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Posts Tagged ‘empathy’

2395

… those in the dark cast the brightest of lights. I think Tara Cipriano was one of those people. While she could never quite convince me to reach into her bag and grab the sidewalk chalk, she convinced many other people to do so, especially her nieces and nephew, and most often strangers on the street. Accepting me for who I am, she eventually stopped asking and just shared her art, and it was art, digitally with me. I think she wanted to share the ephemeral beauty she was creating in the world, and she was looking for positive feedback in a world where increasingly, especially internally, she was receiving so much negativity.

2399

Tara had a great laugh and great mind and had an innate creativity that in recent years overwhelmed her. In a very short period of time she went from fitting a certain young professional mold to becoming a creative wild spirit. At first such sudden flamboyant behavior and change in dress was startling to friends and family and probably even to her. But at some point she embraced the new side of herself even as words like “crazy” were thrown around.

2810

She did seek help, and with her intelligence, she sometimes knew more than her various doctors and therapists. And there were times when, despite her great intelligence, when common sense was drowned out by other voices, and she did things she shouldn’t have. She was only human.

2390

I don’t know Tara’s specific clinical diagnosis and it wouldn’t be my place to say on this blog. I can say that she was a unique woman who brought joy into the world and filled it with light, laughter and color. Don’t even get me started on her love of glitter and distaste for the color blue … or maybe that was just blue pens. She loved profoundly and was profoundly loved. There are those I know who will keep asking themselves, “what more could I have done?!” and to those people I say: You did all that you could. I know that she believed that because she told me so over the years. For her, you were anchors in her life that kept her here as long as she managed to remain.

2816

After recently dealing with my younger brother’s unexpected death, I told myself that I would write no more obituaries. I don’t think of this post as an obituary but it is my attempt to share the beauty of a creative soul who will be missed and who too many people never had the chance to really know. I think she is at peace. Farewell, Tara.

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There is a time and place for everything.  I guess now is a time and place in my life to collect seashells and rocks and blossoms that I let dry in the sun.  As I collect these things, I ponder.  Here is a recent essay inspired by a broken bowl of stone and shells:  fragile beauty.

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Detail from stained glass window by La Farge in Trinity Church, Copley Square

Detail from stained glass window by La Farge in Trinity Church, Copley Square

Recently, that fellow in my life, S.,  went to the grocery store.  He stood in line with his basket of goods.  No doubt, something delightful for us like smoked salmon and cheese.  In front of him, a woman leaned against her cart.  Two children played about her legs.  The cart contained bulk items like cornmeal and potatoes, a few greens and some milk.  Later, he told me that she looked so worn, her eyes so dark.  After her purchases were rung up and bagged, she pulled out her purse.  The man stepped forward and said to the cashier, “I will pay for it.”  The woman said nothing.  She put away her purse, grabbed her children and pushed her cart away.  She did not say thank you, nor did he need her to.

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One day I stood at the bus stop.  I’d underdressed.  The wind blew hard and I was so cold.  Even as I huddled unto myself, I felt a tap upon my shoulder.  I turned around.  A young college student stood.  He held out his coat.  “Would you like to wear this until the bus comes?”  I took him up on his offer.  I said thank you, but I forgot to ask his name.

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Growing up in Virginia, as soon as spring was sprung and all the snow was gone, my father would head out to our little garden patch with his metal shovel and begin to turn the earth.  It was ritual.  But one year, he had a stroke and was unable to go out and so my younger brother and I took the shovel to the garden.  It stood taller than either of us. We tried pushing the blade beneath the soil together but we were not strong enough.  But we continued on because unless that garden was created all would not be right with the world.  At some point, “out of the blue,” a man appeared.  A next door neighbor that did not get along with my parents.  He was curmudgeonly.  He had brought with him his fancy tiller.  He grunted and that was all he said to tell us to get out of the way.  And then he turned the earth for us.  I don’t know if my dad ever thanked him, but we did plant a garden that year.

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There are many evil deeds done every minute of every day but there are also those random acts of kindness.  That is what I try to keep in mind.

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