Remembering the Beautiful, the Ever-Bright Tessa Edwards

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The blogging world has lost one of its most exquisite voices this week, and I am brokenhearted.  Tessa Edwards was a woman who taught us how to love the world and what it means when the world loves you back.  She took us, by way of her artful, inimitable blog, to Africa, to the sighting of whales, to the pleasures of a fresh fruit dish, to the children whose health, through the Swazi Project, she so steadfastly supported.  She painted art, she cooked it, she wrote it, and when she sent this print of hers to me, by way of London, it was packaged in gold and sealed with gold bees—so gorgeously delivered, so lovingly done up that I did not dare open it for days.

Tessa fiercely loved her husband and her children, and was never afraid to say so.  When she grew ill, she did not complain.  She would somehow find a shred of goodness in it—would celebrate the hours she now spent reading, or the travels her daughter took when she could no longer travel herself.  We became friends through her blog, but I loved our private conversations, too, the emails she would send explaining a bit more about her life or about her home.  Modesty, always, prevailed, as when she wrote, about her beautiful home:
We've been lucky with South Down - it's such a well proportioned house so it's easy to make it look quite pretty.  Anyone with a love of colour could do it without blinking...honestly.

A desire to share the world she was privileged to see was all-pervasive, too:
Dearest Beth - Hello!  Thank you for your sweet note.  I'm very fine thank you, all sun-soaked and brown after our most wonderful trip to Turkey.  What a magical place it is - so seeped in history and so astonishingly unspoilt and so utterly beautiful.  We'd been to Istanbul before - a truly marvellous city - but had never visited the eastern coast.  Far from the madding crowds, it is a place where time has stood still and pastoral life continues as it has done for centuries.  I will be writing more about the region and posting photos on my blog in order to share its charm.
She made us feel, finally, as if we were there with her, as if we had indeed traversed oceans and miles and found ourselves in the same living room, sitting with a cup of tea.  She wasn't virtual to me, ever.  She was real and alive, and she will always be.  I am posting this, from an email, so that it will always live, and so that you will see how she made all of us more alive, with her:
Dearest Beth -

Oh, I'm almost dumb-struck!  

I had just finished catching up on your always fascinating, always thought-provoking, always profoundly luminous blog posts - and reading all the interviews you've had recently when I heard a knock on the door.  I got up from my desk, my mind awhirl with images and words from you, and opened the front door to Mr. Postieman.  He smiled and chatted about the weather as he handed me my mail which I took from him in dreamy manner, nodding vaguely at his forecast of rain to come.  

Scuttling off to the kitchen with the pile of magazines and envelopes and leaflets that he'd given me, I absently flicked through the stack and put it on the table for later perusal.   Then I filled the kettle and while waiting for it to boil, I noticed that a white package had slipped out from between two magazines.  I picked it up and looked at the postmark.   USA.    Hmmmm, I wonder......

I opened the seal and drew out a book which I recognised instantly -  Ghosts In The Garden! There, on the flyleaf, a message from the author herself to make it even more special, if that were possible.   Beth!  How will I ever be able to thank you sufficiently for this beautiful, precious gift?  Having literally just left your blog, it felt as though you were right there in the room with me - handing the book to me yourself.  I'll remember that moment always.

Sweet travels, Tessa.  We love you.


Anna Lefler said...

Oh, I can't believe this. I'm heartbroken, too.

Tessa was truly a jewel and her loss leaves a graceful, precious hole in the galaxy.


Woman in a Window said...

A woman of great, great grace. Grace.


Reya Mellicker said...

This is a gorgeous tribute. Made me cry all over again. Thank you so much. What is remembered, lives.

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh, she sounds like a true gem ... a heartbreaking loss. Thank you for sharing a part of her with us.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

A lovely tribute Beth. So many sweet, wonderful words have been posted about Tessa. She was loved world-wide; how many of us can say that? It is great to have known her.

Linda Sue said...

Thank you for this tribute to Tessa- she did shine! and so do you! Very sweet, this post- such an incredible loss, our Tessa.

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