Saturday, September 20, 2008


After RTN experienced a brainstem stroke in September of 2007, he was in a coma for two weeks. When he came out of the coma, he was unable to speak or walk and was transferred to the stroke rehabilitation unit of the VA hospital. During that time he painted this mysterious image on canvas and titled it "Plant My Heart." His painting was displayed at the VA hospital. I was not aware that he had had a stroke until the end of December. We had been out of touch since 2003. His sister had lost my phone number, home address and email address. After I sent her a winter holidays card, I got a card letting me know about RTN's stroke.

His sister and brother-in-law shipped me this painting after RTN died five months ago. They sent me RTN's wooden easel and art supplies as well.

On first viewing, I saw a Northern California coastal landscape and a heart. Then I began to see a woman. A friend pointed out a much smaller woman with reddish hair in the upper left hand side of the canvas. When I was young, my hair was red. She appears to be sitting down with her legs crossed. Does anyone see anything else? I look often at the painting and wonder. Final gifts. I am grateful that I was able to spend time with him in the intensive care unit for four days in the week before he died. I miss him. All that remained unresolved between us seemed to be resolved in his last days.

When I went walking in the rain today in Whatcom Falls Park, I saw lots of red leaves and remembered how much RTN loved the colors of the leaves in the fall,

and I saw this, which I believe is an Amanita formosa.

No comments: