“I’ll give you a sign” Cindy said. At the time she was well and we walked Shelf Rd. together most days. The sign she referred to would come after her death. Something she could relay to me to say that all is well. I think we had the space to talk about death of the physical because I was in a grand delusion. Until the day Cindy died, I never believed that she would.
She and I had a routine. We would walk Shelf Rd. in the morning, then go to Bates beach to search the shore, collecting glass, eating bag lunches, soaking up the sun, and talking into the afternoon until we wrapped it up to get ready to go to work. We worked in the same place. Cindy was manager, I a food server. When I think back on the stress of that job, I realize that the mountain walking and searching for beach glass was a needed remedy. It was a way to unwind, to vent. I don’t remember doing much else for those years that we worked together. We were bonded by the stress and the de regulating of the stress.
The foundation of our conversation was astrology. Cindy lived by the stars. That is how I met her. She did my astrology chart. We have many ties in our charts. We both have roots in Dutch Indonesia and Theosophy. And we both are really into our relationships, gardens, and houses. I could listen to her go on about astrology, her husband Milton, and country music till the cows came home. She showed me manifestation as I watched her happily trade out her much loved Carmen Ghia for the Cadillac that she had talked and dreamed about getting for years. Her car was always a big thing for her. My favorite Cindy quote: “Clean car, clean life”. She had an incredible garden and a house that welcomed everyone. She shared her truth with those she met. And she was fuuuunny. Her sense of humor was a blast.
Somewhere along the way, for Christmas or a Birthday, Cindy gave me a rose bush. I remember reading the name of the rose on the little metal tag, “Fragrant Memory”, and then giving her a glaring look. No words, just shooting her my vibe of denial, “You are not going to die!” and I went out and planted the bare root.
She had a tumor in her arm. The rare diagnosis was a huge long word that I could never conjure up. I’ve never been that great at death. I don’t like it, much less, repeating a diagnosis. I can go to the dark side with the best of them and when it comes to actual death, I am usually not around.
I remember visiting Cindy in the hospital just before I was leaving on a trip. She had been in and out of the hospital frequently by this time. That night she was pretty drugged up and talking about keeping the kitchen counters clean and the fresh tomatoes out in the yard. She didn’t make sense. I told her I’d see her when I got back.
A few nights later in a hotel in Santa Fe, NM I was having a dream. In the dream, a North American Indian man and I were pounding an infinity symbol out of silver. The symbol of an 8 on it’s side. We weren’t just making a jewelry piece, it was a much deeper thing that he was showing me at a feeling level. I don’t have words for it. As we were working at his jewelry bench Cindy was in the background, she didn’t want to bother us. The man and I were so focused on what we were making, I couldn’t take my attention off of the task to acknowledge Cindy, though I knew she was there, I could feel her intensity, she was keenly watching us work. Then in the dream, our mutual friend, Sharon came up to me grabbed me by my arms and started shaking me, “Wake up! Cindy died!” she screamed in my face. By the time I felt and heard Sharon, I looked up, and Cindy was walking away. In real life, I opened my eyes and the clock displayed the time that she had died.
That morning, I called Sharon in CA. I just said, “It’s Teal” she said the exact same words, though this time sad, “Cindy died at 10:22 last night”. (the time maybe different, I have forgotten the exact numbers)
Before I had left for NM there was not one bud on the Fragrant Memory rose. It was essentially a bush of leaves, it had not previously bloomed. When I got back 5 days later the plant was in full bloom, covered with beautiful pink, smelly roses. I took the bounty of roses as the “sign”.
Then each time Cindy’s sister Dottie came to visit me, we would go up to sit in the garden and low and behold there would be two buds on the rose. One for Dot and one for me. At Cindy’s memorial, as to her wishes, all of her friends received a vase from her vintage collection. So for months after her death, I had a bloom from that Fragrant Memory rose in my vase, one sign at a time.
Today is hard for me to see a hawk , Cindy’s declared totem, and not think of her. Once sitting on the shore of a San Juan Island noticing a hawk on an updraft, at the same time combing a perfect, beautiful, rose colored arrow head out of the sand with my fingers. This year on my birthday there was the hawk perched on a car in the middle of my urban landscape.
Sign after sign.
Today marks 21 years since her death. I write this for Cindy’s sisters and brother, Erik, Milton, Nita, Sharon, Hattie, Jan, Rain, Heather, Martin, Alan, and everyone in the world that loves Cindy…there are many of us!
|Elenore Ellie Cindy Goudriaan Heise Kelley (my spelling may be off) thank you for beautiful photo Erik