Elizabeth loved clothes. From before she could speak (which was early!), she was in charge of what she wore, and as soon as she could dress herself, she did, always with several changes of outfits, sometimes before we even left the house in the morning. This theme carried throughout her life, with her love of spending hours in thrift shops and used clothing stores, searching out the perfect pieces, always combining them in ways unique to her. She would often select items that seemed way out of style, or really unattractive (to my eye), but then she’d put an outfit together that was truly a beautiful form of art.
It was one of her greatest artistic expressions, and one she had innately, but was also enhanced by her adoration of her godmother Victoria, who has a similar gift. I think Elizabeth’s also came through her genes, but skipped a generation or two, as I have never cared about clothes in this way, though my grandmothers did, and Julianna, my younger daughter, has an equally unique and artistic style, though quite different from Elizabeth’s (she used to dress in British school boys’ uniforms in public middle school in California…but that’s another story!)
Last night I took a bath, and searched my closet for a bathrobe to put on after. I found this white, silk, kimono-style robe that was Elizabeth’s. I put it on and realized that it fits perfectly, is incredibly comfortable, flattering, and the robe I’ve always wanted…and I remember well the day she bought it.
In June of 2012, Elizabeth’s cancer had recurred, in her brain, and she was receiving high doses of chemo in the attempt to cross the blood/brain barrier, that is there to protect our brain from toxins that can harm it. She was on several medications to prevent seizure and reduce swelling in her brain, and we had some idea of how serious this all was. I can see now, in hindsight, that she understood, or knew, that she was most likely going to die. I did not. I was steadfast in my optimism, only allowing in what I needed to get her the best possible care she could have. With the recurrence and spread of cancer, in addition to the allopathic treatment, Elizabeth was open to adding all complementary methods as well. She was seeing an oncology naturopath, who prescribed many supplements to be taken throughout the day, on a strict schedule, to enhance the chemo regimen. She was scheduled to do a hypnotherapy session, and had started physical therapy to maintain strength, as she couldn’t do much yoga, being weak and dizzy. As it turned out, the cancer was growing too quickly, and nothing could change what was her ultimate path.
So our dear friend Kathleen, who is an amazing healer and has an advanced understanding of the healing power of raw food, drove from Colorado to visit us for a couple days, and share some of her knowledge with us. Elizabeth adores Kathleen, was thrilled that she’d come out to help, and was aware what a loving and generous gift it was for Kathleen to drive 2 days each way to visit! The first day she was here, we made a big list of food we needed, and headed over to the food coop to shop.
Across the street from the coop is one of Elizabeth’s favorite vintage clothing shops. Well, there was something she HAD to look for that day. Kathleen and I were at first agreeable, and wandered around the store for a bit, but didn’t see anything we needed, though I think we played with hats for a while…After half an hour or so, we told Elizabeth we’d go to the cafe next door and get some iced coffee, but she needed to finish up. It was over 100 degrees that day, and we were tired. After a while, I went back to check. She was still trying clothes on, and I was really annoyed. I felt she wasn’t being respectful of Kathleen’s time, that we only had a couple of days to learn as much as we could, and she was “wasting time” by spending so much of our afternoon trying on clothes…This was always a favorite activity of hers, and I didn’t have much patience for it, though I now wish that I could have found a way to spend more time with her doing the things she loved.
Finally, she made her purchase – a white, silk robe, that she felt she really needed. We went across the street, did our food shopping, and went home, all three of us tired from the heat and the outing. Kathleen continued to teach us and share her wisdom, and it was an amazing few days we spent together. Elizabeth diligently ate raw foods even while in the hospital, up to the time she came home to hospice care, when she went back to eating cooked foods, all her favorites…
She only wore the white robe a few times. When I put it on last night, I felt her presence, and felt that she’d perhaps picked it out for me, as well as herself. I’d almost given it away, but something had said to keep it, even though I thought it wasn’t my style or size, and I remembered so clearly the day she bought it. As I was wearing it last night, it felt like it was custom made for me, the size, shape, texture, color…I love it. I just heard “it’s an early birthday present” – my 50th birthday is in a month, and Elizabeth always bought or made me very thoughtful presents, and wrote me beautiful cards. I will miss her especially on my birthday.
When I hung the robe up this morning, and was thinking that perhaps she’d had me somewhere in her mind when she chose it (selfishly, I know), the tag caught my eye. “Esme” is the name, and I caught my breath – that is a name Elizabeth considered for herself for years, and used for her email address, though she spelled it Ezme, with wonderful layered meanings. It felt like another sign from her, and it’s lovely to feel her close as I wear this robe, for many years to come. Thank you Elizabeth, for this gift.