A dear friend passed away a few weeks ago. I wrote about Martha in early May (See May 6, 2010). By coincidence, kismet, or simply how things have a way of working out, about the time of Martha’s passing, my octogenarian mom lent me the book, A Walk by the Sea, written by Joan Anderson, known hereafter as ‘the author.’ Mom had received the book from a friend of hers to whom Mom has been a mentor. They are true friends.
The author is a 51-year old woman at a crossroads in her life when she meets Joan Erikson, who with her huband, the psychologist, Erik Erikson, formulated elegant theories of human development. The author met Joan as they each walked on the beach near their homes. Joan, then 91, became a beacon to the author toward how to live the rest of her life. Joan Erikson’s friendship along with her vibrant outlook and zest for life, helped the author to make bold new choices and move into a productive, creative tension between action and contemplation. It’s a sweet spot of balance to live into, never to hold.
Martha and I became friends when I was just beginning my professional career as a writer. She was into her second act as an interior designer. The corporate position she left behind had brought recognition and creative satisfaction. As a prelude to her independent design business, Matha traveled around the world absorbing color, texture, and light. For the next 37 years, she gave back the color, texture, and light to her clients and to her friends.
Martha was a beacon to me, though as in all friendships, at times, I resisted her wisdom. Long will I draw upon her wisdom and belief in the ‘right idea. as well as knowing when to wait and when to act. But, always, move toward action.
Part of the celebration of a friendship across the generations lies in that the elder can openly receive the younger, not only as a mentee, but as a true friend. The author illuminates this with joy. I am thankful for Martha’s friendship and the lessons of being a friend to her.