05 April 2013
Happy Memories for a Tragic Time
There's a saying that God only grants difficulties to those who can handle them. I'm beginning to think that's a line of bullshit.
I have a friend - Rosalee - who is one of THE most marvellous women I've ever met. Beautiful, talented, funny, spiritual, loving, kind...she brings light, joy, love to everyone she meets. A strong feminist Latina, she's had several volumes of poetry published, and yet she has a Marilyn Monroe-like sexuality; she flirts and acts coy but you just know she's in control.
I met Rosalee briefly at a cast party for a production of "Evita" she and a mutual friend were in way back in '86. We later reconnected at auditions for a theater production the following year. The theater was doing an "original" show to celebrate the city's centennial celebration. We basically took the audience through 100 years of entertainment. The first scene took place in a saloon with can-can girls and a woman being lowered on a swing while singing "She's only a bird...in a gilded cage...." Eventually a brawl breaks out and my good friend Roxie ends up on my shoulders, her skirt over my head, while she and Rosalee scratch fight as we whirled off stage. We had a fantastic time during that show and became fast friends. We spent spare time together and our shared interests of theater, poetry, vampires, and of course hot young men cemented our friendship. I became "Aunt Markus" to her 7th grader son who accepted me for my quirkiness because I was "mom's friend." She really raised him right; he's warm, caring, and accepting of all.
Rosalee, her best friend, and I used to hold hands and dance and attempt to seduce young men. We laughed and talked of stars and flowers and waves of peace flowing over the earth to heal it from the crap man had done to it. We were the hippies of the 80s & 90s.
One summer she and I went to the bar at Acapulco Mexican restaurant and proceeded to attempt to pick up on a hunky golden construction worker who actually seemed as interested in me as he was in her. We played games with men that way...if he wanted to play he had to play with us both.
One of the things I most love about Rosalee is if she likes you she's 100% supportive. She once got me to writing poetry again...and I joined her poetry group. We'd get together and share and offer feedback and discuss the imagery of our poems. I always thought my stuff was crap until I heard some of the others' stuff! Rosalee always assured me that I was brilliant. I liked to believe it. And of course, her poems were miracles...on the surface it sounded like she was talking of dead leaves on the lawn but in reality she was talking about the devastation of war. The woman is a genius.
In 2003-4 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My beautiful, smart, funny, talented friend fought with all her might...and overcame. Her hair grew back, she grew strong and had a small part in a play.
In 2010 the cancer came back. Again she fought although this time she was scared. It took longer and took a toll on her but she won the fight. And she was rewarded with the long overdue birth of her grandson. She celebrated her 60th birthday - a much quieter affair than her 50th but still a celebration.
And now...my friend has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I am devastated. It is not fair. Too much has been heaped on this wonderful woman.
She asked me to tell our theater friends and I've sent emails and posted private messages on Facebook; I'm not publicly announcing this horrendous news. I am trying to keep her spirits up with emails, calls, cards...and reminding her she's a grandma and we all need her.
I have asked far too many favors from my cyber friends and blog followers; but I must ask that you keep Rosalee in your prayers, thoughts, spiritual recitations...that whatever god, goddess, higher power, source of energy that you believe in be beseeched on her behalf for a healing. Her grandson is a mere 4 years old...he needs to grow up with this fantastic "Auntie Mame" type grandmother...so if you can see your way...please indulge me.
Here is a taste of Rosalee reading one of her poems.
I've started working on my own poem to honor Rosalee. I think she'd be proud.