My Rosemary in Lillooet - June 2020
Friday, April 16, 2021
|Rosemary in Lillooet - June 2020 - Photographs Alexandra Waterhouse-Hayward|
Your wife in a relationship that lasted 52 years dies of
cancer in the middle of a pandemic (December 9, 2020) and you live a grief that
nothing can possibly prepare you to cope. Your friends and family tell you that
you have memories.
And yes if I were camping out in a little tent on a sand
dune in the Sahara I would be full of such memories. But what if you live in
the house where you lived with her. That is my case. I am surrounded by
tangible memories like our bed. I use up the last tube of toothpaste knowing
that she bought it and I know I have to buy one for just me.
Or like my dinner today which consisted of two pieces
(Rosemary never used the word slice) of toast with butter and catsup. I would
have never eaten that with her around. I would have cooked something that might
have appealed to her.
I go into our guest bathroom and it is impossible to avoid
seeing the two pictures of her and a panoramic of VanDusen Gardens that is
called Rosemary’s Garden. Why is this? One bitter January in 1992 Rosemary said
she wanted to go to the garden. I questioned the idea but she prevailed. On a
whim I loaded a Widelux (a swivel lens 35mm Japanese camera) with Kodak Black
and White Infrared Film. I was so pleased with the results that I made it a
goal to use that camera to photograph all the other botanical gardens in
Vancouver. These pictures were used by Western Living Magazine and I was
offered (I accepted) to write a monthly garden column.
While all the above may be true, there is a new form of
melancholy that I have discovered. I can remember every photograph (almost)
that I have taken of Rosemary. But when I see a photograph that I have not
taken of her, that is not in my memory, that someone else has taken, and that I
have not seen I experience something that is pure joy but also pure grief. Here
as evidence are some pictures that my daughter Alexandra took of Rosemary in
Lillooet during her last summer visit of 2020.
A Linear Existence Not
Thursday, April 15, 2021
|Rosemary, Hotel El Balam, Mérida, 7 March 2018|
I was born in Buenos Aires in 1942 and my life until 1954
involved my mother, father, grandmother, the family on my mother’s side and
that on my father’s.
All that changed when my mother, my grandmother and I moved
to Mexico City.
From that date I lived in Mexico City, Nueva Rosita,
Coahuila and went to school at a Catholic boarding school in Austin. From there
I was for a while with my mother in Veracruz. In 1964 I left for to Buenos
Aires for my obligatory military service in the Argentine Navy.
That 1964 Buenos Aires was a tad different from the one I
had left in 1954. I was able to locate my father so that was comforting. In
1967 I returned to Veracruz and that year I met Rosemary Healey and married
It is at that point that my life stopped being linear and
predictable. Mexico for me now was not only my mother and my grandmother but
also a Mexico with the presence of Rosemary. We visited my mother in Veracruz.
Veracruz now had to include my Rosemary. I had gone to Guanajuato in 1962 on a
Mexico City College tour. Now Guanajuato had to include Rosemary. Many years
later the hotel in Guanajuato, the Castillo de Santa Cecilia, that my mother
had told me about in 1953 when she made an exploratory trip to Mexico from
Buenos Aires, became a different reality. Rosemary, our granddaughter Rebecca and I
stayed at that hotel. We mingled with the ghost of my mother.
Until I took Rosemary to Argentina and Buenos Aires in 2004
my Buenos Aires, its music and memories (and lots of nostalgia) of a couple of
ex-girlfriends excluded Rosemary. Then we returned a few times more. Once in
Buenos Aires with Rosemary the ghosts of my past mingled with new and very
We made trips to Mérida and Michoacán in Mexico and traveled
to New York City for a visit to the Met’s Michelangelo show. In 2019 we finally went to a place that I had
never gone before on my own. We went to Venice and Florence.
I am so glad we did that traveling together before Rosemary died on December 9.
Still important in my memory is that my Texas-in-Austin-life of the late 50s directly connected with Rosemary when with our two granddaughters we traveled in our Malibu to Texas in 2011. It was then that Rosemary met my mentor Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C.
|Taos, New Mexico 2011 and our Malibu|
Now in the solitude of living with two cats in my Kits home
I think of stuff like this one of linearity.
It keeps my mind occupied and that may be a good thing.