Monthly Archives: May 2009

Freedom’s Love

Freedom’s Love

Deep breath.

Oma, you’re going to have to help me.  Oma, please help me write this.

I said goodbye so many times, and had the privilege of doing so.  And while I knew this was going to happen — and while I had the luxury to have a woman that supported through the most arduous times at UniversalGiving, being one of my best friends, a confidante,

I was never prepared.

I barely breathe.

She was someone I called every morning to start the day, and every nite as we ‘tucked each other in.’

She was one of my best friends first;  a second mom second; and thirdly, a grandmother.

The shock of losing one of my best friends, strongest encouragers, and confidante hurts in ways I can’t describe. I will remember life with – -and without my Oma — forever.  I try to carry her with me.

She is where she needs to be and in peace.  She told me she would be an angel on my shoulder, and I believe it. So much so, so much so that I am filled with a presence of love from her so deep, my chest explosive, because her love is so pure, that the tears flood.  She loved me, as she told me , “The minute you were born I looked at you and said, ‘she’s mine.’  And I her.

One of the most special things over the past three months was family duty. We all had shifts. Someone was with her 24-7. If she woke up, someone was there to hold her hand.  “It’s your Pamela, Oma, I’m here.”  “Thank you darling, I couldn’t do this without you.”

When I was growing up, my Oma took care of me at night and tucked me in like an Eskimo.Firmly, inch by inch she tucked those covers in cozily around me. Down my one side, then my toes and feet, and then reaching over, up the other side. Then it was a firm kiss goodnight and ‘not a peep.’

In these last days, I asked my Oma, “Would you like to be tucked in like an Eskimo?”  Even when she couldn’t respond, quiet, gentle tuck by tuck, I’d secure her in her hospice bed, so slow, so ever slow… so different than the firm confident tucks of my earlier Oma.  Final, heartfelt tuck, lie on the floor by her bed, hold her hand, stare at her beautiful wise green eyes, weathered, brilliant, gorgeous hand in mine

Gentle Kiss Good night My Beloved Oma

So, how – I do what now — else? Feel what. Do what. Think what now?  Calling…who now?  .Hug myself now?

An icon.  A soulmate.  Has passed from my life. I know those qualities of Oma, her strength, firmness, outreach, caring, kindness, perseverance, I-always-have-and-always-will-believe-in-you still companion me, and, that I can carry on their expression. I know she is where she needs to be, and am so confident she is at peace. And free.

Still…I turn your picture away I cannot look at you.  I am so weak right now with the purest, plainest hurt. Every feeling stands out, I cannot help it.  It is the best way to get through this for me, to not stop the flow of tears. I just gently let it all go.   To just feel it all, cherish it all, and I know that her love continues on with me now. I know that.

I also know — that few people experience a relationship like this.  We would laughingly say that we were in love with each other.  Who has these type of dear, so dear relationships?  So I am even more grateful. Just filled up full with the profundity of that relationship.  How fortunate I was and am.  My dear Omie.

I know she is so very, so very free right now. She tells me “Darling!  Love! I am free!”  Her arms wide open, smiling brilliantly. That’s all. She always says that when I talk to her.  She is untethered, undaunted by physical, and just bursting with a Freedom’s Love.  And in so doing I feel she loves me now, even more purely, unfettered by body and humanity.

I try to focus on being grateful for her profound influence on and love for me, and so many.

I try now to live my Oma. When she was down, she said something she was grateful for. When she was low she found someone in worse shape to help.  So I can live those qualities….as Oma said, “Just keep on, keeping on.”  Simple, pure believing and living.

I miss my Oma.  I miss you my Oma, I miss you closer than close friend. I miss calling you at any spare moment as I always did,in the airport, before a meeting, after an audition, or at night in bed for our nightly tuck in. Sometimes it was 3x a day. I miss your picking up the phone with a tiny meek, “….he-lloohh….” which tranformed into  a robust and exuberant “Oh Darling!” upon hearing my “Hi Omie!!”

We just loved to love each other.  Goodnight, Omie, I miss you my treasured friend. I know you are peaceful…please love me into peace tonite.

I love my Oma I love my Oma I love my Oma I love my Oma

I love my Oma I love my Oma I love my Oma I love my Oma

I love you my treasured friend

I love

My Oma

Frances Blaisdell, ‘Girl Flutist’ Who Opened Doors, Dies at 97

Frances Blaisdell, female flutist pioneer and Stanford instructor, dies at 97

All-Girl Bands: Phil Spitalny and Frances Blaisdell**scroll down to “For Further Readings” for New York Flute Club April ’05 Newsletter Link

Separate Rooms in Cartagena, Colombia

It was my honor to present at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility Conference 2008, at Cartagena, Colombia, in December.   I was privileged to spend the days prior volunteering with a crisis mediation center, an after school program, and a local skills center, which helped women learn how to cook, create and sell crafts, buy their first home, and which also operated as a tutoring center for kids and a retirement home for the elderly. 
One of my favorite parts was visiting the community where some of the women had participated in building and buying their first homes. The pride, the ownership, was so palpable. Nothing was taken for granted. Whereas in the past, a home consisted of one, wide, openspace room, now there was the privilege of having separated rooms as a sign of status and increased wealth.
An interesting concept: Separation as status.  It does seem right in many ways: There was a room for the children to sleep; there was a private bedroom for the parents. Often animals were kept inside the home, and now they had a place outside.  Of utmost pride were gardens outside, where natural food was being grown, harvested, for use in the day to day. 
But it also gets me thinking about the sense of community. Certainly privacy, protection of the husband-wife relationship, and having defined space is a respectful element we all appreciate.  On the other hand, communities are often compacted — dozens of people can and do live together in a shared space. 
What happens here is truly the utmost in ‘client service.’  People must learn to share and be respectful —  albeit forced at times due to the circumstances — on an entirely different level. I can’t even imagine the patience, perseverance, kindness and utmost of common consideration that entails. These values must be demonstrated consistently, simply in order to live harmoniously.   It makes me think about how much respect I can give — and all the more I can give — to those with whom I live, especially since I do have my separate room.  I think these communities are made up of remarkable people.
Back to the conference: Here we met with dozens of NGOs, in the areas of economic opportunity and job training, reconciliation and peacemaking, arts and dance, gender rights, poverty.   Potential investors and UniversalGiving met with them in 1-1 sessions to hear each unique story, and to see if there were funding opportunities that could be matched.  Here is the podcast of our talk with Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the InterAmerican Development Bank.