Shortly before Christmas, we learned that our friend Cara de Silva had died. Although we saw her infrequently, connecting through emails and long occasional talks by Zoom, we found her loss mighty. The city where we live and in which she had been a presence for much of our adult life, felt changed by her absence. She was a remarkable person whose accomplishments you can read about in her New York Times Obituary here. Among many other things, she edited “In Memory’s Kitchen“, a collection of recipes compiled by prisoners in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The memories of food they loved became a profoundly resourceful means of what Cara called “psychological resistance.”
We knew Cara as a person who lived from her heart and our conversations over the years had much to do with how to navigate the world as an acutely sensitive person; and with trees, which were to us both balm and anchor. She was also a champion of Improvised Life, reposting frequently on her Facebook page for her thousands of friends to read.
We cast about for solace for ourself and for Cara’s close friends whom we knew were grief-struck, missing their daily conversations with her (she seemed to have time for everyone). Into our hands jumped Maira Kalman’s wonderful book “My Favorite Things“, opening to this by Lydia Davis:
We are curiously comforted by Davis’ spare, straight-on statement of how we are all made and what it is to be alive and how tender a place that is.