Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Love Points the Way...

                                                                   "How Sweet  it... was!"

Allie and Joan hand feeding the Chickadees at The Cataraqui Conservation Sugar bush Festival on April 4th, 2015.

Navigating the First Anniversary of Allison's Passing - April 26th, 2018

Strange... how that thief mourning bears down on and overtakes one with little or no prior warning.
We just passed through the much-dreaded first anniversary on April 26th and seemed to have weathered that dreaded day.

We created a diversion to bypass that sad marker by creating a festive dinner party for twenty of Allison's Family members... closest friends and Queen's University peers. The Olivera Ristorante in Kingston was chosen because (according to Allison)... "It was the only @#$*ing place in Kingston that knew how to make pasta... the Italian way."

And as the event played out... she was right. Everything... including the weather was perfect and the setting on Market Square was beautifully and tastefully decorated to match the wonderful food and friendly, efficient service. The room was filled with laughter and Allie's presence could certainly be felt everywhere around the table. The "Curator of Friendship" worked her magic... so that each of us attending left the restaurant feeling uplifted. The laughter and smiling said it all!

Navigating... exactly describes our intent to mark this important last moment in Allison's beautiful earthly existence. The word bittersweet comes immediately to mind, but to me the word has always extended the opportunity for personal choice. Choosing to accentuate the sweet more closely fits the timbre that Allie herself would demand of us.

As I looked around the long table... watching and listening, my mind (as always) injects art and symbolism. It struck me... how much like da Vinci's famous "Last Supper" painting that this gathering resembled that event. The interaction at our event was hardly choreographed... and at times sounded rather chaotic. But the presence of various conversations... around a central figure made me smile... "The Curator of Friendship"... was certainly centrally present!

Love did  indeed point the way... away from pain towards  Joy!... which meant celebrating Mother's Day in a slightly different way. I did indeed make my annual visit to my Mom and Dad's final resting place in Brockville on Saturday evening to spend time and place flowers of remembrance and gratitude.

On Sunday, Deb and I had agreed to drive to Kingston and to share our own personal Mother's Day with Joan. We treated Joan to an early brunch at a downtown eatery, Peter's Place and then drove to Allison's commemorative ginkgo tree to hang decs and to place a beautiful cluster of bright pink gerbera daisies.

This year, celebrating meant enjoining our separate celebrations to become one and I believe that like our anniversary acknowledgement in April... "being together"... made the sense of loss less heavy when three hearts shared the burden and added uplifting laughter and happy notes of remembrance.

                                          "Preserving Spring..." - oil on panel 12 x 10 inches

When the children were very young we shared magical moments and interludes with Mr. (Fred) Rogers. While many thought his program "too childish" and without the excitement and drama of the popular action figures of the period... Allison and Andrew... and I revelled in the precious moments of safety and wisdom that we recognized as "special"... even then.

Trolley, King Friday, Lady Evelyn and Mr. McFeely taught us things about ourselves and others that have shaped our actions and guided our hearts right into adulthood. Joan has graciously shared two "Fred" books that she had gifted Allison with in recent years. The magic of those early years remains... in every page that I read.

I would like to share one passage from the smallish book "The World According to Mister Rogers - Important Things to Remember" with you in concluding today's post. It seems so relevant.

"I believe it's a fact of life that what we have is less important than what we make out of what we have. The same holds true for families: It's not how many people there are in a family that counts, but rather the feelings among the people who are there."

During the course of family life, each of us comes face-to-face with the loss of family members. Those losses can be devastating to an individual member... and even to the health and well-being of the entire group.

If we can but remember... that each of us accepts and integrates loss in our own unique way... and that if we can keep our hands joined in love and supportive understanding....

Love will indeed... point the way
Safely through the grief and darkness
And back into the Light.

I am deeply blessed...


  1. Hi Bruce,

    You are indeed blessed, both in your family and friends, and in the way you seem to be able to "navigate" your way through life. Your various ceremonies and get-togethers provide the waymarks, and your family are your travelling companions, so that you rarely seem to lose your way for long.

    Keep on travelling along Life's twisting course.

    All the best,

  2. I love her review of the restaurant! I can't think of a better one I have heard, it has given me a good chuckle.

    Whilst there is no time limit to grief, navigating the first year is always the most difficult I think. - hugs.

  3. Good morning Keith!... A series of lovely sunny spring days here! Getting ready to open on Saturday for the season... so needless to say... we're both very busy making last minute preparations. Always lots to put into place at the last moment.

    You surely do "get it" Keith... you always have because we are kindred spirits not only in our artistic journeys... but in our family values and connections as well.

    Sometimes it takes unexpected darkness in one's life... to truly understand and appreciate the Light... and the countless small blessings that each of us have. I have reached such a place.

    I think that the contents of my post this time attest to that truth!

    Wishing you rich blessings... good Health and Fortune...

    And Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  4. Good morning Lisa!... I love your puckish playfulness and inner deep sensitive nature. As with Keith... we "connect" so easily across vast distances and in completely separate physical existences and yet????...

    How does one begin to describe the "connectedness" and power of such friendships??? Some things in the Universe's workings defy human comprehension and control. And for that... I am grateful! It quite simply... "is."

    You and Allie would have so enjoyed being together because I sense your intellects and irreverent view of the "ordinary" would have chained you both together in complete pleasure and Joy!

    Thank you for taking the time to visit and leave such uplifting and meaningful comments Lisa!

    Wishing you Happy Spring... Rich Blessings and Good Health!

    Good Painting and Print Making!
    Warmest regards... and hugs!

  5. Well, I have tried twice to post something here and blogger is just not cooperating so I’ll be short and sweet and hope that this one goes through...
    This is another wonderful, heartfelt post and thanks so much for sharing it, Bruce. You are a shining light in the midst of what could be the darkest days. Keep shining and sharing, my friend :)

  6. Thank you for persisting Rhonda... and for leaving such an uplifting comment.

    If I "shine"... its because I have such blessed group of true friends like you... and a Family that is beyond remarkable!

    Still are dark days for sure... but fewer of them... and further apart!

    Thanks for dropping by Rhonda!

    Love your new explorations with sketchbooks. Can't beat that strategy for rapid growth!

    Warmest regards... and Good Painting!

  7. Oh Bruce...I am so sorry to hear of your daughter's passing. I hate that scourge...I hate it. My heart goes out to you and your family and I am so sorry I haven't been around much in the past two years. I love how you honor Alice im your words, in your heart...

  8. Hello again... Sherry! Nice to hear from you! So many early friends have "lifted anchor" on the blogosphere... looking for alternate routes. Life is all about choices!

    Losing Allison has been a crushing and devastating event for our family... but we have rallied as a family... circled the wagons and have formed a sanctuary in which we can heal together. It is happening. Time is the great salve of healing.

    Hope that you are continuing your own journey of discovery with hope and faith in your wonderful Self!

    Warmest regards and hugs!

  9. I’ve noticed it’s been a while since you posted, Bruce, and I hope all is well - perhaps your are gearing up for summer season and out painting all the scenes. Happy Summer!

  10. Hi Rhonda!... Thanks for your concern and for checking in! I have not posted for a number of reasons... some personal... some still in the wip mode (including one draft post that I have been mulling over and trying to gain the direction that I want to go with it).

    Hopefully... I will post by the weekend to rid myself of that task. The gallery is now open for the season... but business and traffic has been slow off the mark for all of us here in Rockapulco. Just is... what it is. A waiting game... and as an artist I am sure I need not explain further.

    I do have a very different project on the go... and am searching for just the right design element to bring it to a close.

    We are basically well... as well as we can be! Thanks for your concern my Friend!

    Back to you soon!
    Warmest regards,