Lydia Livingstone died on the evening of Tuesday, November 13. 2012.
With her was a bunch of her friends and their children, and her mother and her husband. She had suffered on and off for many years with breast cancer.
Some losses are larger than others. How can I or anyone who knew her, gauge the weight of the loss of that particular woman - what it meant, how to account for it, how to account for her? She was a form of perfection, or as close to it as a mortal can get: a miracle of intelligence, beauty, wit.
She didn’t jump out of planes, climb mountains, drive race cars, or dive deep into the sea – but she was fearless. She didn’t dance, sing, act in plays, or play music – but she was a star. She didn’t write books, poetry, or newspaper stories. She didn’t paint pictures, or discover a cure for something – but she was a genius.
She was a genius at life.
She knew her power but she was not an egoist. She was a talisman, something one could hold for a moment only, but the impression lasted forever. .
She had a filthy laugh and her smile killed. She was in possession of a huge brain: perceptive, penetrating, intuitive, funny. Edgy and irreverent, she would engage so totally with you that you became unsure what you were dealing with – her beauty or her mind.
She was a woman for all time and every place; rare in ways not easily understood. Her copious gifts were not in the realm of talent in the ordinary sense, but of the spirit. There was something inexplicable about her. Radiant and different, she was touched by angels.
Years would go by but you always wondered where she was and how she was. When I met her for the first time she was a seventeen year old school girl in a short tunic, a loose tie and a mouth to match. She was a wet dream with knobbly knees and an attitude to go. If her jacaranda eyes lighted on you, forget it.
She liked people and had many friends, but she knew how to wipe them. I was jealous of her relationship with her mother, they were both my best friends but they would plan things and exclude me which hurt. The kind of love and trust they shared was something I longed for but had never experienced with my own mother. I later thought jealousy had created a wedge, that I too may have been ‘wiped’.
She once told me that not everyone wants to know about ‘yin and yang’ implying it was all I talked about. She was referring to an insularity of intellect, which she didn’t have, but to her mind, I did. She used to flirt with my boy friends and you could never compete with her. She was deadly.
I do not wish to imply that there was a rivalry between us, over men or mothers. A warm current ultimately washed us in different directions.
Her mother was the significant ‘other’, the one who guarded and understood her specialness. Lydia’s mother, also a free and beautiful spirit, is the person from whom the laughter and anarchy flowed. The power of that relationship are clues to these women, mother and daughter.
The death of a beautiful human is hard to take. The death of an incandescent woman is the fuel of poetry and dreams.