When a Young Person Dies for No Reason

Persephone (oil on unstretched canvas) by jparadisi

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
-Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, you are wrong, poetic, but wrong all the same. I’ve bitched a lot recently about the cold rains killing the spring here in Oregon. It sucks, but in no way compares to the death of a young person. I left pediatric intensive care for oncology nursing almost ten years ago, after treatment for cancer. The outpatient oncology unit’s hours accommodate my art and writing careers while my experience as a patient adds an extra dimension to my practice that I share with others. I also believed that nursing adults, even ones with cancer, would be less harrowing than watching parents and children suffer heartbreak in the pediatric intensive care unit. It is not. It feels the same.

I want to tell you why I am writing this, but not now. Until I process the story and gain some distance and perspective, this is the best I can do. I would like to write a post about something else, but at the moment, I can’t think about anything else. I suspect every nurse has come home from a shift feeling this way.

Today, the sun is shining in Portland, Oregon. And a young person is dying for no reason.

I Wish I’d Said It

Cherry Trees photo by jparadisi 2011

I would do for you what spring does for the cherry trees.

~ Pablo Neruda

I Wish I’d Said It


Persephone (2009) oil on unstretched canvas by JParadisi

One of the pleasant things those of us who write or paint do is to have the daily miracle.  It does come.

                                                                          Gertrude Stein




Spring Time in Portland

photo: J.Paradisi 2009

photo: J.Paradisi 2009

     The weather is awesome, especially after a particularly cold winter and there are definitive signs that it’s spring in Oregon.

      I’m going to see if I can get a last minute appointment at Bouffant Salon ( http://www.bouffanthairsalon.com/) today for a pedicure, so I can wear my sandals with confidence. Amanda is doing my hair today there, too. Nice and fresh for spring.

     The cherry trees are in full bloom at Water Front Park. This is a rare year the rain and wind hasn’t immediately obliterated them and the effect is spectacular. It’s fun to see all of the pale legs walking around in shorts, enjoying the sun.

     Then there is the sign of spring that is truly an Oregonian thing: The gardening aisle at Fred Meyers is lined with gallon-sized jugs of Mold & Algae killer, Round-Up Weed Killer, and Slug & Snail Bait. So, as you go forth in sunlight, don’t forget your arsenol of protection from nature.