Saturday, June 18, 2016

Legends... and Reflections of "Grief for the Loss of Beautiful Strangers"

Permanence in the world... and our own sense of mortality across many generations has been shaken to their very roots during the past few weeks. Disappeared from earthly existence almost in a chain are legendary icons David Bowie... Prince... Mohammed Ali... and Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe. Gone are they and their glory days. Gone too... is our level of comfort and a part of our own sense of place in our own parallel journeys.

I have been saving a newspaper article by Toronto Star journalist Sofi Papamarko published on April 26th, 2016... just a day after the untimely passing of Prince. I had never really been a true Prince follower... but I was inexplicably deeply saddened... and particularly moved when at last I exposed myself to his music... and came to understand more about the gifted young man. His passing heightened my awareness to how much we all live a "taken-for-granted" existence... governed totally by opportunity and whim.

The core of Papamarko's article is woven around the thoughts of grief and loss expert and book writer, Robert Neimeyer in his one book in particular, "Techniques of Grief Therapy". I have not read the book (as yet)... but these quotes used in the article piqued my interest to do so when I am able.

"Celebrities in particular may exemplify our values, ideals and aspirations, and so their death may represent the death of a part of us."

This quote closely supports the very feelings that I have described above... and most assuredly the feelings that I have undergone myself in losing these life markers. From time to time... we do lose su7ch a marker, but when there is a sudden avalanche of such loss... I find myself buried (for a time)... paralyzed and unable to feel... to create or to repond positively. Am I alone in this thinking?

I wonder...

I will take the time to read Neimeyer in my own plodding fashion... but currently "The Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gardiner is in my headlights... and is serving me well in my searching. Here is another brief quote that perhaps suggests a good reason for me to move forward with my plan to read Neimeyer:

"Rather than questioning the legitimacy of this experience in the case of the death of a celebrity with whom we have identified, it might be more appropriate to marvel at the human capacity to invest ourselves in the lives of others, well beyond our immediate circle of family and  friends."

It would serve one well to remember that every legend, no matter what field of endeavour they have excelled in... were first children... then beginners - it was a journey. Their level of excellence was arrived at more through hard work and determination than through their innate "gift".

I share Neimeyer's belief that service to others offers the great opportunity to not only contribute to betterment in the lives of others... but as well, doing so tends to elevate one's own feeling of purpose and worth... "What goes around... comes a round."

Papamarko mindfully concludes her article with this wonderfully insightful argument:

"The deaths of our idols aren't that far removed from the inevitable deaths of those we love the most. Celebrity deaths often force us to reflect upon the finitude of earthly existence. If larger -than-life demi-gods in leather and lace can so quickly shuffle of this mortal coil, what Hope is there for the rest of us schlubs?"

I have myself passed through the first portals of earthly loss with the passing of both of my parents. The sting of that loss remains with me... especially on days like this Sunday... Father's Day when I make my trek graveside in Brockville to deliver flowers and to "speak" with my Dad and Mom. I offer my words of gratefulness to them without any logical hope that they hear my words. But I do so, in simple Faith. I have come to know that without Faith that Hope cannot exist. I choose not to live in a world here... without the presence of either. The existence of a world beyond "Here" can only exist in my system of spiritual belief if - I earn the right to enter through my conscious acts here.

I will close today's post with this personal thought that for me links Legends... Reflection... and Father's Day.

My Dad was a simple man... "ordinary"... to many who didn't come to know and love "Him" as I did. He lived a life of moderation in everything - except in the sharing of his love and passion for music. His piano and musical skill could have taken him far further than he chose to travel with it. But he chose to be with his family and to share his music with a loving and grateful community which recognized him for "Who" he was.

But ... in my eyes, Dad was a legend... someone to admire... respect and to emulate... even beyond Death itself. Death can know no pride in taking him from me... for he remains fully within me for as long as I am here. Reflecting... if I look in the mirror or someone remarks that... "You are so much like your Dad."... my heart swells with pride because through me... he still lives and is not forgotten - a living legend... a legend living outside his time.

He would share my pride today to welcome a new Sherman into our midst. So for him... I welcome Andrew and Melissa's and Mac's new wee daughter/sister Whitney Linda Joan into our special family circle. Long Health... Happiness and rich Blessings to your family! Congratulations Andrew... and Happy Father's Day. I know that my Dad shares my pride in observing your own early fatherhood!!!

              Whitney Linda Joan - born June 8th, 2016  - 7 lb 6 oz.... Mac's new Little Sis

 Dad led a very blessed life... a path that I have diligently striven to follow. And as I myself pass into the autumn years of my journey... I move forward as he taught me to and with these two credos to live by:

"Keep Smiling".... and "Just do your best!"

"Thank You... for the Music"... Dad and Mom!!!
Love you both.,.. Forever!

Happy Father's Day Dad

"We all could die any day."
 -The Purple One

Adds Papmarko..... "In the meantime, let's dance."


  1. Perhaps the passing of those famous people in our midst just reminds us, once again, that money and power and fame do not mean you, too, will pass away. You may be remembered by more people, but you, too will be gone. I do believe Bob Dylan is still living, though or I'm sure the news channels would have picked that up? Congratulations on the new little one!!

  2. Thanks Rhonda for your visit and comments.The new little one is a keeper!

    Good Painting!
    Warm regards,

  3. The circles of life..... a new baby and new beginnings. Many congratulations.

  4. Good morning Lisa!... No need to extrapolate upon your fine comment... it really in all truth expresses my own beliefs about life.

    We run on parallel journeys... you and I... as people... and as creative individuals with the same passions.

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. such a beautiful post and so timely. Your little baby is awesome.
    Love the painting on your masthead.
    Blessings to you, Bruce.

  6. Good morning Mary!... So nice of you to take the time to visit and comment... your words were "timely" for me as well Mary! That is the very beauty and essence of sincere blogging. It is done to share and to support each other. It is for me anyway!

    We have had great response to Cross Over Light (on the mast head). It was a "must do" subject for me and really as well is the direction I wish to pursue in my own art now.

    Loved your latest things too. I will be over to see "what's up with Mary!"

    Happy Summer and...
    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Really nice post Bruce, wise words that uplift the soul giving us lots to reflect upon. Your painting is very poetic and fitting for the memory of your father. Thank you!

  8. Good morning Lass!... Thank you for your continuing... and ever kind words of support!

    I am so grateful that my piano and daisy "poem" can be read and help to inspire others like your Self who share my path... and my passion for making paintings. Yours do the same for me and countless others who regularly visit your site!

    Good Painting!... and Happy Summer!
    Warmest regards,