A Vivid Presence

I just got word that my friend, Thrinley diMarco passed away, on Sunday, April 12, on San Juan Island. She was 83. I’m very sad. When i read this, for one instant i thought i should call her up and say, Hey, Thrinley, did you hear about your dying?! The news was so absurd and you would just want to tell her something of such import. She was just so present, a vivid soul. She was also a supporter of my work, in the sense of moral support, for decades would often send a little email reply to say, Wonderful! or something like that, when she got one of my email newsletters. And once in awhile we had very deep talks.

Thrinley, San Juan Island

We had some things in common–she was a real communicator, and as the caretaker/manager of the temple on the island (Sakya Kachod Choling), was the glue and engine for that Buddhist community for many, many years. I know that it wasn’t just me for whom she was supportive, but can imagine that everyone up there was the recipient of her warmth, confidence-instilling, cheerleading…which came from deep within her, somewhere around her solar plexus–you could just feel that viscerally, like she was implanting this same engine within you.

At the same time, she was an equal friend. She was capable of sharing her own deep feelings and stories from her life that illustrated lessons that she learned along the way, including mistakes that she had made. But with her perspective you could see how wonderful it is to be human, to be capable of also making mistakes, and yet to see it as part of joining the human race, with all our foibles…and with all the beauty.

What a wonderful artist, too. Pottery, collage, etc. The tiny house she built for her retirement, while in her later 70s was gorgeous. Not long ago, just last fall, she had it moved from that steep hillside next to the temple, down near town onto her son’s property. I was so glad, kind of relieved, as i can imagine were all her friends and family… And she had six children! She was of Italian descent, and part of that dynamism seemed to spring from that, too.

The last time i saw her was probably last summer, in the post office in Friday Harbor. She was with her sister who was visiting from out of town. We were SO happy to run into each other, and so we sat for awhile on a bench and talked. She had grown incredibly frail, incredibly fast, which had that jarring effect, of waking up (once again) to the impermanence of life. Even Thrinley…

Oh gosh, this has been a year for me of losing people who feel like personal supporters–in a variety of ways. Last summer five old friends, all extraordinary men, died, who i had been close to, one of them like a brother, all of them respected my work and capabilities. My mother-in-law, Margi gone, too, though it felt different because she had already been on her way for quite some time. I guess this is what it’s like to edge up to our own cliff of life and death. One begins losing people, and then we’re out here on our own, in a way, hopefully capable of standing strong in our own core of confidence, cheering others on…

om mani peme hung