When I was still in training as a dancer, the company had a modern ballet piece called “Violet Indigo”… or was it “Indigo Violet”? I think it was the former. I never danced this piece, so unlike the many variations in Act II of “The Nutcracker”, I don’t remember the choreography. But that is what the following made me think of today.
Oliver Sacks, as you probably already know, has died. He was a frequent guest on RadioLab, and they posted this beautiful remembrance yesterday. It is sweet and funny and poignant. It probably was not the best thing for me to listen to at work today given the fact that Gabriel’s funeral is on Sunday and Sofia and Sebastian’s anniversaries are in two weeks.
The last story is particularly touching. It is about Sacks’s desire to see the color indigo. And he shares a funny story about how he saw it for the first time. And about his desire to see it again. About how he thought “this is the color of heaven”.
Indigo. That’s where Gabriel and Sofia and Sebastian are.
They are where they can see indigo.
Paula texted me yesterday evening. It was brief. A single emoticon.
I was getting ready to make a bottle for Anna when my phone chimed. (Yes, Paula has her own text tone.) “Just a minute,” I told Anna. When I saw the message, my heart sank. I knew what it meant. “I need to check Facebook for a minute before I can make you something to eat,” I told her.
As I started to cry, she stopped fussing.
For the record, Paula is fine. Her baby is fine. I’m fine. Anna is fine.
But the other friend I told you about? Then one who’s baby had been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy? Well, he hasn’t been doing well. And I knew that was why Paula had texted that simple message. He passed away on Thursday. He’d turned two months old on Monday.
The three of us, these three classmates, have been group messaging since they got home from the hospital. So while most people saw the trying-to-stay-upbeat posts on his CarePages site, Paula and I heard the hard things, too. That’s what we’re here for, we kept telling her. And I’m proud of how she shared her fears and her exhaustion.
And I know her heart is now broken in a way that will never fully mend.
I texted Paula back.
There really wasn’t anything more to be said.
Hug your loved ones. Hold them close. I send my light and love to Joanna, Aaron, and E as they begin this new chapter without Gabriel to hold.
That’s right. Anna is six months old. She thinks solid food is the best thing since sliced bread (although she’ll probably decide sliced bread is the best thing since sliced bread once she starts eating bread). For the most part, she’s happy and funny and playful.
I know you’re all thinking, Beth, you were so on top of things last week. You posted your Friday post early on Friday. Yeah. That’s because I was sitting in my hotel room in Frankenmuth. I was at a conference sans baby. (I hoping to get this written before she wakes up.)
So here are a few things from the past week that have made me happy:
- Fiber Fest was last weekend. I didn’t buy much, but I love what I got. I think my favorite purchase came from Happy Fuzzy Yarn — her new gradient skeins. I bought a colorway that goes from brilliant royal blue to a bright spring green. And when I call them “skeins”, I really do mean the plural. There’s one skein of each color, but together they create a gradient. I don’t know exactly what I’ll make. A lace shawl of some sort, most likely. But it will be soft and airy and I’m just happy to have this yarn in my stash.
- What I mentioned above — I was at a conference in Frankenmuth. The conference itself was what conferences are. But it was nice to be at a hotel where I could go swimming and sit in a whirlpool. The, um, adult ice cream beverages that Courtney and I had for dessert didn’t hurt.
- Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda were on Here and Now. (Apparently it was an interview that aired earlier this year. I must have been on leave because I hadn’t heard it before.) One word: Delightful! There’s a brief discussion of how they should have their own radio show. I agree. If it were anything like this interview, I’d listen. Like Car Talk, only with women…
- And, finally, if you don’t listen to Ask Me Another, you should. It’s smart and funny. And this week, the Very Important Puzzler was Sir Patrick Stewart. If you don’t listen to Ask Me Another, you should at least listen to this week’s episode. Because Patrick Stewart. Do I really need to say more?
This week has been pretty good. My friend’s baby is stable. The weather is magnificent. Not too much to complain about. Here are a few things I meant to post last week. And a few things I stumbled upon this week.
- Here and Now did a tribute to Davy Jones. But not because of his most famous role. He was the Artful Dodger. On Broadway. I did not know that. It’s a pretty delightful segment. And a good sing-along.
- I mentioned Jon Stewart’s last episode in my last post. I know I’m not alone in saying that I’ll miss him, but it was a farewell that was just right. Funny, touching, sentimental. Just right.
- I don’t remember if I mentioned that our progress report was approved. Maybe I did. But even if I didn’t, it’s still making me happy!
- If you haven’t listened to Mystery Show, you should. And there are only six episodes so far, so you really should listen to all of the episodes if you’re new. I kind of mainlined them on Sunday. It’s fascinating and funny, and I’m looking forward to the next series.
- And I’m working my way through the quantity of things I added to my PBS watchlist. Secrets of the Dead is one of those shows that regularly makes my jaw drop. There’s an eposide about Richard III that is amazing (in part because some of the “discoveries” seem obvious to anyone who has been around people with disabilities… I mean, looking at a medieval saddle, it seems pretty clear to me that it would give more support to someone with scoliosis than a modern saddle, but the researchers were really surprised… but I digress.). What I really liked about this episode was that it helped me reconcile the image I have of Richard III from primary source documents with his royal portrait.
- But probably the most fun thing I watched this week was Secrets of the Tower of London. It really does show you things that aren’t on the tour. The interview with the chief yeoman (and his wife) is a wonderfully different view of the Tower. And, well, the interview with the ravenkeeper is simply delightful. He has a charming dry wit. I recommend watching at the very least to see that section.
I had every intention of writing a blog post yesterday. Even yesterday I thought that I would write a post yesterday and then write a post today about why I’d thought about not writing a post yesterday. I even remembered to take a few notes about things I wanted to mention in my now-traditional Friday-What’s-Making-Me-Happy-This-Week post. But the news from Thursday was still casting a pallor over the day. And after Anna had her bath, I watched Jon Stewart’s final episode and went to bed.
The KAMSC Class of ’96 has been doing pretty well. Lots of new babies and happy news since Sofia and Sebastian died. But one of my classmates shared her sad news with us on Thursday. Her 6-week-old has been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. She’s been mostly incommunicado. But I know that she has my contact information. I messaged her to make sure she had my cell number, and she wrote back.
Since Sofia died, I’ve said that while I’m, well, not happy but I don’t know what other word to use, so that’s what we’ll call it. I’m happy to support someone the way others have supported me, but I’ve hoped I’ve never needed to. But here we are. And she knows I’m here. And she can direct people to some of my posts and some of the articles I’ve linked to if she doesn’t want to explain how she’s feeling.
Lisa and I texted each other for a while Thursday evening, needing the comfort and connection to share our sorrow.
So yesterday was a melancholy day. And while I already can talk about this news without crying (unlike when I called my mom just after reading the post), my heart still aches for my friend and her family.
I’ll end with my friend’s words: “Please hug your little ones and hold your family tight.”
First, some back story.
Back story #1: I’ve been knitting washcloths. I was never a big washcloth knitter before. I preferred sweaters, socks, hats, fingerless mitts. Things best knit out of wool, not cotton. But now that my knitting time is frequently interrupted, I’ve been having a blast knitting washcloths. They’re small. They’re fast. I can do all sorts of interesting things. And I was thinking that I needed to just borrow my mom’s volumes of Stitchionary. This morning, I happened to glance at my own shelf of knitting books and discovered I have my very own copy of volume 5: lace knitting.
Back story #2: Anna can sit supported pretty well these days, so we’ve started reading books at bedtime. And of late, she’s wanted to play with the books as much as read them. (Yay! Proper developmental stage!) So I took a few of her books from her bedroom and put them on her blanket in the living room.
Back story #3: Anna likes to play. She plays a lot. She plays for long periods of time, given that she’s only five months old. But sometimes she starts fussing. So I pick her up. But that’s not what she wants. She’s not hungry or wet. No. She wants to play. But she wants compay. If I sit next to her and go on with what I was doing, she’s happy. She goes back to playing
And now the story.
Anna was fussing. So I sat down next to her. I brought my copy of Stichionary Volume Five with me and started to skim through the patterns. Anna picked up her copy of Sandra Boynton’s Are You a Cow? She had her book. I had my book. Our first family silent sustained reading. I may be having trouble introducing her to music, but at least she’s caught on to how much I love books.