“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!
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