A Birthday

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Today would have been my brother’s 52nd birthday. It’s his first birthday without him and I want to send my love to his daughters. My heart breaks for them since they already had to somehow weather their mom’s death five years earlier. With the support and love of extended family and now their partners, they have grown into strong and resilient young women. We want them to know that we’re thinking of them always, but especially today, and we’re sending virtual embraces across the ocean to them.

We were in La Rochelle yesterday and the image above, showing an empty basin of the ancient harbor at low tide in all its winter dreariness seemed like a fitting expression of my feelings today.

Walking through town, we came across the bookstore specializing in comics.

The Bandes Dessinées, the french language comic strip telling the adventures of Tintin was Charles’ favorite growing up, while mine was Asterix. He and I shared a lifelong delight in the tradition of social criticism expressed through comic albums in the West and manga in the East. We were horrified by the murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff and I mailed two copies of their first post-attack edition to him as soon as it came out. But for me, it is Tintin who is most strongly associated with my brother’s memory.

We concluded our lunch in La Rochelle with a lovely Mousse au Chocolat, as this was the first dish he ever prepared.

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As always, Happy Birthday, Charles!

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