Thursday, January 25, 2007

Life and Death

Usually when I come across something in my life that repeats a few times, then it's obviously something I should pay attention to. Perhaps it's the universe trying to tell me something. Perhaps it's a god trying to shake up my complacency in life or allowing me a springboard from which things happen.

Last weekend I attended two, not just one but two funerals. I haven't been to a funeral in over four years, but along came a weekend where I went to two. Both were artists, one a woman in her 60's the other a young man in his mid-20's. They lead very different lives, both very full lives.

Anne had a degree in Chemistry and Physics (she taught at the university level), was an accomplished musician (accompanied the church choir), self-taught artist (she only began painting in her 40's), and mother of 4. She was one of those supermoms, who grew her own vegetables and fruit, harvested and canned them, backed, etc. She developed a rare degenerative neorological disease that took away her ability to communicate. For such a gifted woman it must have been so frustrating. Over the course of 5 years, I saw the disease slowly robbed her of the ability to speak, paint and read. The very conservative catholic service was accompanied by guitar and flute.

Zeyn was a singing and acting schoolmate of my younger daughter. Here was a young man who could light up a stage: a gifted singer, songwriter, actor, dancer and musician, and the pride of his single mother. After high school, he was accepted into a performing arts school in New York. He went on to perform in a Canadian touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He played the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that ran in Vancouver and Calgary. Recently, he had been battling various demons within and tragically was killed in the early morning hours near his family home. It is uncertain how he spent the last few hours of his life, but suffice it say, his mother is devastated. His memorial service was attended by close to a thousand people, many of whom lovingly performed at his celebration of life, a testement to the many lives he affected.

So what has this to do with me?
What have I contributed to the world?
Who would remember me and for what?
Would even a hundred people attend my funeral.
The thought of burying one of my children makes my heart palpitate.

Today, I'll give out some hugs and kisses, maybe call up a few old friends for tea, and get started on finishing those projects waiting in my studio.

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