Many years ago, in 1998/1999 I wrote a book about a group of artists, living in a block of old buildings in Stockholm, Sweden.
They were mostly painters and musicians, born between 1907 – 1930, and they lived there because they wanted to be with like-minded people that they could share company with, and they all wanted to continue working.
They practiced on their pianos, they went to their ateliers if they had one, or stayed at home and painted and painted. They had one thing in common as they grew older, and that was that they had very little understanding for their bodies, when it let them down.
I am there now, as I have turned 70. I have a very strong desire to write, but everything goes slower and slower. The Pandemic, and not being able to travel and meet like-minded people, has not helped at all.
One can say that I have lived on and been inspired by signs and impulses, sometimes from posts in the AIDS Memorial, and from sudden messages.
Some of you, who have read things I have written here before, may remember a piece called ”Ashes”.
One of the people I wrote about in ”Ashes” was Charles, a public spokesperson that I met at The AIDS Project of the East Bay in Oakland in 1987.
After his death, in 1989, I got in touch with his mother, and when I asked where he is buried, she told me he wasn´t buried, that she saved his ashes, so they could be buried together.
I recently found out that she has passed away, so I tried to contact the family through the Funeral Home to send my condolences, and ask if they are now buried together, after all these years. But I received no answer, and thought that I may never know what happened.
But, suddenly, I received an e-mail from a brother of Charles.
As he was going through his mother´s papers, he found one of my letters. We had lost contact, but I kept on writing, and was in the process of sending her a new letter, when I found out that she had passed away. It seems like the family had not seen the condolences I had sent through the Funeral Home.
He told me that she passed away in 2020, at 93 years of age, from Covid-19.
I sent him the piece I had written about ”Ashes”, where this photo of Charles is shown. He wrote back and told me that it was taken in 1987 when Charles was visiting, and that their mother always kept that photo displayed in her dining room until she passed away.
And, he could tell me that Charles is now buried beside his mother and father. It feels peaceful, and I am most grateful for the message.
Let me add something!
When the brother of Charles, contacted me, I was very excited and I contacted a friend in San Francisco, Alison. We had been communicating about Charles and the ashes, and the fact that I may never know.
But now I knew, so I was very pleased and wrote to her. But she wrote back that she couldn´t answer, because she was sitting with a friend of hers that had died.
- I´m sitting here with Irene…