Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Weeping Heart

This photo of Lyle and me was taken just last year
on our annual family ski trip to Utah
"There is no death, only a change of worlds."  So said Chief Seattle, senior member of the ancestral Suquamish tribe which lived for 10,000 years across Puget Sound from present-day Seattle, which was named for the early ecologist and statesman.

There’s a hole in my heart today, and I bleed another drop of sorrow with every beat. My best friend, Kari, lost her father Saturday morning, at the start of what was supposed to be a restful vacation on a beach in Florida for Kari and her parents, Joyce and Lyle.  Lyle was 81 and in great health physically and mentally. Gosh, I just skied with him in March.  He can’t be gone!

I haven't been much in the mood for fashion this week.  Lyle has been like a father to me for the past fifteen years, and I know he loved me the way a father loves a daughter. His death was untimely but mercifully quick, the result of a massive brain hemorrhage in the middle of the night.  There is a blessing in the circumstances. Because they were all embarking on their Florida vacation together, Kari was with her parents when her father died, a miracle, really, since she lives in Dallas, Texas, and her parents reside in Spokane, Washington. I am so glad they were able to be together when tragedy struck.

I love how the butterfly hairclip Kari
brought back to me from Singapore
coordinates so beautifully
with jewelry I already owned
My commutes to the Library of Congress this week for research are a good distraction from my sorrow. Today I chose pieces that would envelope me in warm memories of Kari and her family: a sheer summer tunic by Vintage Suzie with a shimmery fuchsia butterfly on the front that was in a box of hand-me-down clothes Kari’s mom sent to me last summer, denim jeggings by HUE that Kari helped me pick out two years ago when I lost 70 pounds and regained my joie de vivre, an iridescent crystal butterfly clip for my hair that Kari brought back to me from Singapore a few months ago, which happens to match perfectly a bracelet and earrings I found at Macy’s last fall, and comfy jute-wedge sandals by Boutique 9 that I bought last May in preparation for a trip to Spokane to celebrate Lyle's 80th birthday.

I am packing now for the journey to Spokane, where I will join Kari and her family in laying her dear father to rest. I’ll write much more about Lyle and his life and many accomplishments in a future post.  Today my inner child is crying too hard to see the keys.

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
-- Rabindranath Tagore

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