Portraits and Landscapes – Heather

Portraits and Landscapes

“So, fear not, dear reader, this too shall pass and your Facebook newsfeed will go back to cat videos and kids singing Let It Go,” Bo Stern, a pastor in Bend, Oregon whose husband Steve has ALS, writes in her blog.

She nonetheless urges people to do the Ice Bucket Challenge, hoping that public interest and support of government-funded research of this terrible disease will be increased.

When I was twelve years old and at boarding school I met Heather Campbell. Heather was one of those people who are never boring. She painted, she played piano, she acted and she loved Latin, and in particular chemistry experiments that went wrong. We immediately became best friends and we stayed that way until she died in 2008 at the age of sixty from ALS. We had so many adventures and shared so much together, never loosing touch, even though we travelled and lived all over the world at various times in our life, finally settling down a continent apart. Over the last five years of her life, I saw her body deteriorate and let her down as a result of ALS, but she never ceased to be the vibrant, positive energetic woman that I love.

Her husband Nick wrote: “Heather’s smile, her eyes, her kindness, her style, her sense of rightness, her music, her sense of fun, her love of nature (and cats), her love of adventure have all been absorbed in parts of me and made me into a better person. I cannot lose that and so will carry her with me always.” Amen to that.

I dedicate this wonderful poem to a best friend – FOREVA, Heather.

Parable of Immortality – Henry Van Dyke, 1852-1933

I am standing on the seashore

When a ship at my side

Spreads her white sails to the morning breeze

And heads towards the blue ocean.

 

She is an object of beauty and strength,

And I stand and watch

Until at last she hangs

Like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky

Come down to mingle with each other.

 

Then someone at my side says,

“There, she’s gone!”

Gone, gone where?

Gone from my sight – that is all.

 

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar

As she was when she left my side

And just as able to bear her load of living freight

To the place of destination.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

 

 

 

 

And just at the moment

When someone at my side says, “There she’s gone!”

There are other eyes watching her coming,

And other voices ready to take up the glad shout:

“Here she comes! Here she comes!”Scan 2014-8-22 0007 Scan 2014-8-22 0002 Scan 2014-8-22 0004-1 Scan 2014-8-22 0007-2