I lost a dear friend Wednesday morning. And with a crazy life schedule, I haven’t had the chance to process it all until today. Sure the tears came right away, but then they needed to be suppressed to allow for my other ‘responsibilities’ and only random moments in thought were allowed. And those random moments initially brought on regret and guilt. Why is it that when we lose someone we first turn to all of the should have’s, the why not’s and the if only’s? Is it built into our human DNA?
Today, I’m making an effort to shake all that off and have turned to the memories that honor our friendship. Ms. Nancy Purnell was the quintessential New York City Broad. Yes, that’s Broad with a capital B! She was opinionated and never hesitated to speak her mind. The conversation was always intriguing, intelligent and thought provoking, and she was a fierce protector of those she loved. And lucky for me, I was one of those people. I can hear her say “Now Patricia, you have to not get caught up in the bullshit. Get out there and do your creative stuff. Write! Photograph!” And then we’d have a martini! Yes Nancy was my martini buddy. We debated and celebrated together over quite a few.
Nancy was an artist, a teacher, an author and a sculptor. Every moment of every day she celebrated creativity and she generously shared her gift with everyone who wanted to soak it in. At any given time there was always one of her paintings or hand-painted photographs, hanging between New York City and Martha’s Vineyard; her two favorite places in the world.
Nancy’s greatest gift to me would be a memory of my Mom that I treasure and hold dear. She had come to my Mom’s house with me one weekend. Mom lived close to Rockaway beach and so we went one morning. Nancy had intentions of walking around the beach to get some photos for her hand-painted photograph series, and Mom and I were headed into the water for a swim. Well the water was so beautiful that day that we stayed swimming for a couple of hours! Poor Nancy was left on the blanket, continuing to move it further up the beach as the tide was coming in. Later I apologized to her that we had ‘abandoned’ her for so long. Whether or not she was upset about it, she never let on. Well, that day was the last ocean swim I’d ever have with my Mom, as she would pass the following February.
After my Mom died, Nancy knew how much I missed her cooking. She’d invite me up to her place and I’d be treated to one of her homemade meals. Being fed with love....ahhh...
There are so many stories, so many moments, so many laughs and so much support for each other’s exhibitions, book launches and more.
I miss you my dear friend. There is a martini with your name on it coming soon. And I will endeavor to keep my creativity flowing and ‘not get caught up in the bullshit and keep doing my own creative stuff.’ I Love You Nancy Purnell.
For more on Nancy and her body of work, I invite you to visit Nancy Purnell