I came across an article yesterday in The Times Magazine that touched me and reminded me of that painful time during which I needed to rearrange. Joan Parker, widow of the acclaimed mystery novelist Robert Parker, still resides in the home they shared-- albeit unconventionally-- in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The couple maintained separate living quarters within their Victorian 14-room house but were married for 53 years. Although they attempted a divorce back in the '80s, it was a dismal failure as they could not bear to be apart from one another. So they bought a house that could accomodate their separate routines but still give them spaces to share when they so desired. Following his death last January, Joan felt pain at every turn in her husband's first floor abode. Mr. Parker's leather arm chair at his kitchen table was particularly painful for her to see...she often found him sitting in it, clearly not feeling well, but drinking her in visually as she fed the dogs or tended to other things in "his" kitchen.
Her dear friend and architect, Adam Schoenhardt, visiting one day, whisked the "Sad Chair" as Joan called it out of sight and repositioned it an out-of-the-way sitting area. In that one change-- simply moving a piece of furniture-- Joan found some relief and an escape from the reminder of Robert sitting sadly at his kitchen table in ill health. Over the next few days, Schoenhardt rearranged several rooms in Robert's apartment and in this redesign was able to uplift his friend.