12.03.2011

Rosalie Lightning



Dear friends, as many people know, my wife Leela and I lost our most precious life force, our most generative, beautiful, gorgeous daughter, Rosalie, this past month.

Her passing was shocking, ripped a hole in our hearts, "My heart is a blast site" Leela said. A friend offered, "Rosalie opened a capacious space in your hearts" - capacious, capacity. I get it.

We had just moved from New York City to Gainesville, Florida, in search of a simpler, less stressful life. Rosalie loved, absolutely loved it here. I will tell more of this story some other day.

Leela and I will be spending time traveling, first to the Golden Willow Retreat in New Mexico, for people grieving and suffering from loss. Leela first heard about this on the radio show Snap Judgment, when the founder of the retreat told his story of losing his wife, then his mother and children all successively. That show was broadcast on my birthday earlier this year.

After a return to Gainesville, which we too, love and are committed to staying and working in, we're going to spend a week in Hawaii, where we've been offered a small free artist's cottage in Makawao, Maui, at the Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center. This is a place we taught at when Leela was pregnant in 2009, and it is where we were happiest during those first 9 months. It also gave us the kick we believed to move to a more beautiful place and to start a school and center dedicated to making art.

In Maui, we'll scatter Rosalie's ashes there in the ocean. I always said she was a water spirit. I still believe it.

We've had an outpouring of generosity and love from you all. We have cards and emails and postings of all kinds still to open and read; the deluge of support and love from you all has been our greatest strength.

We certainly didn't wish it would take a tragedy to remind us that we are loved among our friends, and even strangers, but reminded we have been. We thank you so deeply for your words, contributions, prayers. All that was sent our way helped bolster us, strengthen us in this time when we were so deeply deeply in pain.

Leela and I have been together on a long path. Suddenly diverted, shocking, terrible, but the path out is still forward. In the darkest times, your support meant everything.

We are feeling a lot of bruised and conflicting emotions throughout all of this, but one thing has remained consistent: our gratitude towards the people who reached out to us. We honestly could not, and can not, make it through without you.

Love each other, and thanks.

If you ever met Rosalie Lightning, keep her in your hearts, and send us your fond stories or reflections. She was special. We miss her immensely.

Tom Hart

1 comment:

J Walton said...

I just came across this via Austin Kleon's blog. There's nothing to say but I want to send you some love. God bless you.