Leonard Berstein Lectures - The Unanswered Question Absolutely worth listening to this!
My Rosemary died in the evening of 9 December 2020 in our bed in the presence of my daughters Alexandra, Hilary, my granddaughter Rebecca and me.
I am writing this in the closing hours of 20 September 2023. I asked Hilary this evening if Rosemary had said anything before she died. Hilary told me that her mother had a problem with her windpipe and said nothing. She also added that she did not remember. I don’t plan to ask the other two the same question.
I distinctly heard Rosemary ask, “Am I dying?” My mental block is that I don’t remember if any one of us answered.
This blog has been in my mind since that tragic evening and
finally I will write it. I did make an effort before. First link above.
Of the subject of the Unanswered Question in relation to the
1908 composition by Charles Ives I wrote two previous blogs. Links above.
This time I want to explore and remove (or not) from my system this idea that we all die alone. If someone is holding your hand as you are dying (as in many Hollywood films) there is no way of knowing how that feels. Nobody has come back to tell us. That question of Rosemary is not one that I would have answered at all. But then, if I had been in her place and I had asked, would I have been aware of the silence following the question?
I cannot comprehend how she knew she was about to die that evening. She had been told by her cancer doctor that she had a few months left of life. Both of us did not believe we would ever see each other again. Was she aware of that loss as she asked that question that we could not have possibly answered?
When Rosemary was alive, my own personal life was in order. I had a purpose and I shared one with Rosemary. With her gone, I have no rudder. I could even add, with no further detail, that the little family life I have is unravelling.
I have come to believe that Rosemary knew she was dying
before she asked the question. And there were two other living things that seemed
to know. Niño was always next to her on those last few days. Niña was with her
until her last moments and after so I found out.
After Rosemary died we all went downstairs to wait for the funeral service to show up. Because I am a photographer I knew I had to go up. I did. Niña was on top asleep with Rosemary. I took one photograph.
That photograph is inside me and I will die with it. Will it ever see the light of day?