Winter on Cayuga Lake, Q. Cassetti, 2013The sun finally shone today. First real sunny afternoon since February 1.  The light was so welcome, so crystalline and bright, bouncing off the snow, casting deep blue shadows. It was a miracle to feel the heat of the sun heating up my studio, heating up my heart a bit.

It has been a cold, dark, grey few weeks. It has been a hard time for all of us, most particularly Mary, Rob and Gloria at Two Camp Street with our sudden loss of Ron.

We have all been winded by the whole experience starting with his last trip to the hospital through to a week where he was admitted to hospice and by the following week, gone from us. The whole experience felt as if it was triple time, and we were all trying to learn the new normal, the new dance steps for the next day, and the day beyond—finally feeling that we could do this, could incorporate this change into our lives when he left us.

We were told we had weeks not days… but we had days. Albeit, the end was sweet for him. He was comfortable, with his family, and spent the last few days with us enjoying the simple things like a perfectly poached egg on toast, listening to Wodehouse read by his brother, talking about summers in the Thousand Islands and his large Italian family of uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. He had his family, his wife/son and daughter all around him during that last week, attentive and sweet. He was at peace, and he left us gracefully, quietly, as if letting go of a light tether that bound him to this plane. It was a gentle moment of passage—a soft birth into the next chapter.

I cannot say enough of the little village we live in. It is times like this that the rubber hits the road—and we were supported, cared for, and loved by the remarkable EMS team who were with us at the end—gentle and respectful, kind and giving—taking something that could be frightening and embueing it with humanity, humility and  grace. They were there to allow Ron to leave us, and help us to understand he had left us. Their kindness went way beyond their job, and we will be forever grateful. We had a beautiful prayer and service with the Episcopal minister while Ron was here…and when Mary was ready, Joe Sibley came with hugs and common sense to take Ron to the funeral home. That evening was filled with sadness, but also with heart, and life confirming. It confirmed we are in the right place surrounded by the right people who care. We are part of a community that reaches out and hugs those in need….and know it is the right thing. It was a blessing that Ron waited for his brother to come. It was a blessing to have Rob’s first cousin here. It was a blessing we had Alex over the Presidents Weekend…all of it bolstering and bracing all of us.

We are now putting together a Memorial for Ron—with poetry, music and spoken word. There will be a reception chez Camp (2 blocks from the Church)—and  I am scanning cookbooks and catalogs to see what we can do. We have guests coming in from California and Boston. We will have people from Corning and Elmira, Rochester and Ithaca. Of course we will have those from his little village. We will have jazz, as Ron would have liked it. We may even have martinis as that was his most favorite. So, forgive me for my silence…I have needed to gather my wits and calm the spinning wheels in my brain.

I will be able to say a bit more tomorrow. Thank you for your understanding.