“All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allan Poe 

In a previous post, “No Recipe”, I wrote about a neighbour (whom I did not name) in our building who asked me a very important question, the question was, “Why”? At the time, news of her illness from ovarian cancer was too new and raw for me to share, I also wanted to respect her privacy while she fought this very personal battle, a battle that she recently lost. Her question, “Why?” was asked because I had just entered the calmer waters of 2 post surgeries for ovarian cancer myself and might have an answer for her. It came about after a family member asked her if she had somehow brought this illness upon herself, perhaps by not eating right or not living a more healthy lifestyle. As a three year cancer survivor at the time of our conversation I was able to say with confidence that there is “no recipe”, we are born into this world carrying the mystery of our genetic heritage, to begin the journey that will shape us through the choices we make, be that for french fries or a green salad. When Julie heard those words, “there is no recipe”, her face lit up – she was free from blame and we could talk about how afraid her family member must be, afraid of losing her or perhaps having this disease touch them as well.

Julie is gone now, the tangible edges of her life that touched mine through her hugs and tears are now becoming memories. We are like sidewalk chalk art on this earth, we are seen and touched in brief moments, as time marches on and leaves its mark, our edges begin to fade and those edges become harder to hang on to. It is memories that hold our shapes, Julie was very brave and I will always see her smiling face. We both hoped that she would win the battle…

In Mexico, I chased tangible edges daily, each time I left our apartment, I would go happily into the wild no matter how many times we traveled to or lived there. We would leave the world of dreams (fed to us through media, magazines or TV) and be able to solidify our chalkboard selves inside this very alive country. We are meant to leave traces of ourselves here, so everyone, chalk on!

E-Mail to Huguette: January 13, 2005

hola to you both (huguette & my dad), i’m hoping the snowy weather in vancouver is keeping you refreshed. i found a mexican word to describe what we are dealing with here in this hot and humid place-el polvo-it means, the dust-i hope i remembered the correct spelling-this dust coats our skin, hair and clothes! a rain or some snow sounds very refreshing! we cannot remember this many days in vallarta without rain and it’s an el nino year!

I’m adding something new periodically at the end of each post for this brand new year, it’s a chance to share more of my thoughts, it’s called  The List”, I hope you’ll enjoy it!

The List 

1) Pick up a hot chocolate from Milano’s Coffee Bar & head to Beach Ave. at the entrance to Stanley Park to see the yellow daffodils that are blooming in January

 2) Smile at someone new, especially if they are walking an interesting dog

3) Share a friendly moment or two with a fellow writer @ Denman & Haro Sts.

 4) Buy a South African bottle of red to celebrate Julie’s life and mine

5) Light more candles

Chalk Art in the Zocolo, P.V.

Chalk Art in the Zocolo, P.V.


About anotetohuguette

I'm currently blogging from the beautiful West Coast city of Vancouver, British Columbia - a vibrant city by the sea, surrounded by mountains and a very unique urban forest.
This entry was posted in blog, journaling, life, memoir, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Tangible

  1. dm gillis says:

    Very nice, very personal. An honour to read. Catch up to me on Twitter, @dmgillis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AgingGracefullyIam.com says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. So, so, so happy that her guilt was lifted. You’re much more forgiving than I in terms of trying to understand the motivation behind that family member’s comment. PS Love the analogy to sidewalk art.


  3. ugetse says:

    Blessings to Julie and her love ones. She left much too soon. May traces of her spirit remain with us. Will miss seeing her smile. Yes Kim, let’s celebrate life.


    • Always! This is a good reminder to celebrate life not only when we are happy & well but also when we are in-between, celebrating small moments can sometimes bring us to that place where we can once again feel happy or well even if it is for but one small moment…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Le Fabulist says:

    A loving farewell without maudlin sentiment and I’m certain Julie would be extremely proud of eliciting such a tribute. Jean-Michel


  5. Reblogged this on anotetohuguette and commented:

    This post deserves a re-blog in memory of another dear neighbour, Julie – my thoughts stray to her often and I hope to never forget her beautiful smile…


  6. I continue to be in awe of your humility, giftedness, incredible way you express yourself….and I marvel at your capacity for depth and compassion….thank you for sharing all these things….it is a blessing that your life and Julie’s life intersected…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. M. Miles says:

    I love the chalk art metaphor. Very nice touch!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is an old post but very sorry to hear about your dear friend whom you lost. Is it not ironic that even death cannot wipe out those beautiful memories you both shared together.
    A very touching post, Kim! Wishing you all power!

    Liked by 1 person

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