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Lessons continue.

2014 December 22

"Do I Know You?" by R.L. Gibson


On December 14, 2014, she finally got some peace.  Emma Gibson had just 15 days to go until her 93rd birthday, but she just couldn’t go there.  My intimate journey with her began 2 years ago today with a phone call.

When I answered that call that told me my father was in the ICU grappling with what would eventually be revealed as fatal injuries, my first thoughts were not for him but for my grandmother.  She had been in nursing care with end-stage dementia for a couple of years at that point.  And, while she could still recognize me, she was fading fast.

My journey with her through guardianship, conservatorship, and every imaginable health issue possible inspired me to share my passage from fear to resolution.  It all ended in a fairly confident summation in artist-statement-format for my July 4th opening of “Do I Know You?” that ended with “The best we can hope for is a few good photos and a really good story about how we got to the end.  Smile.  Everyone dies.”  I meant it at the moment, but…

Emma, inspiration for Artist R.L. Gibson's "Do I Know You?" series.Sometimes I am a pompous ass.


She’s dead.

She’s not smiling.

I’m not smiling.

She loved me.

I loved her.

I love her still.

I can’t believe she’s gone.


How shocking that I could be still shocked that her loss hurts this badly. It was expected; I thought I was prepared.  I was not.   Her lessons for me will continue–despite her absence.

Smile.  At least you’re not dead.


5 Responses
  1. December 22, 2014

    So very sorry. For you. Her spirit is free now. Like the bird.

  2. December 22, 2014

    Thank you, Linda. Logically I know SHE’S better off. I will miss her always.

  3. Donovan permalink
    December 23, 2014

    I lost my Grandpa a little less than a year ago. He was a great man who influenced my life in so many ways, and wow, what pain when he left. I said to a friend as I was crying “I just loved him so much.”, to which she replied “You still do, you always will.” How true. I tear up typing this still. I feel for you. It’s hard to be thankful for the times we have with someone we love so deeply once they’re gone, but we are truly blessed to have had these people in our lives. <3

  4. December 23, 2014

    Very warm and touching Rachel.
    Your strong loving feelings come across through your soft written words.
    So sorry for your loss.

  5. January 4, 2015

    Thank you, Laurie!

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