A portrait without pictures
author’s note: My apologies in advance to those of you arriving here expecting a photograph. I know that this is a cheat. A portrait in words is not a photograph. However, a portrait in words is still a portrait and because the day ended without a chance to take a picture, I cannot let this day, of all days, be empty.
There are many others that knew her better, or differently, but we were close in a way that only we could have been. I think she had that effect on many that she encountered.
I knew her only in the later years of life. She had already buried her husband and needed a cane to walk safely. She wasn’t quite as tall as she had once been, but my first impressions (and every impression after) were that of a beautiful woman who cared. She cared for family. She cared for friends. She cared for God. She cared for society and the world. There seemed to be no limit for her capicity to love, no matter the circumstance.
In speaking with her, in English or French all the way to her last moments, you found immediately an intelligence possessed by few and a passion envied by all. There was no topic I ever found with which she was unfamiliar, though a few were reserved for more intimate company. The social contract was important to her and all who met her were at least a little (more often than not, a lot) better in her company.
I loved her from the moment I saw her and that love has grown well past the moment she left us. My joy in knowing she has finally rejoined her long lost lover knows no bounds, but her absence is felt and more deeply than could be imagined. Now, more than ever, the world needs more Jacquelines, not less. I only hope that those of us lucky enough to have known her and to have been loved by her can give some of that love and beauty back to the rest of the world.
Ma chère Jacqueline, tu sais ce qui est dans mon coeur. Nous l’avons partagé souvent. La reste est que les mots et la vie. À bientôt.