Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds…and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of… High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr
On Wednesday evening, July 3, 2013, a beautiful summer evening, at 6:23, my beloved wife slipped the surly bonds of earth. She died very peacefully at home, where she was cared for by her two daughters, Emily and Clair, her brother, Pete and me, with the help of hospice workers and an army of friends and family.
Les had an amazing last few weeks. She knew she only had days to live and, although she was dramatically weaker every day, she continued to meet with friends and share her most heartfelt love and gratitude for the wonderful life she’d led. She told the hospital chaplain:
“I’ve had a good life. I’m ready. I trust in the process, the flow. Little fishes die, big trees die, who am I not to die, too? Abraham Lincoln did it, my mother did it, my neighbor did it, I can do it too.”
I learned so much about living and dying from Les and I’m grateful for the incredible opportunity of helping her through these challenges. As with any relationship, we had our troubles but the last four years have been the happiest of my life and made more so because Les felt the same.
These last weeks were both terrible and wonderful. Les had a beautiful death, conscious and focused, accepting and grateful, loving and compassionate. Dying is hard work but I can’t imagine a better death than Leslie’s.
Leslie was my muse. I did everything with her in mind. It’s difficult not to slide into the mire of self pity but Les was too good an example of accepting one’s fate to allow that to happen. She will live on in my heart until it stops.
Many years ago, Leslie wrote a song for a friend who was dying of brain cancer. I share it here -> The River <- click to play
Please visit Leslie’s long neglected WordPress page, for a little more information about her and to listen to her music
17 thoughts on “Leslie Robinson Sharp – 1951 – 2013”
Bill, that was so beautifully written. You two had a special bond, you were both very blessed to have each other. My heart feels for you… Prayers continue… She certainly sounded like a very special lady.
With deepest sympathy.
She had a beautiful voice. Very cool songs too. Lovely songs.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I loved listening to her strong, clear voice and pure, sincere words in The River song.
Thank you for this, Bill. Your writings about Leslie are so beautiful and heartbreaking and true.
Her example lives on for us, her friends, and for others, but Leslie as muse is yours and yours alone. I look forward to what she’ll inspire in you from wherever she is now.
May the power and peace of Leslie’s last days and the beauty of her songs continue to be a source of comfort to you as your mourn. And may she (and your love for one another) always inspire you as an artist …
Beautiful post, Bill. Heartfelt condolences to you and yours.
Beautifully said Bill, my thoughts and prayers are with you both. Deepest sympathy.
Bill, I wish I had words to express both my empathy for your loss, and my awe of the gift of your wife’s existence in your life for the time you had her with you.
Dear Bill: I have never had the privilege to meet neither you nor your wife in person. But your paintings as well as her voice clearly demonstrate how talented both of you are. I am very sorry that you have to endure the deep pain of the loss of your best friend and wife Leslie. Death is our last enemy in this life. But I look at life and death from a Christian perspective and find that there is hope for everyone. Jesus Christ is the foundation of my hope. Faith in Him gives me peace and serenity in a world of turmoil and uncertainty .I recommend Him to you and to everyone else. Acceptance is free. God bless you and your loved ones. With deep sympathy, Herbert Kiesler, artist.
Bill It is very nice writing so nice about such an important lovely person in your life, Leslie which I did not know but by reading so much admired and appreciated. My condolances and thoughts are with you for such a great loss.
In sorrow – I send my love.
Thank you for sharing this very real, very dear time with all of us. Your spirit of generosity in writing about how you and Leslie were so present with one another and with death, is a gift that deepens the sense of community for us all. Thank you. Susan Hammer, artist.
Thank you all for your warm thoughts.
Billl, I have just learned..
My thoughts are with you. Such a beautiful piece you have written for the love of your love, your muse who will always be with you.
My dear, Ronelle. It’s so nice to hear from you. You’ve been so kind and supportive over the years. Thank you for your kind words.
What a beautiful tribute this is!
All things must die, as she said.
What more could we ask for, then to be remembered with such loving words….