Saturday, September 13, 2014

Constance Has Passed

Long time readers of the blog will remember one of Halfland's lovely volunteers Constance. She came over regularly for many months, largely building the most difficult forest sets of the project.

She labored hard with me to make the wonderful bamboo grove set for the mothman, erecting the large white cardboard 2D foreground forest from the trees drawn by Peggy, and helped me get the birch tree forest to stand, among other things. She was focused, hardworking, artistic, refined, sophisticated. A New Yorker, in other words, having transplanted herself to California about 15 years ago.

Constance always had a vision of women helping each other with large creative projects as a means to connect and share strengths, like old fashioned quilting bees. I think that's what brought her over to Halfland a lot, that there was a certain momentum of gathering taking place at the loft every Friday where she could gather in a creative circle and work happily towards something together.

But she came more than that, at least twice a week for a time. She came for the hard stuff. She came to do the bullwerk of difficult physical tasks. We had the satisfaction together of completing these and admiring how they looked. She helped make the moon. She made an exquisite butterfly, a work of art, one of the few things made by someone else I'm excited to feature in the film. She roughed in the mouse's house interior, pushing down that inertia for me so I could make it. Thank you for all your help, Constance.

After my move to this smaller place, during my own long walk back to health, Constance would check in on how things were going. I did the same around Easter. She said that she'd been dealing with some inexplicable weakness and permitted me to bring over some food she felt might be good.

Paul and I stopped by her home with the goods and were stunned by her appearance. She was skeletal. All we could say after not having seen her for months was, "What's going on??!?" She didn't know. Her husband rushed to to the ER later that very night in distress, her dam of pain finally burst. And so began weeks of the waning of her physical life, that culminated last month.

There was tremendous support of all kinds for she and Richard from that day on. With much organizing help by her friend Paula, friends, ministers, and relatives were able to keep a near constant watch over Constance. We all took our coordinated turn taking her for appointments, treatments, and later, when it seemed best, just to come and sit waiting for her passing.

In a way it was a shocking horror show of an experience. I could not get my head around how a human body could survive such profound loss of all its lovely flesh. How could she walk and speak when tumors were invading places within her that must have confused all internal function. How difficult for her mate to watch and to endure such an ordeal. And yet, he did much more than survive it. He triumphed over it all with love, rising to her every need with strength and purpose. He would give her everything he could until this path was fully walked.

There was Constance. Still refined, and funny, and philosophical about it all. Needing Richard. For herself she wished for a 'clean get away', to be clear and complete inside herself and with everyone she'd be leaving behind. She took the High Road out from my point of view, demonstrating the noblest of perspectives during these declining months.

On my last visit she would forget to take a breath every so often. I'd remind her and she'd come alive with a gasp and expressively whisper, "Thank you!" Even then, some lucid aspect of her consciousness would ask out loud, "How do I get out of this?" Without obvious alternative, only a suggestion to follow the Light sounded hopeful.

If there is, as I believe, some sort of continuation after this physical experience, then I'm sure Constance's Soul is having fun somewhere, making silly puns with wordplay, and creating wondrous things. Maybe, if she wants to, building forests of the lasting kind.


18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute Shelley, your story of Constance like so many was of her stepping forward in service assisting others from a place of strength of heart and loving, thank you for sharing.

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    1. Exactly, Paula, yes. Bless you for all you did for her.

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  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. I secretly hope that in the next life, we get to help God build a new creation. If that's so, I bet there are some really exquisite butterflies there now.

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    1. Thank you kindly, Tea Rose. I wonder if that's where butterflies come from to begin with!

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  3. This made me so happy to read. My friendship with Constance was solitary. Every Sunday at the market, the occasional ballet at the Music Center, etc. Thank you for another glimpse into her life and passing. It reframes a lot for me.....

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    1. Hi Rachelle! I didn't know you you and Constance did stuff, that's so cool. Two New York babes getting fresh produce at a big open air market and patronizing fine arts makes cosmic sense! xooxox

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss, I did not know Constance, but according to your story she was a special person. You wrote a beatiful goodbye to her.

    Hugs,
    Gee

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    1. That's so nice, Gee! So great to have you here, nice meeting you officially.

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  5. She sounds so interesting and alive. I am so sorry she has passed.

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    1. Thank you, Kim. Yep, she was great and is missed.

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  6. Oh Shelley,
    I am so sorry for your heart breaking. What wonderful memories of a dear friend to share. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I have missed you, you suddenly came to my mind this morning.
    ♥♥♥
    Marcie

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    1. Thanks, HON. I'm still here working away on the production. Get closer and closer to footage.

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  7. Hi Shelly, I am very sorry to read about your loss... Rest in peace Constance! I see your pictures and the light in your eyes comes all the way through Halfland to here.

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    1. Thank you, dear Yasemin. Very kind of you.

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  8. What a lovely eulogy. How lucky you are to have had such a friend.

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    1. So kind of you, Meggiecat, yes, I'm truly lucky to know all of you supporters and volunteers, generous, interesting people all.

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  9. http://windupwinded.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-does-this-matter.html

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