Thursday, January 10, 2008


Rose has a lot of friends. I don't. I have lost touch with people almost accidently. Rose kept in touch with me despite myself at times. She was definitely the Alpha of our friendship.

When I first met Rose, I was a sophomore, a bit of a loner. I was deep in my mud -colored, wideleg, homemade, flannel, pants phase, my hair was an inch long and I was not a smoker but persistently trying to smoke with my closest friend, a Parisienne named Judith who puffed on Chesterfields constantly. Rose and I, Tina too, ate in The Smoker. Tina ate with the druggies (who weren't really druggies, mostly), Rose ate with the Quakers, none of whom had set foot in a mtg. house as far as I know. I ate with Judith and sometimes one of the other groups.

Rose and I both have almond eyes and pointy top lips. At the time, we both had short brown hair. Naturally I asked Rose for an old i.d, she didn't have one. After that we slowly morphed into friends. Rose was smart, really smart, artsy and just cool. She was always a bright, shiny kind of person. I am mostly not cool, never felt too smart and I try to be artsy. But, Rose really liked me. She thought I was sort of crazy and wierd and she liked that. Rose always embraced imperfection. She scolded me once for wishing I had had braces. Having imperfect teeth is an attribute. She loved my paintings. I loved that she just did what she wanted without over-thinking things and being afraid and neurotic (like me). Not that Rose didn't think about things. Sometimes, like someone else I know, she wouldn't stop analyzing (which explains that second Masters of hers). She had high expectations of people. If someone didn't rise up, she wasn't rude but a bit unforgiving ( at least compared tome who puts up with way too much).

She knew the lyrics to every song ( I used to think I held that title). She knew every oldies song. We used to love to sing together. On road trips, we didn't need the radio. She loved food, like me. She was a great cook, she introduced me to the wonders of macrobiotic cooking. That didn't last forever. But the food really was yummy. Rose drove to the Finger Lakes from Boston with Amy in under four hours when I was in labor with Henry. She cheered me on and she was there at the Ronald Mcdonald house when Henry was in the NNICU. She and Amy made our apt. beautiful for our return, cleaning it, filling it with flowers, candles and making my bed with 800 thread count sheets. She became Henry's fairy godmother. She was really good about remembering his birthdays, until she got sick this last time. Rose had really beautiful hands. the kind you see in those romantic portraits of Mary and child from the Renaissance, long pale fingers tapering down into narrow fingertips. She also had a great zany kind of laugh. I can see her eating with her fingers.

I told Henry he could still talk to Rosie. He asked if he could call her on the phone. I said no, but he could talk to her in his head or just out loud. He started yelling to her " rosie, where are you, are you okay?"

He said we could ask santa for a magical wand next year a "real one", then we could use it to wish her alive again.

My good friend Talaya came over yesterday and just sat with me and drank tea with me, which Rose and I always did together (we esp.loved Good Earth Original and Midel Gingersnaps). Talaya is so easy to talk to and so helpful. I was telling her of my regrets. I should have called Rose more in the last few months but, like a coward, I was scared. I was scared of disrupting her and Heather's time. Scared that she might be dead when I called. Scared of thinking about her dying. Rose knew these things and called me. I really don't think she minded. I know she didn't take it personally, she understood me. But I mind. I should have called her more. That last time, she told me to call her anytime. I think, after I got the tickets, I let myself relax about calling her. I was certain I would see her. They said 2-3 months. It wasn't even a month. But shouldn't I have known? That last time, she sounded so weak, could scarcely lift a glass of water. She had lost a ton of weight. Talaya lent me a book, "The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying". There are a few pages in there that have been particularly helpful. It is common for us Westerners to feel helpless and regretful when someone dies. In this particular strand of Buddhism the time after someone dies is a time when you have a lot of power in prayer and meditation. Thinking of and meditating on someone after their death (even a hundred years later) can help that soul immensely ( help them in terms of their rebirth or liberation). I have to believe in that in some way. And I think I do. I will continue to think of Rosie, when I finish a painting, when one of my kids does something amazing or just plain wierd, when I eat something delicious or wierd, when I travel, take a chance, am afraid, when I am daring. I will remember our trips together. Taking Henry to the mountains for a snowball fight in spring. Seeing my first young mountains, my first old trees. The time she bought me that gorgeous dress in the boutique that I would never have bought myself. Singing in the car and in the accapella group we were in, late nights in the studio, and laughing together, so much of that laughing together. For all the times you have lifted me up. Thank you Rose.

1 comment:

chrystiehill said...

kelly, this is so beautiful, your story about henry made me cry!

it seems we are on the same path - sorting few a few decisions to see if we regret them or not.

here's the understanding that i have come to on this: my job is not to look back, but to look forward, and to live and be the person that rosie saw in me and that she often said "i'm so proud of you!" for.

she knows we loved her. she knows we loved her something fierce. that is all she needs and ever needed.

besides, that girl's damn phone was ringing off the hook, and it was true that she didn't get the time with Heather that she needed, so maybe somewhere in all your other feelings you knew it was ok not to call, or you would have, because that's the kind of person you are.

i know, cause Rosie told me so. and guess what, i've seen it myself.

xo -chrystie


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