Photos by Nelson

Vintage light peach silk satin dressing gown-estate sale, with belt of previous gown as head wrap.

The Broadmoor gown series is complete as The Style Crone poses for Nelson.  I feel as though I can take flight with this buoyant luxurious fabric which has its own memories in its folds.   I would like to envelop/wrap/encircle Nelson in wings of satin and fly away to a glorious place free of dis-ease. Maybe that’s what these two days of reprieve have been!

The ‘Emperor of All Maladies’ has been our constant companion for over six years.  At times he has hovered in the background, has been a late night stalker, or an omnipresent giant.  His influence has varied over time.  We have fought him with intensity, hoped for his disappearance, viewed him from afar, lived with him daily in close up,  and now watch as he takes commanding control without question.  Is he a part of Nelson or a separate entity?  What would happen if I begin to embrace him as a part of Nelson?  To even love him and accept him?  In my struggle to conceptualize reality, I wonder if he would release his grasp on Nelson because of that acceptance.  My thoughts are as futile as the most recent treatments have been.  But paradoxical, delusional or magical thinking can do wonders for a few moments!  I find myself considering varying internal strategies and bargaining for relief.  Perhaps embracing ‘The Emperor’ would release me from fears of the future and provide another dynamic for today.  Just as comforting as draping oneself in wings of soft and soothing silk satin.


  1. Unfortunately, life is both sour and sweet. Graceful, loving acceptance of what is can only be good for your mental health and sanity, and maybe Nelson’s as well. I do believe your stay at Broadmoor has been an “escape hatch”, a “flight of fantasy” as you say. Nothing wrong with that, my girl. Nothing at all! Beautiful memories are made of such stuff.

    Much love from England

  2. Memo to self: Sometimes a visit to the Style Crone will put you in tears. Come with a hanky.

    Dear Judith- My heart pops with a hurt when I read your words- taking a style blog into deeper territory in sharing your life with Nelsen and “the Emperor.” Perhaps it triggers memories of my own in losing loved ones to cancer. I suffer from a chronic disease (not life threatening however!) and wrestle with the identity of it- is it me? an aspect of me? Lately that I resolve it may be part of the fabric on my life but I refuse its identity. It is not me. I am not my sickness. I am perhaps the medium that cultivates it, that hosts is, but my true self stems from unstained, unspoiled stuff- the stuff of spirit, which can not be contaminated by sickness. Perhaps Spirit is what holds our hand as we play out our duet with mortality.

    You are an amazing light dear lady, wrapped in your silky peach robe- and I am guessing that your dear Nelsen sees you as a dear gift, as you see him. Thank you for sharing yourself with me, with your readers and reminding me that style moves beyond mere attire, but is the song of the spirit expressing the soul. xo. Bella Q

  3. Ah, to the heart of the matter. You are sharing the deepest of your hearts. This is a book, a movie, a life work. And how divine to look divine while doing it. Give Nelson a huge hug, embrace the wicked old Emperor and shine the light on him. Put this into the context of opera, art, and theater. It is life and death. You are in the midst of it. Keep sharing, so that your light can lead us through the darkness too.

    Nelson has said that he loved you since the beginning of time. That he will love you until eternity. That is the essence of the love story.

    Is Nelson smiling at the drama Dame Judith has concocted? Wow! Both of you ROCK!

  4. I think embracing “The Emporer” would definitely “release you from fears of the future and provide another dynamic for today”.

    You might be interested in the work of the amazing Byron Katie who teaches how to love what is.

  5. Judith, your posts are always so moving and thought-provoking, and prompt me to pause for a moment and send positive thoughts to you and Nelson. Perhaps embracing the “Emperor” may bring you some peace. Surely he would accept an embrace from you in that awesome peach “winged” gown! Thank you for sharing your heart-breaking journey with all of us. The strength and love that you and Nelson possess is so inspiring.

  6. Oh…I would be thinking this very thought: What would happen if I begin to embrace him as a part of Nelson? To even love him and accept him?

  7. Such a beautiful dressing gown, truly so gorgeous and the romantic thought about enveloping Nelson inside of it gives me chills. Breathtakingly wonderful.

  8. Judith…your writing is so spectacularly beautiful. It’s amazing to me that you find and create all this beauty in the depths of this tremendous pending loss. Your grace shines through not only your gorgeous outfits, but the expression of your precious thoughts. May your passion for love and beauty carry you through these difficult days…and may you know that you are honored, loved and respected by those who know you!!

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