My heart is heavy tonight for my artist-friend – we joke, “my Leo brother” – Patricio Gustavo Calderon. His mother left us last night for the world of Spirit. At least he was in Equador with her. The moment may affect me so because I remember my feelings at losses of my own.
People rise to the occasion of losing a mother possibly more than any other loss. I found it truly exceptional how many people, even ones I didn’t know well, reached out to me within the week of my mother’s passing. Among the hundreds of messages and notes, one surely stands out, from another artist-friend, William L Parsons. “When we were little kids, we were told this day was coming,” his voicemail commenced. For some reason I found that and the rest of his words to be the most sensible and comforting of the lot. He put the moment into the cycle of life, of the world. It was as it had to be.
I feel like I’ve been through it, oddly, twice. An only child, I was basically brought up with my parents and my dad’s mother, the unforgettable Mabel Winfield. (“She was the grandmother every kid should have had,” said someone who knew her.) I felt like I had two mothers. My dad passed away unexpectedly, leaving me with the trust of the pair. Watching them fail across a ten year span was stressful. Hospital stays, emergency room visits… They seemed legion, and I struggled with them. I couldn’t see the brightness of these two long, comfortable lives as the buildup to the climax of a beloved play. I could see nothing but the misery of the decline.
I remember feeling for them especially during the hard Western New York winters. I always thought that if I could emotionally and medically get them through to the first bright week of spring that they would have the energy to make it through another sunny cycle, and that I need not worry about them until the grim times came again. To lose one of them as the light was returning, in April, seemed unthinkable.
That time of loss has come for Patricio, whom I leave with a couple of lines from Shakespeare\’s third sonnet:
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
Con Dios, Patricio. She was with you at your first breath, and she walks with you now in a different form until you take your last. I know she was proud of you. And she was beautiful. Remember your American friends from a pair of golden times.