Art, Life, Painting, watercolor

BFF Anniversary

Yesterday, June 29, was the 34th anniversary of the day I met the best friend I’ve ever had, my wife, Leslie Robinson. We married 2 years later and drove across the country from Eastern Long Island, NY to Portland OR. Leslie was a singer/songwriter and I was a painter. She gave up her singing career when our first daughter, Emily was born, in the hospital we can see from the deck of our little house. I quit painting when Les bore our second daughter, Clair in the front bedroom of that house.

Leslie now lays dying, surrounded by that family in the living room of that house. Although my heart is breaking, I feel privileged to be able to help her complete her life and make a safe crossing to whatever is next.

Les hated posing so I don’t have a lot of paintings of her but, on our adventures, she usually wore a red coat that I loved painting.

Leslie-in-the-Snow-wtrclr-10x14

Les was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. She chose to do an alternative therapy instead of chemotherapy and radiation. After treatment, Les remained symptom free for 9 years. When the cancer recurred, she did radiation and hormone therapy, which gave her 4 more years with relatively few symptoms. She tried chemotherapy a few months ago and just couldn’t stand the side effects, so she chose to stop treatment.

We have been very fortunate to have had so much time together. Les and I knew this was coming and are as prepared as anyone can be for such a thing.

I have found solace in the book “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rimpoche, over the years and have begun reading it again. …

Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries what fury what despair!…

To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of it’s strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death … We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”  ~ Michel de Montaigne, The Essayus of Michel de Montaigne

15 thoughts on “BFF Anniversary”

  1. Much love and prayers go out to you, Bill. What a beautiful life to feel a love like that.

    Carol Reese Dallas, TX

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Thank you for sharing. The book I will look into. Give your wife a very loving hug from me and thank her for being her. For her beautiful maturity of choice and bravery. For letting us in via you to share the joy of who she is, which reflects off to we who read the post. I am a wiser woman from this simple and sad yet life celebrating post. She and you have given me a gift of depth and understanding and peace. Pleaseread this to her and let her know .

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  3. My heart goes out to you and your family. Death comes to us all but none of us truly understand it. May you be at peace. Thanks for the heads up on the book. I will try and find it.

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  4. Thank you, everyone, for your warm and supportive comments. This is indeed a difficult time for our family but also it’s such a gift to be able to witness and assist Leslie in her final days on earth. She continues to inspire me with her courage and determination.

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  5. So sorry to read your e mail on your beloved friend and wife Leslie. i recently read a quote which i would like to share with you “In the end only three things matter. how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Buddha ….. I have read your blog for some time and I want to
    thank you for the inspiration. My thoughts and prayer are with you and your family….

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  6. Bill,
    I appreciate the up-date. Thanks for sharing the watercolor of Les in her red coat. The painting is so delicate in technique and yet so strong in feeling.
    At some point in everyday I know I’ll be thinking of you and your family as you embrace Les in her final days. And in those thoughts, I’ll be hoping that your love will conquer all and radiate a joyous and peaceful departure. Jer

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  7. If sorrow can be beautiful, you’ve painted it here Bill, with words, and then again, with snow and shadow and Les in her red caped coat. Our hearts are full of nothing much but the two of you and yours right now. Praying peace and solace, in all love. ani

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