Thursday, September 10, 2009


The word thread can refer to so many things, my head is swimming with this thought. I work hard at teaching, at my craft, at parenting, at being a spouse, at working out, at writing and of course at personal relationships. My thoughts wondered a bit regarding all those things today. I am drawn to three thoughts that have stayed fresh in my mind: 1. I kept trying to remind myself that I need to call Roseanne to see if she needed anything, 2. I had talked to my students about my friend Lovey, and how she felt I needed to have a gift of a book about the Tukilitt stone sculptures of the Arctic, and 3. my fascination with death.

Now I know what you are thinking about that last thought, but I found myself on two separate occasions today thinking in circles about death. After school, I left school for a ride, it was overcast and the wind was picking up, blowing off the water. The only reason I knew it was coming off the water was that I could smell the salt and the tide, one of those things I find extremely comforting. I kept wondering if I was going to be rained on, but it held out. I really didn't want to ride today. It took every stitch of my being to be anywhere away from my studio. I rode knowing that I didn't want to be bored. My bike took me in new directions in New Canaan and Darien this afternoon. I did not particularly care where I ended up, I was just trying to find new and interesting things to look at. I came across two old cemeteries and found myself wondering why I have found them so intriguing this summer. This was more than a ponder. It was really bothering me. Every single OLD cemetery I rode by this summer I found myself wondering about who the people were that were buried there. What was their life like? Today was not any different other than I had this thought that they were laughing at me, working so hard at something so trivial as if it were so important. I found that I was getting annoyed with that thought, as I knew I was doing this to help keep myself out of that pine box.

Later, as I was reflecting about the conversation about the Tukiliit, I started to think about other Art Historical references I have used in my work that were similar to these sculptures. I found myself thinking about some research I had done on pilgrim flasks. I thought long and hard about their possible uses, which were mostly funerary from what I learned in grad school. This thought had me thinking about the Mid-East and the saturation of religion, wars, and death.

So why am I writing all this, because just as I was thinking that last thought Kenny called me to tell me that my Uncle John had passed away. This man meant so much to me growing up. He was the one brother that my father had that made the perfect mediator between a drunk and an adolescent. He understood that my father's drinking problem had so many facets to it, and that it affected so much more than his health. It affected his family. I loved all my father's siblings for many different reasons, but this was the one special reason I had for loving him. He understood that my brother and I were hurting.

I remember one time when I was about fourteen, he took me fishing. We stopped on the way to get corn, potatoes and the fixings for salad. He was so sure we would catch something but there was a package of hot dogs just in case. We did catch something, and he made such a big deal about it. We decided to spare the fish its life and made hot dogs instead.

When I got married, the whole family embraced my husband, but he was the only one who treated Kenny like he had been part of the family forever. To him, Kenny wasn't Jewish, he wasn't a kid that had kids, he was his was the love of his niece's life so therefore he was as important as she was. Kenny was so sad today when Jimmy called. When I told him that I feel like my dad died all over again, he acknowledged with "I know what you mean".

So as I sit here fighting back tears, thinking about life, I know that I am who I am today because I had someone like my uncle to see to it that my life had at least a little thread of normal whenever he saw me.


Mike M said...

My sympathies are with you. Reading the thread made me sad until I realized you were celebrating life. Be well.

Lovey said...

My dear friend

It's so wonderful to hear you reflect on unconditional love and a sense of belonging. The joy you experienced under the care and tutelage of your uncle, will forever influence every aspect of your life. Sometimes we are blessed by amazing people who touch us in ways that are as spiritual as they are emotional and physical. I grieve your loss with you, but at the same time celebrate the joy of self discovery and reflection.

Life Observer said...

We just shared stories of family and your Uncle was center stage in your story and it seems you were center stage in his as well. I'm sorry to hear about his passing.