A Gentle Soul Has Left His Body

I knew him when I was a child, mostly.  I’ve spent many giggly times on his knee.  He was one of those funny people who didn’t put any effort into being funny.  He had a heart that spanned the whole world, and would instantly give you anything he had, if you wanted it.  He was open-hearted, open-souled, completely without the egotistical layers that most artists cultivate.

He was soft-spoken, but could be boisterous in his own way–which was balanced by his wife, a former nurse, who retained her identity and function as the family and community nurse until this day, I am sure.  I remember well being chased down with the intention of giving me an enema, which I didn’t at all want, by our gentle yet strict family nurse…and locking my three-year-old self in the bathroom.  They had to take the hinges off.  I got the enema anyway!

His son and I were in love.  We were three and four.  We grew up and married other people, but at the time it was taken as a known fact that we should certainly marry.  I often wonder what would have happened–and then, with my bipolar disease, I cringe to think what might have happened, what beautiful things broken, what bridges burned–and I’m happy to remain with the family fantasy, and the family intact.

For our two families have really been one as long as I can remember.  Although we have all gone our own ways over the years, there is still the sense of wholeness and familiarity, the heart-bond that will never be broken.

And so, when I heard of his passing, I felt struck in the heart as if by a fist.  I have cried on and off all day.  It will be hard to imagine the place where they live without him, as he was a legendary icon in his area of art.

Fare well, Val Cushing, wherever you fare.