Two years ago, my beloved aunt Charlie (Carlotta) passed away.
She was a big inspiration for me. She was strong, smart, sassy, and above all wise and caring. She had a crafty side, painting, trying to knit and an amazing seamstress. That woman could create clothes and costumes like no other. Her creativity was magical. Her smile, infectious. And her laugh could only belong to her.
She was also a writer.
She wrote for The Californian for many years, with a small column about life. Sometimes it was about the family, other times it was what was happening in the world, political, environmental, and other times it was just much needed words to bring sense back into a senseless world.
Every now and then I flip through the pages of the book of her collected columns. I would laugh. I would cry. I would be enlightened and I would lose myself in her words.
She had a way with words, a skill, no, talent, that I could only hope I can hone.
She taught me many things, was my guide through quite a bit of life's troubles, and was truly my mentor when it came to writing. She had this faith in me, in my work, that helped make me believe in myself.
Today, I'm trying to work on my novel and all I can think about is what she would say. I feel disappointed in myself, for not only letting myself down in taking so long with my writing, but also I feel as if I am letting my aunt down. I don't feel like a failure, just, that I am not where we both though I would be.
But as I type, I can sense a bit of her with me. Even if I am, at this very moment, not writing my story, but this blog entry, I believe she is happy that I am doing some form of writing. And I know, that she is proud of me.
Whether it be painting or writing, I honor her.
Below is a video of the song Aunt Charlie loved.
And here is one of her favorite poems before she passed.
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
"Here she comes!"
And that is dying.”
-Henry Van Dyke
There is a painting I have been working on since September. It's not done, but it will be, eventually. It's a painting my Aunt Len smiled at. She told me that I was painting Aunt Charlie, dancing as she used to do, turning into butterflies.
|Not completed painting|