I rarely listen to CBC but today I felt compelled to spin the dial away from Radio Classique. As I tuned in, Sarah Slean was being introduced. She opened her set with a live rendition of a song called "The Right Words" off her latest album. Never a big fan, I hadn't heard her in years but something told me to stay close. Headphones. I listened and wept and wept. My planned breakfast date slipping through cracks, I listened thirty more times.
Dear Auntie Marj, you have been gone for one year now. How can this be? In the wake of sadness, your loved ones have been left wondering how the hell we are supposed to operate in this lifetime without your unbridled laughter, crazy stories and deep love for all. I don't even know how to pen the depth of loss and have questioned the validity of this place for months. I honestly do not know how your husband children get out of bed each day.
Your children--the cousins I grew up shit disturbing with--have wowed me over and over with their incredible strength and compassion for others, despite the obvious right to curl up and turn inwards with grief over the loss of their mom. I have no doubt you are fiercely proud. Life continues, somehow. Babies grow, more people pass along to the other side. Your legacy glows on, fanned by mass missing.
Sometimes I am mad that you are gone, that you haven't held Kate's Romeo yet or Sara's first baby, that you won't laugh into the camera on my own wedding day as I have watched you do so many times. Anger doesn't resolve sadness, this I know. All one can do to honor such loss with deep Love. Today I am honoring you with a cup of coffee, a candle, with CBC and a song that went straight to heart, with a walk in a warm coat, and with laughter even though I would rather cry in bed all damn day.
I haven't picked up my camera in weeks. School assignments, whatever. I never shoot unless my heart is involved, this is something I have learned from watching you. As a small girl I would watch you move around rooms in church basements, parks or wherever--leading with your Nikon--asking permission without words sometimes, capturing faces that others wouldn't dare to, laughing all the way. You shot with ease, passion and conviction. It was so plain to see people relax into the true essence of their character in front of your camera, truth and trust in portraits. I miss watching you shoot and hearing stories of your various assignments, disaster weddings, barfing brides, babies babies babies. God I miss you. You continue to be a mentor in memory. Even after death, you inspire me to LISTEN, to ask hard questions, to laugh and charm my way beyond barriers, the importance of sharing stories, to trust in my guts and to use my camera as a way to relax people and in this unveil individual stories others might miss.
You are one hell of a woman. I weep alongside so many others for you today, tomorrow, always.
I love you so much, God rest you woman.