I feel it absolutely necessary to break here in my posts devoted to the art of portraiture. Perhaps... it is not a total departure because the post represents a portrait of sorts of my daughter Allison's life. Friday, October 20th, 2017 marked what would have been her thirty-eighth birthday.
Our family and a few special friends close to Allie visited the site of a young ginkgo tree planted in her memory on the shore of Lake Ontario directly across the road from the Kingston General Hospital. Ironically, it can be seen from the very window where Allison received all of her chemotherapy. I could almost see her irreverent and defiant "finger" gesture to Mr. C (as she defied his presence in her body and life). It seemed an entirely appropriate site to honor her life and passing.
Each of us tied a purple bow (her favourite color) to the tree. Joan, her Mom added a special poem plasticised for protection against the weather at the base of the tree. I added a number of naturally occuring stone hearts that I collected... to maintain a ritual I always practised when I came to visit her. Deb tied on two small silver hearts further up the tree.
It was a simple ... yet moving gathering. It was a bitter-sweet mixture of tears and laughter- the very stuff of Allison's unique character. Her presence often oscillated continuously between ribald humour... to serious conversation and then back without warning to unbridled laughter and joy. Her spiritual presence in the group was manifested by a seemingly curious and determined monarch butterfly who seeemed intent upon being a part of our gathering.
It circled the tree several times... disppeared momentarily and then rejoined us out of no where. Strangely... that butterfly appeared twice more as we walked the block to get into our van. Then... without hestitation... it disappeared. On several more occasions while I conduct my nightly walk about along the Parkway... I have been joined by monarch butterflies. But that's just me being a romantic... EH???
I (choose to) wonder...
We met as a group afterward at Allie's favourite brunch joint... the fabulously delish "Toast and Jam". There... the mood swung into similar tenor that would have been present with Allie holding court. It was a fine and fitting end to our celebration of her special day. I felt my Self in her presence... and sensed her joyful spirit... that we remembered her... together!
The plaque says everything...
Ginkgo... bedecked in purple... Allie's fav color
I find hearts wherever I go... and bring them to live in Allie's Garden of Love... here at the River
Grief is such a faceless thief. It sneaks up on you... even out of a crowd and tries to defeat you. Finding strength and warm memories from the simple joys of life that abound in each of our "ordinary" lives can set you free. Free to remember what death cannot rob you of... ever. Memories of loving ... and living moments with your loved one.
Rich blessings to ALL!!
Allison in Rome... 2016. A full life... Breadth over brevity!