My beloved cousin Darcy died today. I am devastated, but was able to see her last week. At some point when I have the strength I will write about all this visit, because it was precious time that I would not trade anything in the world for having had. This is not that time.
She died on a new moon and on Rosh Hashanah. I am not Jewish and neither is she but the New Year is a profound time in the Jewish tradition, and a good friend walked me through that, and how her dying on this day is meaningful.
I am too tired and sad to unpack all this now but I am glad I spoke with my friend. John had to go up to Canada tonight, so I am by myself for a week. In some ways this is hard, but in some ways maybe gives me space to grieve.
All I know about grief from my decade of people dying is: there is no one way this shit works.
My cousin was the closest to a sibling I had in the world and with her goes the only witness to deeper veins of my experience, including sharing Jani as our grandmother. I note she also died on 'grandparents day.' Darcy saw Jane when she was dying of cancer and now she too has died of cancer.
She leaves behind two lovely teenage boys and a wonderful, loving husband. She herself was one of the best people in the world. I can't believe she died at 51. This loss for so many of us is unspeakable.
I do hope she is now renewed, as Rosh Hashanah is about renewal and new beginnings. She and I spoke of intimations of things not seen. I do not know, but I do know she was the only person in my generation I felt related to, and now the world is lonelier. But also she was suffering and now she is released. I prayed the past two days at night to let her go. The little girl inside of me sobbed and said 'no' and I cried a lot. I did not want to let her go, but knew I had to.
My Jewish friend said she felt Darcy would be with me. I know Jani was. There is this deep current, that is impossible to explain. Maybe those people who worship ancestors know a thing or two about a thing or two. There is something.
I don't know anything. But I do know Darcy was love and I loved her unconditionally. I will miss her forever and hold her in my heart forever. To infinity and back.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While was blessed for the opportunity, after four years of being an adjunct, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in NYC and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again. As of 2018, I also started leading writing retreats to my beloved Orkney Islands. If you ever want two weeks that will restore your soul and give you time and space to write, get in touch. I am leading two retreats this year in July and September.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with a new book recently completed.
I now work full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, editor and writing retreat leader. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
In 2017, I launched a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. You can also contact me through that site.
I am now directing again, my newest play, On the edge of/a cure, and have finally updated my publications list, which you can find on the sidebar. Someday, I will have a website, but for now, you can find a lot about me on here. Thanks for stopping by...