Monday, April 12, 2010

"I Held Hands With The Forest Floor"


("The Forest Floor" is from a series of paintings done by Richard while he was in the stroke rehab unit at the Palo Alto VA Hospital between September 2007 and March 21, 2008. He came to be known as "The Artist" on that unit. I said goodbye to him on April 13, 2008, in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. I had traveled from Washington so that I could spend time with him for the previous 4 days. Because of his brainstem stroke in September, he was unable to speak. He would indicate "yes" or "no" by giving the thumbs up or thumbs down sign. The last thing he said to me was "yes" when I asked if he would like me to read my message on a card that I had sent to him in March and which had just arrived in his M.I.C.U. room. During those 4 days, he indicated to his doctor and his sister that he wished to be taken off of life support. We needed to say goodbye. His doctor said that he had waited for me to come and say goodbye. He slipped into a coma on April 14, 2008, and died on April 20, 2008, with his sister and her Vietnam veteran boyfriend and Chaplain Virginia Jackson at his bedside.)

(1950, 1965, 1987)

"There is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness too great to be lessened."
(from Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses)


robin andrea said...

It is really lovely to see his face, the face that has been your constant love for so long.

bev said...

am - so good that you have Richard's painting. Works by our own hands provide such a strong connection between people, places and moments in time. I liked seeing Richard at three ages. The music that you linked to is very beautiful and unlike anything I can recall being performed on a guitar.

am said...

robin andrea -- When I posted that photo, I couldn't remember if I had posted it before. What really surprises me is how young we were when we met in 1966. In some ways, I felt old in 1966.

bev -- Richard's sister and extended family have some of Richard's paintings from his earlier years. I hope to see all of those paintings some day.

And I continue to be amazed at what can be found on YouTube by typing in a few words like "forest floor."