Sunday, July 25, 2010


Dear Ellen

Sunday morning again. Rainy. Perfect for staying home with a cup of coffee, the newspaper, and a large cat who is put out with me because it was also a good morning to sleep an extra hour and delay her precise feeding time. It was an unacceptable mistake which has been noted and filed away in her feline memory along with the others. She now stares at me from the foot of the bed, utter contempt registered on her face. What a wonderful little companion she has become for me. She was so much your cat and such a sweet comfort to you, but I think she has learned to tolerate me as best she can. I will keep my expectations low.

I have had the most amazing dreams about you the past two nights. First, I dreamt we were in a boat, like a small fishing boat. You weren't feeling well and getting tired, but the river we traveled was so beautiful and you were happy to feel the wind on your face. There was no motor, but we moved swiftly across the water as though we were flying. It seemed I was trying to get you to a destination, but I had no idea where it was. I'm making canoe shapes in the studio, maybe the dream began there. This morning, the dream I had was more intense. I was standing at the sink in our bathroom, staring at the strands of your hair which are lying there. I noticed there was a new hair added to the others. I sensed you behind me and felt your arms go around me in a warm embrace. It felt as though you moved into my body. It was disturbing, but comforting. You whispered into my left ear that you would always be with me. It seemed I was awake and yet dreaming at the same time. I couldn't differentiate between what was real and what was the dream, but it absolutely felt safe and good. Physically, it was an odd sensation which woke me up.
I stayed still for several minutes thinking about the dream, but the feeling was one of contentment, not sadness or fear.

I don't know what the dream meant. All I know it that for the first time in many months of wishing I just had a minute of having you back, I did.

I don't know much about how the mind works with the heart and what it all means. I'm thinking I'm not supposed to. I'm thinking the cat knows, but she's not telling me. I'm thinking the sun has just come out and a bike ride around the park sounds good.

Thanks for the visit.
I love you,

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Dear Ellen

I think not having the stress of a house in Orlando has been good for me. I seem to have more time and energy to focus elsewhere. I feel more relaxed inside my skin.
In the studio, I'm finding more of my creative self coming back, which is a welcome change. I knew this would come back, I knew my emotional self would work it's way through my art, but I wasn't expecting such an avalanche of new ideas coming into my head. The hard part is now patiently working my way through the process of making them into sculptures. Or maybe this is really the fun part. I do know I feel excited about my work again and this is a good thing.

I've started going through some of your things. Just a little bit at a time. Sort of testing the waters with crates of medical records and insurance papers before I move on to more scary places. I threw away every last piece of paper related to your illness. I didn't realize how angry I was until I started stuffing them in a trash bag. Damn, damn cancer and all we have lost to it. It was easy to let go of a pile of papers that represented a nightmare. However,going through your clothes and personal papers may require a sturdy heart and a long afternoon. I don't think I'm there quite yet, but maybe I'm getting closer. At least I don't get such a stabbing feeling when I open the wrong drawer and see your pajamas in a neat little pile. It's more of a dull thud and an small smile to remember you in pink pajamas.
It's small, but it's progress. Grief is an incredibly exhausting process of very small steps, but I do see a small ray of light at the very end of the tunnel.

I miss you

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th

Dear Ellen
I've been riding my bike every morning. Up early to beat the heat, I ride down the newly paved streets and around the park. It feels good to get up and start my morning this way and the routine of some exercise feels comfortable again. The rides have become my time for reflection and morning conversation with you. A time for clearing my mind and figuring out my directions for the day. I know it sounds odd, but I swear I can hear your voice in my head, reminding me, guiding me. On Tuesday, halfway around the park, it began to rain. A nice, soft warm rain. I knew it was you. It was such a comforting feeling to have the rain surround me as a I rode home. It's small things, subtle gestures which remind me you are still with me in many ways. It can be sunlight coming through the window, the memory a photograph brings, a song I hear, or a soft summer rain. I know you're not here, but the quiet thoughts, the awareness of them, keep you with me and bring me comfort.

Our house in Orlando finally went to closing this week. It created a strange mixture of emotions for me, but I know it was the right thing to do. Many thoughts and memories of our time there came back to me. It was a house where much sadness related to your illness happened, but it was a home where we both felt safe too. Most clearly I can remember you, wrapped in your red bathrobe, sliding into the breakfast nook each morning. I remember long Spring evenings on the front porch, watching the world pass by. A cozy bedroom where you would be found reading or taking naps. A home where our relationship, though stressed by illness, became stronger and deeper. Those are the memories I want to bring with me now. It's a relief to let go of the house, but I'll hold on to the memories of home.

I guess it's been a mixture of many thoughts and emotions this past week. I'm reminded by the strength of your presence, I'm reminded by the power in letting go. It's been six months today since you left here. I wish I could say it's getting easier, but mostly I can say it's getting different. I'm slowly healing, slowly becoming more aware of the world around me, slowly crawling back into my own skin. I know you were worried about me, afraid for me, but sweet Ellen I'm slowly finding my way.

I think it's still cool enough for me to take a morning ride.
much love,