**The Beauty of it All**
Marci’s mom died the other day. At my age I thought I knew about death. It's been right there, in my periphery, the whole time.
Drag racing photography introduced me to it first hand. A driver would cut a light and seconds later get killed in a wreck. A simple mechanical or human error.
Sometimes they would go out in a blaze of glory, the stands filled with spectators, setting the low ET of the meet. Other times the stands empty, and the driver, just testing the car, the track and the weather conditions. Fine tuning it all.
Those were the sadder ones for me.
Vietnam was over by the time I graduated high school. It is just rabbit foot luck that I didn’t have to risk my life for my country.
My mentor, Joe Vancho wasn’t as fortunate, and though not shot or physically wounded, he was emotionally scarred for life.
Can you imagine what war must do to an artist's mind, or anybody’s for that matter.
For years he had severe migraines. He said it was from agent orange.
I’ve lost a lot of friends, of course we all have or will, but Ruby was different. On the outside at the beginning of her demise she was talking, not always making sense, but the eye contact went right through you.
The sounds were very hard to listen to, but easy to interpret. The moaning. The relief of a cold compress on her face. The difficult breaths.
Hospice care gave us pamphlets to tell us what to expect in days, hours and minutes of life left, and we referred to it.
Then the beauty of it all. To see Larry, her husband of 56 years tend to her every need, and come away with tears in his eyes.
To watch Teresa and Marci, her two daughters tend to her 24/7 with selfless love, compassion. and knowledge.
It was the purest love I’ve ever seen. They did everything so perfectly.
I am sad that Ruby is gone. She was one of the kindest human beings I've ever met. I never saw her angry. She made sure your were comfortable in her home. She wrote down her prayers and wishes and kept them in a little tin in her nightstand.
For the person dying there is not much dignity in death. For those helping the one leaving this world, the true essence of a person, and what is good in a person, surfaces.
Tonight, when you look up at the full moon, toast someone you love. Toast Ruby. Toast your fortunate precious life.