Celebration of Life

JohnP
This Saturday I will be attending the celebration of life for my college friend John, who lost a long battle with cancer this January. He was a vegetarian most of his life, didn’t drink or smoke, and was never sick a day in his life until this. I miss him, his witty comebacks, and his great advice, but I know that he has passed on to another plane of existence.

John was an audio engineer and eventually had his own company designing and building audio consoles for music performance in concert halls and other venues worldwide. John loved to work and he worked almost to the end, with his laptop, iPad, and iPhone going with him for the hospital stays. Work was his whole reason for living, which some people didn’t understand. I remember one summer visiting him at the beach house in East Haven, sitting on a milk crate crocheting a shawl in the electronics lab in the beach house while he soldered little parts to electronics boards. I was fascinated!

After Allen & Heath moved out of Connecticut, John went to work for Crest Audio and he commuted from the beach house in Connecticut to New Jersey for a long while, sometimes sleeping in his chair at work, but he eventually moved to New Jersey and settled there. The beach house was hard to give up, and part of him will always be there at that beach, setting off bottle rockets on the 4th of July or entertaining nieces, nephews, or my kids. John never had children of his own but he had his own toy box stocked full with fun toys. I have several containers of sea glass from that beach as I used to visit quite often that summer when I was out of work on disability. John made that difficult time much better for me.

John was one of my closest friends, if not my closest friend. John was very private and didn’t get close to people, but I never had a problem with that. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that I can’t call him anymore and hear his voice on the phone. He would listen as I rambled on trying to make sense of things, offering insight and helping me to sort through things. His last piece of advice in December was… “Don’t wait until everything is in place. Start now and do what you can, do a little bit at a time.” I am doing just as he said. He is truly a celebration of life.

Ordinary Times and Favorite Things

friday table

This is what my table looked like on Friday night and it made me so happy. It was the end of another long work week and time for me to do what I want to do, not be pulled this way and that by the incessant demands of others. Sometimes I just want to be left alone in my solitude and listen to the silence that brings peace and a closeness to what is real. I gathered together some ordinary and favorite things that had meaning for me…

the new issue of Bella Grace that came in the mail today… I am awed and humbled that I will be published in the next issue of this inspirational magazine… the supermarket flowers that I bought for myself last weekend… the Pelikan opaque watercolor paints, masking fluid and calligraphy pen nibs that I ordered after hearing artist Lisa Bell talk about her work at my art association meeting…

the bottle of Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 I had been saving for someone special but I decided that now is special… the surprise quilt I am making for someone who is going to be delighted when she sees it… the store bought guacamole because I was too tired to make my own fresh batch…the waning light of day filtering gently through the window.

I am floating through my weekend without a plan although I will admit to making lists of choices. I had another pajama day today which is getting to be a regular thing for me. More on that in the summer issue of Bella Grace. I made beef stew in the crock pot all day (2 cups of the wine went in there and the stew came out heavenly) while I did ordinary things like 3 loads of laundry, pay bills, change the sheets on my vintage maple 4 poster bed, worked on the surprise quilt, and finished the PDF directions for the quilting class I am teaching in a few weeks at the quilt retreat.