For many years, no one I knew well, no one in my immediate family, died. I was frightened that one day someone would die, and I would not know what to say or do. Finally, the time came, and my mother-in-law, my parents, a good friend, my adult son, and a 19-year-old dog died in the space of seven years. I learned what it was to grieve, why it was okay that I had not known how I would feel. It is always painful and sorrowful. It fades to a dull ache over time, though it never leaves completely. Since then there have been more deaths, and I have come to view them philosophically as a simple change in form.
When she was alive, my mother painted our apple tree, which was old, and had lost most of its limbs, when it was blooming. My sister Robyn has that painting. Today I did this diptych of some trees in our neighborhood, near the bayou, and it is very reminiscent of Mom's painting of the apple tree. I remember my loved ones and beloved dogs, and I hope they have gone on to something new, an adventure, a new form. Each person and pet gave me so much. I am deeply grateful to them for being part of my life.