Friday, January 15, 2010
Nov. 23, 1916 - Jan. 14, 2010
My friend PK Page died yesterday and I’m happy for her. She was 93 and though she made a conscious decision a few years ago not to talk about her ailments, she had been in pain daily. She didn’t want to talk about her physical pain simply because there were so many other things in the world she was more interested in. The last time we met, we talked about her new children’s book (The Sky Tree illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman), representations of religious figures in art, pianos, radio, ipods, book printers, and W.B. Yeats.
I’m happy for her because she died at home, which she wanted to do. And, according to Louisa who cared for her daily through the last years of her life, PK had a good day the day before she died. What she wanted more than anything, was to be fully conscious when she faced death. She wanted to look straight at it and to experience it fully and the fact that she had a good day means to me that she may have done just that. Only PK can know. Given her interest in the mystical, in the world beyond our everyday sensation and consciousness, I’ve been looking for signs. If PK could send me a message, she would, I think. So the hair on my neck bristles when, hours after I hear the news about PK’s death, my daughter and I are talking about how we both feel sorry that Pluto is no longer a planet and we refuse to let it be a lesser rock, and when we look up, there is a car in front of us with a bumper sticker that says `Aw, shucks, let Pluto be a planet.’ Might not seem like much, but given PK’s interest in cosmology and her interest in coincidence, I have to think it matters.
PK matters. She leaves behind an immense emptiness because she was such a presence in my life. But she also leaves behind some of the most significant writing anyone in this country has done. In that way, her immortality is as sure as light from distant stars.