Rose, artist, or Cathy Rose, medically uninformed person, or Cathy Rose, normal routine person. The nature of your illness changed every aspect of our daily lives. I don't remember who I was before we were turned upside down, but it dosen't matter because I am no longer that person anyway. I've been changed and now my own skin is no longer familiar or comforting. So, propelled by my fear of being stuck in this purgatory of the unknown I get up each morning to make coffee, feed the cat and figure out who I can be now that I'm no longer me.

The white paper comes with a large eraser, thank heavens.

Sam and I hung the sign for the gallery yesterday. Just another stroke of the pencil on that paper.

Much love,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday morning.

Dear Ellen
Your Saints won the Super Bowl. How did you pull that one off? Even the parade for the players was incredible, the energy and emotions filling the streets of the city.
I could see you, I swear, running after Drew Brees float to catch beads.

The studio/gallery is coming together quickly. I sat there yesterday afternoon, tired, but amazed at how much had been accomplished. The studio is completely put together with all my junque organized, the tools arranged, the brushes and pencils waiting for me. The gallery area is taking shape, I just need to build more pedestals and then the hard part, figuring out where to place and hang the work. How I wish you were here to help put the finishing touches on it all.

It's bittersweet. A week of joys tempered by your absence. So many times this week I turned to you and smiled. So many times I thought of you, knowing how you would have savored every moment. The game, the parades, the people, the gallery, the joy, energy and excitement. This was such an Ellen week, it was everything you loved about life. It was everything I loved about you.

Happy Valentines Day, my love.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baby Steps

Dear Ellen

New Orleans is wild. It is the center of the universe this week and I know you would be loving every minute of the craziness. We finally voted in a mayor who might accomplish something, Mardi Gras is in full swing and the Saints are in the Super Bowl this evening. It's a smorgasborg. I would say I am sad you arn't here to experience it all, but I know you are and I know you probably have something to do with the Saints in the Super Bowl. How else could it happen?

I moved my studio from Orlando to the new studio space this week. The trip to Orlando was good, but hard, as ten hours in my head during the drive was about six hours too long. It was sad in some ways, to pack up the old studio and be at the house, but it felt good knowing I am moving forward. Our little house sits there full of memories, too many memories for me to live with. I knew, I know, I'm making the right choice. New Orleans, it's big old wild self, will help me heal.

The new studio/gallery space seems huge. I love this place, this point in the process where my tools and my wood parts and my paints and all my "junque" are waiting for me. It's the beginning which is wonderful and terrifying at the same time. After the movers left I stood in the middle of crates and boxes and burst into tears, my emotions catching up with the day. As much as I feel you with me, as much as I know you are a part of this, the beginnings are scary without your reassuring smile. I came home afterwards, took a hot bath, got into your old bathrobe, poured a glass of wine and had a long conversation with the cat. It helped.

This is how it will be. Wonderful and scary. Sad and yet hopeful.

Exactly like it's supposed to be.