28 November 2013
I have known her for almost as long as I have known my husband. I'm sure she wouldn't remember, but we did two art fairs together back in the 70s. I have bought her beautiful creations on a regular basis for over forty years, and my family treasures them. We are native north westerners. We share a visual sensibility. We are about the same age. We have children of the same age. More remarkable, we each have a granddaughter named Ruby.
Despite these points of connection, I have not actually seen her in several years, maybe not even in the past decade. We have never shared a meal and when I've seen her it was at art fairs, not in her home or my own. I am not certain we would recognize one another on the street. Still, I think of her as a friend, though I only email her once a year.
And a few weeks ago her husband died.
She emailed me the news last night in response to my message, and since finding the message this morning I cannot stop crying. My sorrow is mostly selfish, of course, because though I cannot truly imagine it, I feel the sharp edges of her terrible loss.
Her family is with her, her granddaughter, her jewel, gives her kisses, and she is not alone, though that must be what she feels sometimes these days. Her grief is private and not mine to share.
Today I am thankful for the many people I love, for what they have shared with me, for their love, and the goodness I have learned from them. I am thankful for the dawn rising in the east and the glory of the ocean, and for my husband. I am also grateful to this woman whom I cannot say I know, but to whom I am thankful for the beauty she's brought to my life, and for this reminder to notice.