Sonnet 2 from “The Autumn Sonnets”
If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure—if I can let you go.
—–May Sarton, 1978
Stephanie, or “ts” as she was known on the GRACE forum, commanded a powerful presence by dint of her wisdom, kindness, humor, grace, love of food and sheer joie de vivre. All this in a very strong yet understated voice. She stopped treatment in October, weighing her options carefully between quality of life and rational treatment. She was a foodie extraordinaire and I think the only treatment options left might have equated to extending survival while sacrificing the ability to enjoy that borrowed time. She took a trip to Sicily to mull things over but I think she knew in her heart the plan she was devising.
I feel privileged that she shared a few pearls with me. What a beautiful, tender spirit. I will never see volunteer tomatoes or squash again without thinking of her. I will bake something special – I haven’t baked since November – in her memory. I mourn her shortened life, and yet am glad she had a “good death”, passing peacefully, with her love Michael, in her bed at home, possessed of all love, friendship, dignity and respect.
I expect to meet her at the pearly gates, lamb salumi and gelato in hand, ready to make up for lost time. My heart goes out to Michael and her family.