Sunday, August 6, 2017

Love and Loss

JANICE:  There is a price to pay for great love, and that is great loss. My soulmate, my husband, my book partner, and the father of our two sons, Karl and Daniel, passed away last Christmas. Tom and I were like one and now I am one-half. The only respite comes from the love of my family, close friends, and my work.
Our Home
Tom gave his artistic talent, his strength, his humor, his gentle manliness to our sons. They say he was their first and best teacher. He also left a legacy of his award winning architectural designs - churches, libraries, schools, and homes, including ours. And he left illustrated children's books and watercolor paintings of scenes from all over the world. Thus he achieved immortality.

Bethany United Methodist Church
On the Edge: Santorini

Illustration from  I, Vivaldi
We met in Aspen, Colorado, during the Christmas holidays of 1953. After our courtship and marriage we set out on a yearlong trip around the world. Along the way Tom sketched and painted what he saw.

Jaipur, India
Tom always made birthday cards for me, all of which I have saved. Here is one of his most recent, and it breaks my heart.

 Inside he wrote:

Dear Janice,
Queen of my life!
May I forever sit beside you!

Yes, Tom, you will forever sit beside me.

I know Tom wants me to go on writing books for children and young adults, and I'm doing so for both him and me. The current work in progress is a historical novel set in ancient Egypt, called I, Nefertiti. I never write about a place I have not seen and experienced. My second trip there was with Tom. In the presence of the pyramids we stood and marveled at their sheer size that dwarfs the humans flocking around, and at the ingenuity of their builders. As Tom said, "I feel privileged to stand here. The reality is worth a thousand pictures."

I feel privileged to love this man. The reality is worth a thousand teardrops.