Sunday, October 21, 2018

Celebrating Allie... October 20th , 2018

I have struggled for a couple of weeks... trying to prepare myself for this emotionally charged day in October... the most difficult day we as a family face together. had (falsely and prematurely believed) that I had reached a level of comfort and acceptance in regards to our loss of this shining star in our Universe. So I returned to my therapy and have begun to renew my vigour and courage. I now... more than ever accept the fact that this struggle will be a lifelong one.

For several days I tried to begin a new painting to assist this passage. None have appeared to date. I played around with thoughts and ideas in my head and then sat down at this keyboard to collect my thoughts in an orderly fashion in a new post... to perhaps support these thoughts with previous painting themes that Allison and I had enjoyed together.

I decided to course through the many cards and gifts from friends that have gathered here n my studio. Some hit the mark... sort of... but I came to a realization when I found these two tributes that I needn't look any further. I would use Allison's own words to share with you rather than my own.

So these are from her when she was valiantly at war with that wretched disease. I hope that you discover a renewed strength and purpose in your own life... as I have ... driven by her wisdom and fearless passage into whatever comes next.

                                                        Allie and Venice... forever one!

Yesterday was her official birthday... Saturday, October 20th. We would have celebrated her39th birthday together, so we decided to gather in Kingston at the ginkgo tree that several of her grad students had planted to honour her life.

These jpegs record that celebration by her family and friends in the Kingston area.

                                                    Mom and Dad... till her biggest fans.

Dawn, Allie's secretary and friend at Queen's... Mom... Deb and Andale McTavish, wife of Allies'                                                                            Grad supervisor

                                                     Happy 39th Birthday Sweet Heart!

No celebration would be complete ... without Allie's beloved lifetime friend, Winnie the Pooh in attendance

Throughout most of my adult life I falsely believed that parents were given the responsibility to "educate" their children. As a teacher, I continued to foster that belief. It is only through my journey with Allie... even in its darkest moments that I have come to realize how very wrong and misled I had been.

Allison was "an old spirit"... all of us who knew her and came to know her and love her and to understand the depth of her gift as a friend and mentor. She possessed that very rare ability to accomplish  and maintain both. 

The breadth of her knowledge... even at a very young age was something that attracted all ages to her. It was her karma to carry and share that gift of love and knowledge throughout a very short lifetime...  measured in years. But I will share this quote that she embraced from the Sufi mystic, Rumi. I feel it is a good place to stop and to wish all of you ... Happy Fall and rich Blessings from the Sherman Family.

" I learned that every mortal will taste death.But only some will taste life."
                                                                                      - Rumi

Saturday, October 6, 2018

"Count your blessings... Name them one by one..."

I specifically chose the group of words to introduce today's post. I did so because I feel they certainly reflect the true spirit of our celebration of Thanksgiving. Harvest has always been the perfect time to give thanks. Simply because it is at that time in the year when there is plenty. The cruelness of the winter cold is yet distant. Even in earliest times, the harvest bounty cultivated a sense of gratitude in all people for the smallest of blessings in life.

Those same words used in the title form the first line in a Thanksgiving hymn that we sang as a family with the rest of a then small Mormon congregation in a tiny rented place of worship. That congregation has since grown in strength and numbers substantially. Their meeting place has grown into a beautiful place of worship. The blessings that have been bestowed upon them as "believers" have arrived out of their own hard work and commitment. I will add the word Faith to further support the reason for the blessings that they have received.

The next line in that same hymn of Thanksgiving reads as follows:

"Count your blessings... see what God has done."

I suppose it might seem strange to many... that I can still believe in a God...  who many might think has turned his back on the prayers of our cancer-stricken daughter and our our own pleas for His intervention. Not so. We only asked for the courage to endure the painful passage... together ... in continued Faith and Hope....and a belief  in a life beyond this.

On most days Faith supports us in that struggle. But there are days... even weeks when that Faith or belief in anything is tested. I seek solace and direction from therapy. It helps refocus and me and acts as a release from the anger that does build on occasion. For the most part, we feel greatly blessed... blessed to have had such a beautiful spirit in our midst!

I reflect upon the many other blessings in my life to help regain a thankful perspective and outlook in my daily life. Amongst these are my other beautiful children and members of my immediate family. Our circle is indeed a powerful and constant source of pride... love and support. Each one is different and brings to the circle a special spirit and presence. I am grateful for each member. Deb, Joan, Lisa, Andrew, Melissa, Liam and Bryn. Sprinkle into the main company additional new members... our combined grandchildren and a company of loyal lifetime friends.

We are indeed... very blessed.


The Queen's University Quarterly is a respected literary publication which is devoted to "the best things Canadian". It features articles by prominent Canadian writers based upon politics, literature, science and the Arts, as well as poetry and fiction. It combines skillfully written articles with artfully photographed images to visually enhance the contents. I am now truthfully embarrassed to admit that I had never read the publication... even though I am an alumnus and had seen it many times before offered in the good bookstores that we frequent.

Only by chance alone on Friday, I bumped into an artist friend while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner items. Our chat stretched out into a lengthy conversation.. and during that time Michael asked me if I had read the current issue of the Queen's Quarterly. I smugly offered that I had never felt any need or compulsion to read that "high brow" periodical.

He immediately came back with,"Well you should read this one. There is a dedication to Allison in it." He further offered to drop by an extra copy he had on hand so that we could avail ourselves of the opportunity to read it . This morning, he dropped by for a coffee and left us a copy. After reading it...  I now realized that I completely misread and misjudged the value of this periodical. At $6.50 per issue, I will be aboard for all future issues... and not just because of the tribute to Allison.

Never turn a deaf ear to the Universe's offerings. Here was an unexpected blessing from the Universe... delivered via Michael. It suddenly became a much needed lift in my spirits heading into an otherwise bleak and emptyThanksgiving celebration... minus our lovely spirit Allison.

I wish to acknowledge this beautiful tribute to Allison by Anne Koval - curator, art writer, art historian, and poet. She is currently a professor of art history at Mount Allison University. Her credits are too numerous to list here , but can be found on p.432 in her article : Evan Penny: Ask Your Body (his exhibition piece at the 2017 Venice Biennale).

Check out the Queen's Quarterly - well worth he $6.50 and time  taken!

"This review is in the memory of Dr Allison Sherman, a brilliant and much-loved art historian , professor, and coordinator of Queen's University' s Summer School. She is fondly remembered for her sage advice to hug a column whenever the opportunity arises."

Death and its Darkness seems much less the victor... when the warmth and the Light embodied within this remembrance of her life and contributions is taken into account.

"She" and her life DID matter... to so many. We are greatly blessed....

I love you FOREVER Jemima!

I thought that I would conclude this post with a small collection of my favourite Fall images. In looking back over these I realize that each one does indeed capture  a chunk of my own time and the journey that I have made. Please enjoy... and

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!

"Les Couleurs d'Automne" - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

"Simple Blessings "

"Autumn Tumbles In"- Algonquin Park 

"Fall Reflections" Algonquin Park - 8 x 10 inches

"Bounteous Blessings" - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

"Fall's Symphony" - oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches

"Merrily... Merrily... Life is But a Dream" - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

"Autumn's Glow" - oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches

"The Dimming of the Day" -  White's Falls - oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches

" The Real Canadian Idylls- Kananaskis " - oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches