The Presence of Alice
My wife, Alice Kennedy Wagstaff (1919–2009), as a client-centered psychotherapist, maintained a deep presence listening to the life experience of others. Her focus on being present for others contributed to her ability to help them discover themselves. She taught me that we meet more than one person when we are introduced to another person. We meet some of the other people who have been involved in that person’s life. Through her presence and concern for others, I learned that something of her lives on in her friends, in those with whom she worked and those she counseled. When she died, I felt like half of myself died with her. Soon I learned that half of her lives on in me and in my work. In planning this exhibition, I felt her presence and advice at every turn. I see her critical eye and understanding blended in my drawing hand, my code, and my writing.
Verostko and Alice at the 2008 dedication of WIM: The Upside-down Mural at the Fred Rogers Center, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
On September 12, 2009, three months before she died, suffering with a global cognitive impairment, she struggled to write the haiku she wrote every year for my birthday. In seventeen syllables, likening us to “two fish,” written in Italian, she revealed that she still had a vibrant inner life. In ten words, she teaches us why we must listen to each other. As we ponder the artwork in this exhibition let us listen also to Alice.
She is here.
seeing the same world
from different angles,