Remembering a ‘gentle soul’


To the Editor:

I want to write a memorial to Virginia Iverson to help me cope with her death. The finality of death makes grief permanent, but my memories of her are vibrant.

She faithfully attended my yoga class, where she was often the only one present. I can see her practicing a stretch before class, lying on her back, lifting one leg up and placing it over the other, her hand clasping her knee.

I vividly remember her squatting over a green-eyed Susan at the Tisbury Senior Center, her bare feet sucking up energy from the dark soil, picking at the weeds, pruning away excess, with the water can at her side.

Beautiful at 71, she had a gentle but strong presence. I see her smile with an offering of ears of corn, or collard greens, or lunaria seeds. I see her by her garden, pointing out her herbal children.

I see her spunky spirit disputing proper protest tactics, or the nature of God, or the efficacy of a cataract cure, or the benefits of basil, with a direct, “Oh, I don’t know about that,” or the more benign, “I’ll have to ask my daughter.”

Her favorite flower of all those that surround the senior center is an orange echinacea. The day she died, I am told, she whimsically suggested, “If anything should happen to me, I want some of my ashes placed in the soil for the echinacea.” I hope to see her in that flower.

There is a Hindu and Sikh chant that calls on many aspects of God, Sustainer, Liberator, Enlightener, Infinite, Destroyer, Creator, Nameless, Desireless. O all those aspects and to all that is holy, I testify that this was a gentle soul who watered the flowers.

Stephen Power