Emily Miller d'Aulaire

Profile Updated: March 24, 2021
Emily Miller
Residing In: Redding, CT USA
Spouse/Partner: Per Ola d'Aulaire
Occupation: writer
Children: Nils d'Aulaire, born 1974
Yes! Attending Reunion
Secondary address:

Moved from Redding. Current address is 74 Mather Street; Wilton, CT 06897.

Comments:

Nils is terrific. :-)

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Mar
19
Mar 19, 2021 at 5:56 PM

 

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write these words about Candy. I have begun many times for over a year now only to give up in despair. It’s in part because I want my tribute to be perfect--and we all know how elusive perfection is. Another part of the problem is that Candy and I had a decades-long friendship that stretched from South Hadley around the world. When I begin to write, so many memories tumble forth that it’s hard to know where to begin or which to choose.

An early memory, one that can’t be ignored, is of the summer Candy and I spent together on Cape Cod after our Junior year. Along with six other swimmers from MHC--billed as the Hyannis Mermaids--we performed underwater nightly at the Hyannis Inn where a large glass window at the deep end of the outdoor pool allowed those sipping drinks in a cocktail lounge below to watch us do our mermaid thing. It was a wonderful summer—and an eyebrow-raising addtion to our resumes.

After graduation, and marriage, Candy and her husband Jon, a public health physician, lived all over the world--Haiti, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa—but we remained in close touch. My husband Ola and I spent time with them in Bangladesh and Indonesia; they visited us when we were living in Oslo. We always got together when they were back in the States.

At the time of our 50th reunion, Candy was finishing work on Catalyst, the book she wrote about the 1970 cyclone that tore into low lying islands in the Bay of Bengal killing half a million people while she was still living in Bangladesh. She was looking for a place to work in solitude on her book before returning home to South Africa and I volunteered the top floor of our Connecticut farmhouse. It was the ultimate win-win.  Each morning after breakfast Candy disappeared to the third floor to work in undisturbed solitude. Each evening she prepared a spectacular Indian dinner for the three of us. Ola has never been happier. And Candy’s book was ready for the printer when it was time for her to return to Capetown.

In the spring of 2018 Candy informed me that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer-- “a reminder of the slippery edges of life,” she wrote.  During the long months of treatment that followed she never lost her courage, or her sense of humor. Chemotherapy became alchemy.  Radiation was the radiant light, and anyone who made the mistake of referring to them by their original names was gently but firmly corrected.  She and Jon finally returned to Capetown in February 2019; it seemed that Candy had won her battle. 

But cancer is a formidable foe and it wasn’t through with Candy. Months after their return, a follow up scan revealed a spot on her liver. When the new cancer continued to grow rapidly despite more rounds of “alchemy,”  Candy decided to let the disease run its course. She named the cancer Grendel.

In November 2020 Candy and Jon travelled to Spanish Wells, a small island in the Bahamas where her parents had built a home when Candy was a child. It had become their second home, a constant in their peripatic life. Candy thrived for awhile in the memory-filled house by the sea.  Her daughter Sarah was there to help.  Daughter Jane visited with Candy’s two beloved grandchildren. They were wonderful days. 

But Grendel had not gone away. Candy weaked; she lost weight.  In early January she sent me an email.   “Please come to Spanish Wells,” she wrote. “I need to hug you.”  You don’t say no to an invitation like that. Candy sometimes rested in bed during the day while we were there. She liked me to settle down next to her and  would hold my hand and talk—and talk and talk and talk.  Sometimes I had no idea who or even what she was talking about but she clearly needed to talk and I was happy to listen.  Most of the time, however,  she was up and about, dressed in bright  Caribbean colors and much her usual sassy self.  It was a happy visit.

Both Candy and Jon came with us to the dock when we left.  My heart ached as the small boat pulled away from the island and I saw Candy waving her arms over her head, growing smaller and smaller.  I knew I would never see her again.

We realized when we left that Candy was fading, but we didn’t dream it would happen so fast.  Only one week later Jon emailed that Candy  had died, or as he put it, “turned sideways into the light.”

How lucky I was to have her as a friend.

 

 

Candy was a gifted poet.  Several of her books are available on Amazon, including one illustrated with paintings by Hester Lindabury Ohbi.  Here is one of the the poems she wrote not long before her death.

 

Tenacity

Soaring stately elms canopied the familiar road

to my childhood home until a resistant, virulent

 

fungus wiped their majesty from the American skies,

sparing none of these awe-inspiring giants of my youth.

 

In another land where the earth feels strange under my feet,

I thread my way through dense stands in groves

 

where hollow flexible tubes rise unbreakable around me.

Their steel-strong stalks sway to whisper sustaining secrets,

 

and aching notes of the bansuri* take my heart hostage

singing to me of simplicity, well-being.

 

In the harshest winds, flexile shafts spring back, grounded

by firm roots, tenaciously birthing green shoots from their core.

 

Now that the hungry fungus has decided it's my turn,

I channel the enduring regeneration of bamboo,

 

and imagine Giant Pandas savoring me like a lollipop while

my flute renders irresistible runes into their softly quivering ears.

 

*bamboo flute

 

 

 

 

 

                       

 

 

Mar
18
Mar 18, 2021 at 4:33 AM
Mar 18, 2020 at 4:35 AM
Emily Miller d'Aulaire posted a message. New comment added.
Mar 12, 2019 at 6:02 PM

Posted on: Jun 02, 2018 at 12:38 PM

Hi Edie,
Loved our time together at reunion. I want to send you a copy of Norse Gods but don't have a mailing address for you. Can you send it to me (emilyd@optonline.net)? Thanks. xo

Emily Miller d'Aulaire added a comment on Profile.
Jul 19, 2015 at 12:25 PM
Emily Miller d'Aulaire added a comment on Profile.
Jun 04, 2015 at 8:53 AM
Mar 18, 2015 at 4:33 AM
Jul 02, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Are you in Ridgefield? Give me a call: (203) 938-3612. xo

Emily Miller d'Aulaire added a comment on Profile. New comment added.
Jun 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Posted on: Apr 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Emily Miller d'Aulaire added a comment on Profile.
Mar 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM
Emily Miller d'Aulaire posted a message. New comment added.
Jan 12, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Posted on: Jan 12, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Happy Birthday, Alice!

Jan 08, 2014 at 12:13 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!